The verdict is in: wearing tight underwear is a no-no for men’s fertility
Have a guess at which factor would impact a man’s fertility more severely – wearing tight underwear, smoking, or consuming alcohol? If you guessed the first option, you’re right! Wearing tight underwear has been found to be the “single biggest risk” factor for fertility, according to a study by Professor Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield.
Gynaecologist Gillian Lockwood from the Midland Fertility Clinic is also on the same page. “If you imagine during the evolutionary time, our chaps would have been strolling across the Savannah with a bit of bearskin tied around their middles, otherwise going commando,” Dr Lockwood says. According to her, the modern practice of wearing close-fitting undergarments goes against thousands of years of human practice.
But how bad is tight underwear, exactly? Results from the study conducted by Professor Pacey showed that men who wear tight underwear are 2.5 times more likely to have poor quality sperm, as compared to men who wear boxer shorts. This study was conducted with 2,500 men across the UK.
Another factor to take into consideration is elevated scrotal temperature, which happens when men have a varicocele (an enlarged vein in the scrotum), bringing about an increased amount of blood flow. It was found that many men with fertility problems had testes which were warmer than the average by over one degree Celsius; several studies (Laven et al, Zorgniotti and Sealfon, Jung et al, and Mulcahy) concluded that scrotal cooling helps to improve male fertility.
We imagine it’d be pretty hard for men to ice their nether regions whilst they’re at work, but turns out you don’t have to – because there is cooling underwear available in the market which will get the job done. One such product, Snowballs, incorporates removable “snow wedges” (freezable gel packets) which you can insert into your Snowballs underwear as and when you’d like. Each snow wedge will keep you cool for approximately 30 minutes; the brand recommends that you do not ice for more than an hour at a time.
If you’ve been exercising and eating healthily, but you can’t seem to conceive as a couple, this might just be the obstacle that’s standing in your way. Throw out all your tight, constricting underwear and get your hands on these scrotal cooling ones – they might do the trick!
Fertility consultation with Be Natural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka
If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, Be Natural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!