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Contrary to what one might think, contraception is not just a women’s affair. Focus on thermal contraception for men with Dr. Catherine Fohet, medical gynecologist.

Yes, contraception also exists for men! In the 1980s, Dr. Roger Mieusset (an andrologist from the Toulouse University Hospital) developed the first “heated briefs” for men. If the concept can make you smile, it is actually an effective contraceptive method.

Thermal contraception: how does the “heated brief” for men work?

To fully understand how thermal contraception works (this is what doctors call “heated briefs”…), you have to take a detour to spermatogenesis.

In men, sperm are produced in the testicles: these sexual glands are located in the purses, these are the two “bags” located below the penisdescribes Dr. Catherine Fohet, medical gynecologist. However, spermatogenesis (that is to say: the production of spermatozoa) requires special conditions, and in particular a temperature below 37°C. This is the reason why the bursae are outside the body.”

Thermal contraception is therefore based on a simple principle: it involves increasing the temperature of the purses by around 2°C (therefore, by extension, that of the testicles) in order to “block” spermatogenesis. A 100% natural method… and without hormones!

Thermal contraception: the “heated brief” for men, in practice

Very concretely, the “heated briefs” developed at the Toulouse University Hospital come in the form of an undergarment: the penis and the purses must be passed through a ring “which allows the testicles to be raised to the root of the penis in order to take advantage of the natural heat of the body, i.e. approximately 37°C“explains Dr. Fohet.

To know. On the internet, there are many tutorials for making your own “heated briefs”, with several variations according to everyone’s tastes and comfort: brief model, jockstrap model or even bra model… “These “do it yourself” versions are effective provided you wear them long enough“underlines the medical gynecologist.

How to properly use thermal contraception for men? The “heated brief” must be worn 15 hours a day, and every day: at this rate, doctors consider that it is more than 90% effective after 3 months of use.

The man performs a spermogram before starting to use this contraceptive method, and a spermogram is redone at 3 months: the objective is to have less than 1 million spermatozoa per milliliter of semen” develops Dr. Fohet. Then, a “surveillance” spermogram is carried out every 3 months.

Thermal contraception: what the gynecologist thinks

Thermal contraception for men is an alternative to female contraception: the effectiveness of the device (provided it is worn every day for 15 hours, and in an adequate manner) is close to that of an IUD. It is a good option for couples who do not want pregnancy.

Unfortunately, currently, the “heated brief” does not benefit from any reimbursement by Social Security: “scientific studies are not sufficient to allow its approval. However, they are in progress and labels could be obtained as early as 2025-2028.“.

Another advantage of thermal contraception: this method is reversible. “When you decide to stop, you have to wait about 6 months to hope for a pregnancy: 3 months for the spermatozoa to regenerate and another 3 months “as a precautionary principle” to be sure that they are normal, that’s i.e. without chromosomal abnormality“explains the medical gynecologist.

To note : there are some (rare) contraindications to “heated briefs”. “Among other things, men who suffer from intimate eczema or inguinal hernia are not affected.“says Dr. Catherine Fohet.

Thanks to Dr. Catherine Fohet, medical gynecologist and member of the National Federation of Colleges of Medical Gynecology (FNCGM).

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