Boxers or briefs?
A new study sizes up sterility issues and stirs hot debate on male fertility.
The press are abuzz of the latest find that for men with infertility issues, lifestyle changes such as cutting smoking and alcohol don’t make much of a difference but avoiding tight-fitting underwear does, AFP news wire notes.
This, after the National Health Service bared a report that it hopes will clear confusions claiming the study’s findings were “overblown” for hype, AFP says.
“Before dads-to-be ponder the boxers-vs-briefs debate over a beer, a cigarette and a burger, it should be noted that the research behind today’s attention-grabbing headlines does not suggest that unhealthy living is not detrimental to sperm quality,” reports NHS.
“Researchers found no association between sperm motility and smoking, alcohol, recreational drug use or being overweight, although wearing tight underwear was associated with reduced sperm motility,” NHS suggests.
Looking closely at a very select group of men with fertility problems, the findings indicate “very little about general population or effects of these vices.”Also, the study has not explored the reasons men were experiencing fertility problems,” it adds.
The researchers recruited 2,249 men from 14 fertility clinics around the UK. The recruits had been trying for a baby with their partner for at least 12 months. They filled in detailed questionnaires about their background and lifestyle and provided semen samples which were examined for healthy sperm or sperm that swim at normal speeds.
“Around 40 in 100 men had a low number of healthy sperm — but these men were no more likely to smoke, drink, use drugs, or be overweight than men with normal sperm count. However, they were more likely to work in manual labor and less likely to wear boxer shorts,” cites the study that appears in journal Human Reproduction.
The study was carried out by researchers from universities of Manchester, Sheffield and Alberta in Canada.
“Previous studies have suggested that wearing tighter underwear could slow sperm production by raising the temperature of testicles,” AFP states.
WebMD cites that other research points to chemicals used in manufacturing, building and other types of manual work as possibly playing a role in reducing men’s sperm count.