“I have heard that tight underwear on men and also being in hot spas cause infertility in men – is this true?”
Although some studies have shown a decrease in sperm count from wearing tight-fitting underwear, others have not. Nevertheless, it is commonly advised that men who want to become a father should switch from briefs to boxers. The fear is that the tighter briefs keep the testicles closer to the body, resulting in warmer testicles which may lower sperm count and may also induce some degree of sperm DNA fragmentation. Keep in mind that the testes are the site of sperm production, and that the epididymis, next to the testes is in the scrotal area too, is the organ for sperm storage. So, it may be common-sense practice to use airier, cooler underpants to help preserve vital reproductive cells.
But since research has been mixed, routinely advising infertility patients or prospective fathers to wear boxer shorts cannot be supported by available scientific evidence.
Modern sauna and jacuzzi sessions can reach pretty high temperatures, and in hot tubs the testicles are completely submerged in the hot water and have no way to cool off. Sperm cells are optimally produced when the testicles are 2-3oC below body temperature, and there is a reason why testicles are in the scrotum and not at the core body temperature of 37oC. There is evidence that the increased testicular temperature may affect both the quality and quantity of sperm produced. Whether these effects can be transient or reversible, or what duration and time of usage can be detrimental, are unknown.
If you’re worried about infertility, avoid heat excess and skip the hot tub.
At the Sher Fertility Institute, New York, we will help you achieve your goal of starting a family. For further information please Request An Appointment or call us at (646) 792-7476.