No one is immune to a good myth, especially when it’s regarding our health and well-being, and with the advent of the internet, it’s even easier to succumb to the newest health myth and the hysteria behind it. It can be hard to make heads or tails of a health myth, and it may not be the first thing you want to bring up to your physician, so we’ve done the hard work for you!
Here are the top five health myths men can stop worrying about!
Myth: Wearing a hat or blow drying your hair causes baldness.
Many men opt for a hat to cover their balding head or use a blow dryer to help style their hair in a way that makes balding less noticeable, so it would be pretty counterproductive if those two habits were the root of receding hairlines in the first place! Thankfully, there is no evidence showing that wearing a hat or using a blow dryer causes baldness so long as your hat fits correctly and protecting your hair with heat protectant before blow drying or using any heated styling tools.
Baldness typically occurs when the hair follicle becomes smaller over time, which creates shorter, finer hair, and eventually, no hair. Good news: if you’re experiencing thinner hair, you’re not going it alone. Male pattern baldness accounts for more than 95 percent of hair loss in men. By the time American men reach their 35th birthday, two-thirds will have experienced some degree of hair loss. By age 50, approximately 85 percent of men will have observably thinning hair.
However, if you have longer hair and consistently wear it pulled into a tight hairstyle such as a pony tail, bun or braids, you may be at risk a different kind of hair loss: traction alopecia. This type of hair lost is caused by hair follicles being pulled on for long periods of time. Whereas balding will typically occur along the temples and crown, traction alopecia will show up along the hairline. But the good news is it’s reversible by limiting tight styles.
In some cases, hair loss can be caused by medications, certain diseases or poor nutrition, so if you notice sudden hair loss, set up an appointment with your doctor.
Myth: Men who wear briefs have lower sperm counts.
This myth has been floating around for decades, and although it has created a divide among men regarding which style of underwear is superior, there isn’t any actual health risk behind the rumor.
This myth is based on the fact that sperm does not do well in high temperatures and the tighter the underwear is to a man’s body, the more opportunity for heat to be retained, resulting in poor quality or lower sperm counts. Although prolonged high temperatures do affect sperm count, the temperature has to be much higher than what can be attained just by wearing a tight article of clothing. Which means you may want to limit your time in hot baths, hot tubs or saunas, but you don’t need to ditch the briefs for boxers.
Experts suggest wearing whatever style of underwear — or lack thereof — you feel comfortable in, and add that maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is your best bet at maximizing sperm quality.
Myth: Having a vasectomy will increase your risk of certain health conditions.
If you have ever entertained the thought of having a vasectomy, you might have come across reports or opinions from friends and family stating that vasectomies can lead to much bigger health problems such as heart disease or prostate cancer, but there is no evidence to support any of these claims.
A study published in the journal World J Mens Health shows no increased risk with vasectomy and autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer or sexual dysfunction.
Myth: Once you turn 40, your muscle mass goes downhill.
Yes, it is true that most men begin to lose muscle mass as they age, but a sedentary lifestyle may be more to blame than age.
A Canadian study comparing active adults between the ages of 53 and 75 with sedentary adults of the same age found that the physically active group had muscle cells that functioned nearly as efficiently as active adults in their twenties.
So, we come to the principle of “use it or lose it”. Regular exercise, strength training, and a diet higher in protein can help you maintain your strength. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week and add strength training at least two days per week.
Myth: The more protein, the bigger muscles you can build.
As interest in protein has increased over the years, even everyday foods like cereal and water are fortified with it now. Protein is essential to maintaining muscle, but drastically increasing your protein intake can actually have the opposite effect.
The body is unable to store excess protein, so if you consume more than your body is using, your body will convert the protein to amino acids that can be used for other functions in your body, but that does not make up for the excess calories you consumed. Those calories will then be stored as fat, which leads to weight gain.
In order to consume the appropriate amount of protein for your body’s needs, a good general rule of thumb is to multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 to calculate the necessary amount of protein in grams.
If you come across a myth that seems too absurd to be true, it probably is, but doing a little bit of research can usually debunk it before it consumes your thoughts. And if you’re ever in doubt, by all means, bring it up to your doctor. Odds are they’ve already heard the myth before and can give you some clarity.
Do you need a primary care physician to help manage your health and answer any of your concerns? Find a THR physician in your area with our “Find a Physician” tool.