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Manly Myths Quiz: The Truth About Men’s Health

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Wearing a hat or using a blow-dryer can cause baldness.

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Wearing a hat or using a blow-dryer can cause baldness.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

There’s no evidence that wearing a hat or using a blow-dryer causes baldness. Male pattern hair loss occurs because the hair follicle becomes smaller, resulting in shorter, finer hair and eventually no hair.

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Men who wear briefs have fewer sperm.

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Men who wear briefs have fewer sperm.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Although prolonged high temperatures may affect sperm count, the evidence that wearing briefs leads to lower sperm counts is inconsistent.

The more you shave, the thicker your beard will be.

The more you shave, the thicker your beard will be.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The size and shape of our hair follicles determine the thickness and texture of our hair -- whether it is thick and coarse or thin and fine. The hair may appear coarser, but shaving doesn’t change the follicle, so frequent shaving won’t make your beard thicker.

The bigger a man’s shoe size, the larger his penis.

The bigger a man’s shoe size, the larger his penis.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Two urologists at St. Mary’s Hospital in London conducted a study involving 104 men and found no statistically significant correlation between shoe size and stretched penile length.

Men hit their sexual peak at 18.

Men hit their sexual peak at 18.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

This is true, at least regarding a man’s supply of testosterone, which peaks at 18. However, peak hormone levels don’t equate to peak sexual performance.

No pain, no gain: If your workout doesn’t hurt, it’s not effective.

No pain, no gain: If your workout doesn’t hurt, it’s not effective.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

You don’t gain anything from pain. In fact, if you work out until you feel pain (or go past that point), you could injure yourself.

More men die from prostate cancer than from any other type of cancer.

More men die from prostate cancer than from any other type of cancer.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S. Prostate cancer is second for men. The American Cancer Society estimates that one in 36 men will die from prostate cancer.

Men can't get breast cancer.

Men can't get breast cancer.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Men can get breast cancer, but it’s rare. The lifetime risk is estimated to be about one in 1,000 men. In addition to older age, other risk factors include family members (male or female) with breast cancer, a genetic condition associated with high estrogen levels, chronic liver disorders, alcoholism, and obesity.

Men don’t have to be concerned about osteoporosis.

Men don’t have to be concerned about osteoporosis.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the skeleton to weaken and increases the risk of the bones to break. It is seen less often in men because of their larger skeletons and the fact that they don’t go through menopause, which causes rapid hormonal changes and bone loss in women. However, some men are at increased risk, and their numbers may increase as the life expectancy for men rises. Risk factors for osteoporosis include age, low levels of testosterone, alcohol abuse, smoking, gastrointestinal disease, use of steroid medications, and immobilization.

You can break your penis.

You can break your penis.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

There is no “penis bone,” but you can tear the tunica albuginea, which is a fibrous sheath that is stretched during an erection. This is called a “penile fracture,” and it most commonly occurs during sexual activity. Treatment most often involves surgery. Fortunately, penile fractures are rare.

Drinking beer can contribute to a “beer belly.”

Drinking beer can contribute to a “beer belly.”

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Excess calories of any kind can increase belly fat, and extra calories from beer can contribute to an increased waistline. It’s easy to overdo the calories from beer -- or other alcoholic drinks -- and the foods you like to eat while drinking.

Grilled meat contains substances that may increase the risk for cancer.

Grilled meat contains substances that may increase the risk for cancer.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Two types of potential carcinogens may be found in grilled meats. One type (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs) is found in the flames and smoke that’s created when fat and juices drip from meat onto a heat source. The PAHs then stick to the surface of the meat. The other type (heterocyclic amines, HCAs) is formed when high temperatures cause a chemical reaction between naturally occurring amino acids and sugars in the meat and the creatine found in muscle tissue. 

 

Ways to reduce or avoid these carcinogens during grilling include putting a layer of aluminum foil under the meat to avoid direct contact of the meat to the grill, pre-cooking meat in the microwave then discarding the juices, marinating meat, reducing cooking time, and removing charred areas, which contains the most HCAs.

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