The answer is NO. Tight underwear may be a reason for low sperm count, but not erectile dysfunction. Common risk factors for ED are age, hypertension, diabetes, prescribed and recreational drugs, smoking, alcoholism, nerve disorders, and psychological factors (stress and anxiety). Boxers better than tight underwear can be counted as a myth with no scientific evidence to support it.
Over 18 million men above the age of 20 in the United States are affected by erectile dysfunction (ED).1 ED has a range of risk factors and causes. Obesity, age, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and diseases affecting the nerves are leading causes.3 In some cases, lack of physical activity and psychological factors like anxiety play a role in ED. Certain classes of medical drugs like antidepressants and psychiatric drugs, hypertension medication, and antihistamines can also be triggers.2. So can recreational drugs like cocaine, marijuana, heroin, barbiturates, and amphetamines.
While these risk factors are proven to cause ED, there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding this issue. So does the underwear you use have a role in ED? Research says no!
Tight Underwear And Erectile Dysfunction
Wearing tight underwear has never been implicated in ED, although it is considered a factor in fertility issues such as low sperm count.4 Tight underwear may increase scrotal temperature, thereby reducing sperm production. But even here researchers seem divided, with some refuting the role underwear plays in testicular heating.5
Putting aside the briefs versus shorts debate until research proves otherwise, ED is still a treatable condition. Once the underlying cause of ED is detected, a treatment plan can be designed by your physician. Losing excess weight, engaging in physical activity, cutting down on smoking and alcohol, keeping diabetes and hypertension in check are often simple measures to correct ED. In some cases, medications causing ED can be stopped to correct the issue. Men with anxiety and stress concerning erection can benefit from psychosexual counseling. Other treatment options include medication and in some cases surgeries like penile implants.6
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||18 Million Men in the United States Affected by Erectile Dysfunction, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.|
|2.||↑||Drugs that may cause impotence, US National Library of Medicine.|
|3.||↑||Selvin, Elizabeth, Arthur L. Burnett, and Elizabeth A. Platz. “Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in the US.” The American journal of medicine 120, no. 2 (2007): 151-157.|
|4.||↑||Mieusset, R., and L. Bujan. “Testicular heating and its possible contributions to male infertility: a review.” International journal of andrology 18, no. 4 (1995): 169-184.|
|5.||↑||Munkelwitz, Robert, and BRUCE R. GILBERT. “Are boxer shorts really better? A critical analysis of the role of underwear type in male subfertility.” The Journal of urology 160, no. 4 (1998): 1329-1333.|
|6.||↑||Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence) – Treatment, NHS UK.|