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Boxers vs. Briefs? In Harvard Study, Boxers Win, With Caveats

Image: Boxers vs. Briefs? In Harvard Study, Boxers Win, With Caveats
(Jan Woitas/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 09 August 2018 06:02 PM

A new Harvard University study tests sperm concentration in men to try to settle the question of whether boxer shorts are better than briefs for those seeking to become fathers.

Men who wear boxers have higher sperm concentration, according to the study, published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction, CNN reports.

Sperm concentration, the number of sperm per milliliter of a man's semen, is a standard metric of fertility.

But those wearing briefs had higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone versus those in boxers.

The hormone stimulates sperm production in a man's testicles — and those higher levels might be the body's way of compensating for lower sperm concentration, researchers said.

"Whether underwear choice affects sperm production has been a topic of research for several years," said Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, a researcher at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

She and her colleagues used semen analysis plus measures of testicular function in producing the semen to understand any effects of underwear choices.

"Although the analysis of the semen sample is the first step to diagnose male infertility, it is not definitive," Mínguez-Alarcón told CNN.

The study, conducted between 2000 and last year, involved 656 men and their partners who were being treated for infertility at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Aged 18 to 56 years old, each man provided semen and blood samples and answered a questionnaire about their underwear.

Among the men, 345 said they usually wore boxers. They generally were younger, slimmer and more likely to take hot baths or use a Jacuzzi than those wearing briefs, CNN reports.

"It may not be possible to generalize our findings to men from the general population," Mínguez-Alarcón cautioned, however.

She noted researchers lacked information about men's other lifestyle factors that could affect sperm production, including the type of pants worn and the fabric of the underwear itself.

Extreme heat in the scrotum area is known to cause a decline in semen production.

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CNN reports men who wear boxers have higher sperm concentration, according to a new Harvard University study published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction.
fertility, semen, boxers, briefs, harvard, study
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2018-02-09
Thursday, 09 August 2018 06:02 PM
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