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Boxers vs Briefs?

Posted Sep 25 2009 3:34pm

Several years ago my good friend Dr. Bruce Gilbert, a Urologist in Great Neck, NY specializing in male infertility, presented a paper at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Dr. Gilbert’s presentation was on the debate between briefs and boxers for male infertility. When Bruce told me about the paper he was going to present I told him that I was sure that he would be interviewed by the press regarding that research. As predicted, Bruce was indeed interviewed by the usual media outlets for that story (CNN, ABC etc etc). It seems that this question resonated with the general public and they all wanted to know. So what did Dr. Gilbert’s study show? I will leave it to you, dear reader, to find out for yourselves. Or Google Dr. Gilbert and check out his website.

So here is the “Question of the Day” from the book that has yet to catch Harry Potter in advance sales:

32. Is there anything my husband can do to improve his sperm count, such as wearing boxers and not briefs or taking vitamins?

Sperm parameters demonstrate considerable variation from sample to sample, so researchers have not been able to identify any specific diet or lifestyle change that might potentially improve sperm quality. Although the presence of a varicocele has been suggested to play a role in male infertility (see Question 30), the benefit of varicocelectomy remains controversial.

Some studies have suggested that wearing boxers instead of briefs can improve a man’s sperm count. The avoidance of extremely high temperature may also improve sperm counts, so care should be taken to avoid prolonged exposure to extremely high temperatures, such as within a sauna or a hot tub. The effects of a variety of nutritional supplements on semen have been studied. Some researchers have suggested that antioxidants may improve sperm quality, thereby leading to improved pregnancy rates (the desired outcome). Although the data on nutritional supplements with antioxidant properties are somewhat limited, a commercially available product based on this research is available (Proxeed, Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals). This nutritional supplement is available for purchase only over the Internet. Although it has been frequently pre- scribed by some urologists, additional studies are required to confirm its benefits.

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