Baseball Caps, Briefs & Beards: 10 Surprising Man-Myths

A boxer punching towards the screenIs it true that men should wear boxers instead of briefs? What do men need to know about those steaks and brats they love to grill? What about that certain myth concerning a man’s shoe size?

Here are a few myths and facts  about men’s health:

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Men who wear briefs have fewer sperm.

False. Although prolonged high temperatures may affect sperm count, the evidence that wearing briefs leads to lower sperm counts is inconsistent.

Penises can break.

True. There is no “penis bone,” but you can tear the tunica albuginea, which is a fibrous sheath that is stretched during an erection. This is called a “penile fracture,” and it most commonly occurs during sexual activity. Treatment most often involves surgery. Fortunately, penile fractures are rare.

Hats and/or blow dryers can cause baldness.

False. There’s no evidence that wearing a hat or using a blow-dryer causes baldness. Male pattern hair loss occurs because the hair follicle becomes smaller, resulting in shorter, finer hair and eventually no hair.

Men hit their sexual peak at 18.

True. This is true, at least regarding a man’s supply of testosterone, which peaks at 18. However, peak hormone levels don’t equate to peak sexual performance.

The more you shave, the thicker your beard will be.

False. The size and shape of our hair follicles determine the thickness and texture of our hair — whether it is thick and coarse or thin and fine. The hair may appear coarser, but shaving doesn’t change the follicle, so frequent shaving won’t make your beard thicker.

Men can get breast cancer.

True. Men can get breast cancer, but it’s rare. The lifetime risk is estimated to be about one in 1,000 men. In addition to older age, other risk factors include family members (male or female) with breast cancer, a genetic condition associated with high estrogen levels, chronic liver disorders, alcoholism, and obesity.

The larger a man’s shoe size, the larger his penis is.

False. Two urologists at St. Mary’s Hospital in London conducted a study involving 104 men and found no statistically significant correlation between shoe size and stretched penile length.

Grilled meat contains substances that may increase the risk for cancer.

True. Two types of potential carcinogens may be found in grilled meats. One type (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs) is found in the flames and smoke that’s created when fat and juices drip from meat onto a heat source. The PAHs then stick to the surface of the meat. The other type (heterocyclic amines, HCAs) is formed when high temperatures cause a chemical reaction between naturally occurring amino acids and sugars in the meat and the creatine found in muscle tissue.

Ways to reduce or avoid these carcinogens during grilling include putting a layer of aluminum foil under the meat to avoid direct contact of the meat to the grill, pre-cooking meat in the microwave then discarding the juices, marinating meat, reducing cooking time, and removing charred areas, which contains the most HCAs.

No pain, no gain: If a workout doesn’t hurt, then it’s not effective enough.

False. You don’t gain anything from pain. In fact, if you work out until you feel pain (or go past that point), you could injure yourself.

Drinking beer won’t actually give you a “beer belly.”

False. Excess calories of any kind can increase belly fat, and extra calories from beer can contribute to an increased waistline. It’s easy to overdo the calories from beer — or other alcoholic drinks — and the foods you like to eat while drinking.