Do Ball Zingers Lower Sperm Count?
I ran across this interesting article. It seems polyester undies are bad for sperm production because of the static electricity buildup.
How is this any different from what a ball zinger does?
You should read it on the site if possible so you can view the diagrams. I’m pasting the relevant section below.
Three new methods for male contraception
Department of Surgery and Experimental Research,Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
Asian J Androl 1999 Dec; 1: 161-167
3 Polyester-induced azoospermia
Another issue we investigated recently is the vulnerability of spermatogenesis to polyester (polyethylene terphthalate) contained in textile products[26-28]. An earlier study showed that dogs when made to wear polyester underpants had a diminished sperm count which was reversible when the pants were removed. In contrast, dogs wearing cotton pants showed insignificant semen changes. A human study revealed that polyester underpants worn by men generated an ?electrostatic field? that traversed the scrotum and seemed to affect the testicle and/or the epididymis, leading to diminished spermatogenesis. Textiles worn by 33 volunteers in 3 equal groups during 18 months produced insignificant changes in testicular temperature and serum reproductive hormones. In the first group of 11 subjects who wore polyester underpants, 4 showed a significantly decreased sperm count and testicular degenerative changes by the 14th month; these changes were reversed after the underpants had been removed. In the second polyester-cotton mix group of 11 subjects, only 1 volunteer became oligospermic 16 months into the pants-wearing period; the sperm count was normalized after removal of the underpants. In the third group of 11 wearing cotton only, insignificant changes in the semen character appeared.
The results of these studies led to conclude that polyester fabrics have a depressive effect on the spermatogenesis and that this effect was reversible on removal of the pants. It further appeared that this effect is related to the electrostatic charges generated by the polyester fabrics and creating an electrostatic field across the testicle and/or the epididymis.
It was therefore surmised to use polyester-containing textiles as a contraceptive tool for men. The contraceptive effect of a polyester sling applied to the scrotum was studied in 14 men who wore a polyester suspensor for 12 months.
The suspensory sling consisted of polyester fabric and was fashioned for the scrotum to lie within it (Figure 1). Variable sizes of the sling were made to suit the scrotum and slung to the waist of the subject by a belt attached to the suspensor. The belt was tied so that the suspensor elevated the testicles towards the abdomen. The suspensor was used day and night and was changed when soiled. Follow-up investigations comprised periodic check of semen character, testicular size, rectal-testicular temperature difference, serum reproductive hormones, and testicular biopsy. The electrostatic potentials generated by friction between the polyester suspensor and the scrotal skin were determined. Female partners used contraceptives until the men became azoospermic. After 12 months, the suspensor was abandoned and the aforementioned investigations were performed again.
Figure 1. Scrotal sling (from Shafik).
In the suspensor-wearing period, all men became azoospermic after (139.6±20.8) days (data expressed in the mean±s), with decreases in both testicular volume (P<0.05) and rectal-testicular temperature difference (P<0.001). Serum reproductive hormones showed no significant change (P>0.05). Seminiferous tubules revealed degenerative changes. No pregnancy occurred during this period. The polyester suspensor generated electric potentials ?(366.4±30.5) V/cm2 by day and (158.3±13.6) V/cm2 by night?.
In the period after the suspensor was abandoned, the sperm concentration returned to the pre-test level in a mean period of (156.6±14.8) days. Likewise, the testicular volume and rectal-testicular temperature difference were normalized. In 5 couples the women conceived as they had planned.
Our study demonstrates that the ensheathing of the scrotum in a polyester suspensor has induced azoospermia in all of the 14 volunteers and that this azoospermia is reversible following the release of the suspensor, and the wives of 5 of the volunteers became pregnant according to plan.
Furthermore, the study shows that electrostatic potentials are generated from the polyester sling and the opposing scrotal skin as a result of friction between the two surfaces. They are higher during daytime rather than at night, due probably to the higher temperatures prevailing during the day. The electrostatic charges and consequently the potentials are directly proportional to the temperature: the higher the temperature, the more charges are generated.
3.4 Azoospermic effect of the polyester sling
The azoospermic effect of the polyester sling seems to be related to two factors[26-28]: the electrostatic field effect and the disordered thermoregulatory effect.
3.4.1 The electrostatic field effect
Friction between the scrotal skin and the polyester sling creates a negative charge on the inner surface of the sling and a positive one on the scrotal skin facing the sling (Figure 2). An equal but opposite charge to the one on the inner sling aspect occurs on the outer sling surface. The result is that the outer surface of the scrotal sac facing the sling will have a number of positive charges. The latter produces induced charges with negative sign on the other surface of the scrotal sac. Eventually, equal but opposite charges are created on the two aspects of the scrotal sac: the one in contact with the sling and the other away from it (Figure 2). These opposite charges will produce an ?electrostatic field? extending from one aspect of the scrotum toward the other through the scrotal sac[26-28]. The electrostatic field traversing the scrotal contents would disturb the testicles and/or epididymis leading to diminished spermatogenesis.
Figure 2. Diagrammatic illustration of the electrostatic potentials created on the polyester suspensor and the scrotal sac. The electrostatic field is demonstrated (from Shafik).
3.4.2 Disordered thermoregulation
The polyester suspensor leads to spermatogenic depression also by disturbing the testicular thermoregulatory mechanism. The suspensor induces disturbed thermoregulation by two mechanisms. Firstly, it fixes the two testicles to the effect that they cannot move in reaction to changes in the environmental temperature[13,14]. Secondly, it slings the two testicles up towards the warm abdomen, thus increasing the testicular temperature with a resulting decrease in the rectal-testicular temperature difference. The testicular temperature may as well affect the frequency of the electrostatic potentials generated on the scrotal skin. As mentioned earlier, the higher the temperature, the more charges are generated. Thus, with the temperature of the testicles increasing as a result of their being close to the warm abdomen, the generated electrostatic charges increase, and their possible injurious effect on the intrascrotal structures would consequently be increased. In all volunteers a decrease in the rectal-testicular temperature difference during the period when the polyester suspensor was worn, was recorded. However, the temperature difference returned to the pre-test value after the suspensor was released.
3.5 Polyester sling as a contraceptive tool
Fertile men could be rendered azoospermic by wearing a polyester suspensor. The effect was reversible when the suspensor was abandoned. There were no contraceptive failures during the sling-wearing period. Furthermore, pregnancy was achieved in the period after the sling had been released. There was no discontinuation recorded with the method. No side effects were encountered. The safety, reversibility and acceptability of such method would make it a satisfactory contraception for long periods. Meanwhile, it is less costly when compared to the other contraceptives in common use. The method might prove superior to vasoligation and condoms after it has been tried on a larger group of volunteers.