According to a newly published report in the New England Journal of Medicine, men who drink more than 2-4 servings of alcohol per day—one serving equals 4 oz. wine, 12 oz. beer or ale, or 1 oz. gin, rum or other liquor--and then imbibe heavily on New Year’s Eve can expect at least one of their testicles to drop 1/32nd of an inch or roughly 0.079375 cm. each year.
In 2005, Dr. Hans Crotis, chief internist at the Hampton VA Medical Center in Hampton, VA, received a $2.4 million dollar government grant to study the effects that various drinking patterns have on a man’s reproductive organs. “Because of my own ball droppage,” said Dr. Crotis,” I had a personal interest in finding out the reason behind this physiological change in men. The best scenario to test my theory as to why men begin to show signs of early ball droppage in their 50’s was the overindulgence on New Year’s Eve. Sure, men overindulge at other times of the year, but for purposes of my study, I wanted to find men who only drink moderate amounts of alcohol during the year and then go a bit overboard at the end of the year.”
The study group consisted of 2,120 United States veterans between the ages of 22 and 34 who were paid for their participation. Each potential study member was asked to fill out a lengthy questionnaire that covered everything from medical conditions to the most important question “how much do you drink per day?” The study participants were then chosen and given a chart each year to keep track of their daily intake of alcohol. The study, which ran the course of a little over three years, from December, 2005 through March, 2009, was concluded on April 1, 2009 and results were compiled over the next few months.
Among the most astounding findings was the fact that men are not usually aware that their testicles are gradually dropping little by little “because this measurement is so minute and only affects one or the other testicle, but not both at one time.” Especially young men who are not heavy drinkers, but who still drink to the point of inebriation on New Year’s Eve may not actually notice any difference until they hit their 50’s or 60’s, when the “ball dropping” is much more noticeable. Said Dr. Crotis, “we now have a rational explanation backed up by medical research data that explains why some men’s testicles drop so much more noticeably than others in their later years.”
It has not yet been determined whether or not this change in physiology is harmful to men and therefore, until further studies can be done, Dr. Crotis advised men to continue drinking as much or as little as they like, but be aware that it may cause a good amount of droppage later on in life. He added, “if our follow up studies indicate that the droppage is indeed harmful to men and can be directly linked to their drinking of alcohol, then we will ask that warning labels be attached to wine, beer and alcohol containers to warn of the dangers that men face.”