Choosing the right underwear is important to a man’s overall health and well-being.
Unfortunately, many men simply pick out briefs or boxers in their color of choice without understanding the importance of the correct fit and fabric. And it’s not just about how comfortable they are either.
There is considerable research to show that what you choose can have a major effect on both your physical, reproductive and sexual health.
There are several health issues associated with men’s underwear that you need to understand before you make a purchase.
The fabric of your underwear can cause skin irritations and even allergic reactions, known as contact dermatitis.
While every person's skin is different, the most common fabrics that can cause this are polyester, rayon, or rubber.
These fabrics do not always breathe well, and largely depends on the fiber blend, weave, & weight of the fabric. In extreme cases, the fabric construction keeps sweat from evaporating, trapping it in one spot, causing uncomfortable itchiness and rashes.
If you have contact dermatitis, you’ll need to consult a doctor, but here are a few common-sense home remedies you can also try:
- Switch to sensitive skin laundry detergent while your rash heals
- Buy different underwear
- Apply anti-itch cream
- Soak in a colloidal oatmeal bath
- Apply cool, wet compresses
If your underwear is too tight and it traps in moisture and sweat, you may get jock itch, crotch rot or even a male yeast infection.
A fungal infection in the skin of the genitals, inner thighs and buttocks is an itchy, red, often ring-shaped rash that is very uncomfortable.
You’ll have to wash the area carefully with soap and water then treat with an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream or powder.
Dry carefully after exercise and bathing and change your clothes and underwear every day.
Another common problem is caused by chafing while you are working out or playing sports.
It is because your underwear is not providing enough support, so that your sweaty skin chafes against it. Groin chafing feels like burning and it causes an uncomfortable bright red rash.
To avoid this, choose breathable underwear with moisture-wicking qualities and the type of fabric that stays in place to ensure against those embarrassing wedgies.
A protective jock strap is a must for many sports, of course.
An uncommon side effect of ill-fitting underwear is the super-painful testicular torsion.
This happens when the spermatic cord rotates and becomes twisted, cutting off the testicle's blood supply and causing sudden pain and swelling.
It's most common in teen boys (12-18 years) but can also occur in older men. While it is not clear exactly what causes testicular torsion, you can decrease your risk by wearing the proper testicular support when exercising or playing sports.
Lower Hormone Levels
Testosterone levels naturally decrease as men age, however if you wear correctly fitting boxers, loose briefs or those with a bigger pouch, you may avoid developing lower levels of testosterone, which has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Lower Sperm Count
If you wear tight-fitting underwear you are likely to develop overly warm testicles, which may lead to a decrease in sperm count.
In a recent study, men who reported most frequently wearing boxers had higher sperm concentration and total count, and lower FSH levels, compared to men who did not.
The Best Underwear for Men's Health?
So how do you choose underwear that is tight enough to reduce skin friction, but loose enough to encourage sexual and reproductive health?
Here are the key points. You need:
- A cooling fabric - to maintain proper body temperature
- Moisture-wicking technology - to reduce chafing and irritation
- Testicular support - to maintain sperm counts and reduce injuries
- Proper fit - to reduce skin-to-skin irritation
Ideal Material – Which Type is Best for Men’s Health?
The best men's underwear should be made of super soft fabric that lets your skin breathe and doesn't cause any skin irritation.
Nylon fabric is hyper-wicking. That means it will pull moisture away from your body and help it evaporate faster, without irritating your skin.
Blends with Spandex
Stretchy material like spandex helps your underwear stay in place comfortably.
Many underwear brands now offer boxer briefs in blends that contain a stretch material (i.e. spandex, elastane, Lycra, etc.).
We recommend blends with 5-15% strech material content. Any less, and the fabric may not stretch enough. Any more and the undewear may fit too tight.
Cotton underwear is breathable but be careful to pick a kind that is soft to the touch, so it won't aggravate your skin on hot sweaty days.
If you are looking for underwear to wear all day or at the gym, cotton may not be a good choice as it holds on to moisture (sweat) more so than wicking fabrics like polyester and nylon.
Choose underwear that is snug around the waist and legs, rather than loose and baggy, so it stays in place.
Be sure to follow the underwear brand's sizing guide to find the right fit. Underwear that is too small can leave marks and be restrictive. If the waistband is too big, your underwear will fall down.
If you have a pair that fits you well, lay it out flat and measure the waist and leg openings. Then, compare it to the brand's sizing guide to find your perfect size.
Boxers, Briefs or Commando? Which is Best for Men's Health?
So, which is better health-wise - men's boxers, briefs, or no underwear at all? And what about boxer briefs?
Research shows that super tight briefs lead to lower sperm counts. You will want to stay away from anything too restrictive, so if reproductive health is important to you, boxers are a better option.
Going commando (not wearing any underwear) can be freeing and increase the airflow to that area.
However, this means that the delicate skin in your pelvic area will be in contact with the rough fabric of your jeans or other pants. This can be uncomfortable, so not wearing any underwear at all isn't the best option.
Boxers are a good idea for reducing chafing and increasing airflow, however, some men complain that boxer shorts tend to bunch up and become uncomfortable when worn all day long.
The best of all worlds is probably the boxer brief. A perfect-fitting boxer brief will give you support plus the anti-chafing technology of boxers.
Should Guys Sleep in their Underwear?
Your underwear keeps in heat and moisture where bacteria can thrive and can infect any chafed or irritated skin down there. Better to sleep commando, as it’s more conducive to healthy sperm production.
The scrotum needs to be the perfect temperature in order to optimize sperm production, so if you sleep in your underwear your testicles can become too warm thus compromising the quality of your sperm.
If you absolutely mustsleep in your underwear, make sure you choose breathable underpants or loose boxers.
Why Do Men Wear Underwear Anyway?
Good question! Is underwear at all necessary? Yes, it prevents the staining of your outer clothing with bodily secretions and reduces the risk of getting crotch rot.
It absorbs sweat well unlike your pants or shorts and it lessens the friction of outerwear against the skin.
Replace your underwear at least once a year but if you notice fraying, holes, stains, or other signs of wear and tear, replace it immediately.
Other Male Health Concerns?
Now, that you know how to choose the right underwear, contact your health provider if you have other health concerns.
There are several medications for male health issues such as low testosterone, erectile dysfunction and other sexual issues.
Here are 5 types of prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED):
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
- Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
- Avanafil (Stendra)
- Alpostradil (Caverject, Edex, MUSE)
If you prefer a discreet option visit GetRoman.com where you can speak with an online physician who can prescribe it and ship it to you in complete privacy.
Your underwear is a vital part of your wardrobe. In fact, more than any other item of clothing you own, it can have a direct effect on both your physical and sexual health.
Just as you pick out your pants and shirts with meticulous care, you should shop for the very best boxer briefs.
If you're in search of underwear that are designed with your health in mind, please feel free to check out our selection of Made in USA Men's Underwear.