UAB Medicine News


Men’s Health: 5 Common Myths Debunked

When it comes to men’s health, there’s no shortage of misinformation floating around that is commonly shared among guys at work, the gym, and at family gatherings. Some of it is rooted in truth, while other claims are wildly exaggerated or simply untrue.

In this article we debunk five popular men’s health myths to help guys of all ages understand what’s going on with their bodies and take control of their wellness, fitness, and appearance.

MYTH #1: Hats and “Man Buns” Cause Hair Loss

Male baldness is a huge concern for many guys, starting as young as their early 20s or even late teens. One common men’s health myth suggests that wearing hats – as well as the hipster trend of the “man bun” – actually causes hair loss. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this myth, as baldness is directly connected to genetics. Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiencies also play a role in hair loss, but feel free to wear your hair and hats however you please without fear of making it worse.

MYTH #2: You Need Protein Shakes and Workout Supplements

Workout supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry, with plenty of fly-by-night companies selling hyped-up products with an array of questionable ingredients. This undoubtedly contributes to the health myth among men that you need power-packed protein shakes and an arsenal of workout supplements to bulk up and sculpt a strong physique. Wouldn’t it be nice if a magic pill or powder transformed you into a championship bodybuilder or competitive athlete?

Unfortunately, no such product exists, and protein only helps you build muscle if you’re doing cardio workouts and strength training. In fact, many American men eat much more protein than their bodies actually need, which can lead to weight gain, constipation, dehydration, and even kidney damage. If you work out regularly, aim to eat about a gram of protein for each pound you weigh.

MYTH #3: Shaving Makes Your Hair Grow Thicker

Boys usually begin shaving sometime during their teenage years, and the ritual of removing facial hair is part of a man’s life well into old age. Does shaving make your hair grow thicker? In short, no. When you shave your face, neck, chest, or the hair on other body parts, you remove dead portions of hair in these regions. This means that the frequency of your shaving has no impact on the growth of new hair that has yet to emerge from the skin. So, shave as often or as seldom as you like, because hair growth is unique to your body and not affected by shaving habits.

MYTH #4: Men Can’t Get Breast Cancer

Breast cancer only occurs in women, right? While women are more likely to get breast cancer, men have breast tissue, too, and this tissue can be affected by cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 2,550 new men’s breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2018 and that nearly 500 men will die from breast cancer in the United States this year. Warning signs to watch for include a lump in the underarm area or chest, a change in breast size, and an itchy rash in the nipple area.

MYTH #5: Tight Pants and Hot Tubs Affect Your Fertility

While “tighty whities” used to be the norm in men’s undergarments, many guys have made the switch to boxers and looser-fitting pants. Perhaps this is due to changing fashion trends, or maybe it’s affected by the myth that tight pants affect your sperm count. Studies have shown that your choice of underwear and pants has no real effect on your fertility.

While the fertility risks of soaking in hot tubs or resting a hot laptop on your lap are slightly greater than your clothing choices, these risks are also very minimal and should not be a cause of concern as long as your usage isn’t excessive or prolonged.

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