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Athletic Supporters Not Needed During Exercise

Many men wear athletic supporters when they exercise because they think it helps to prevent hernias. It doesn't.

The testicles are held in place by skin called the scrotum, that does its job so well that additional support is not necessary. Sperm travels through a tube, called the spermatic cord, that extends just under the skin from the testicle to the groin, where it passes through a small hole in the muscular abdominal wall into the belly. A hernia occurs when the tissue around the hole is torn. Intestine can pass through the hole, creating a bulge in the groin.

Holding up the scrotum with an athletic supporter does nothing to prevent a tear in the abdominal wall. Once a hernia forms and the belly wall is torn, it will never close by itself. Surgery is the only cure.

The only sports that require athletic supporters are those in which the testicle may be twisted, such as diving into water. An athletic supporter holds the testicle closer to the body so that it is far less likely to twist and pinch off the blood supply.

Checked 12/1/15

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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