The increased FSH may be compensatory mechanism by the body to counter the effects of the tighter underwear, the researchers said.
Men donning boxers have a higher sperm count, the new study concluded. Vij said. "We always struggle in our field to make that leap".
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However, researchers noted that none of the sperm counts measured were below the normal range, implying that underwear is not a major factor in pregnancy.
To understand how underwear can affect sperm quality, the researchers collected semen samples - and preferences for boxers versus briefs - from 656 men between the ages of 32 and 39.
That is not the only benefit for people who wear boxers or any loose-fitting underwear, these men also have a higher percentage of what is known as motile sperm.
Boxer shorts better for sperm health: Study.
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Researchers, who took into account other factors that can affect sperm, including age, body mass index (BMI) and habits such as smoking and hot tub use, speculate that the higher heat inside trousers is the root of the problem.
Follicle stimulating hormone is associated with sperm production, suggesting, researchers said, that the brain stepped up production of the hormone to compensate for the decreased sperm production in the men wearing tighter underwear. But more studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis.
"If you're just walking along in an air conditioned room, it's probably not going to make much difference between boxers and briefs", said Fisch, who was not involved in the study.
According to experts, the reasons for this trend are mostly external: it can be both environmental factors (e.g., poor environment), and peculiarities of lifestyle (reduced physical activity, Smoking or obesity).
Dr. Michael Eisenberg, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, agreed.
However, the study does not explore whether the occupation of the men and the length of time that they spend seated were also important, he said.
We know what you're thinking. In 2016, Eisenberg co-authored a study of 500 men that found that, no matter what type of underwear the men wore, the time it took couples to become pregnant was about the same.
Wearing skinny jeans or a certain type of underwear fabric could also skew the results, the study says. He explained that for men who are having difficulty conceiving or are trying to conceive, it may be a good idea to pay heed to the results of this study.