As more people decide to cycle to work, whether it be to save on gas prices or as a form of regular exercise, it’s vital to be aware of the potential dangers cycling can pose. Men who enjoy riding bikes need to be aware of the sexual health risks they might face as a result. Bike riding can have a negative effect on the male sexual organs.
Male cyclists can suffer from soreness and irritation around the groin area. Bike riding can also increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.
The excess heat produced around the groin while cycling, along with the pressure of the firm saddle, can lead to reduced testicular function. In the worst cases, male infertility has even been linked to bike riding.
Different types of cycling can affect you in different ways. Those that prefer mountain biking have been shown to suffer from several scrotal problems. Meanwhile, those who do their cycling in the city run the risks of damage to the testicles and problems with fertility.
We have listed eight key things you need to know if you want to continue with your hobby of cycling, while reducing the risks of damaging your sex life.
Recent studies have shown that the shape and size of the majority of bike seats and saddles can exert large amounts of pressure on the perineum.
The perineum is the area between the anus and scrotum. It is hugely essential for men, as it contains many blood vessels and nerve cells connected to the penis.
The excess pressure exerted on the perineum when cycling causes the blood vessels in the area to constrict, leading to reduced blood flow to the penis. An erection occurs when lots of blood flows into the penis and engorges some spongy tissue, known as the corpora cavernosa. Therefore, a healthy blood flow is vital for a man to achieve an erection.
A reduction in this blood flow often leads to erectile dysfunction, making a man unable to achieve an erection, thereby suffering from a greatly reduced sex life. This problem also naturally has other side effects, as a man can lose confidence in himself and suffer from stress.
Those who cycle often can even suffer from this probably permanently, if sufficient damage happens to the perineum. It is thus imperative to choose a comfortable and well-built seat to reduce your risks.
Similarly to the perineum, the prostate also has to endure large amounts of pressure while cycling. The prostate is a gland located just below the bladder.
Its primary function is to produce and secrete a white fluid that is released during intercourse at the point of ejaculation.
This fluid helps to neutralize the acids in the vagina and help the sperm survive as they travel towards the egg for fermentation. The prostate is, therefore, a highly main part of reproduction.
Several studies have shown that those who cycle regularly are several times more likely to develop prostate cancer. For instance, men ages 50 and above who cycle for over nine hours each week are approximately five times more likely to develop this form of cancer.
It’s significant to note that these studies are not conclusive. But, that the pressure exerted on the prostate while cycling does have the potential to lead to negative effects.
Testicular cancer affects around 8,000 men in the US each year. Fortunately, it is one of the most curable forms of cancer, with only around five percent of cases ultimately becoming fatal.
The disease causes the development of one or more tumors in one or both of the testicles.
Research performed a few decades ago linked the risk of developing this form of cancer with frequent cycling. However, only a few studies have been done since then.
What’s certain is that firm saddles can cause injuries to the testicles in those who ride their bikes often. And, thus this trauma may have the potential to develop into something more serious over time.
The most effective thing to do is to go for regular check-ups. Testicular cancer can be successfully treated and removed before posing much of a threat a doctor can diagnose it early.
The size of a bike seat is extremely small. A huge amount of your body weight is supported by this small area.
The perineum, which is the area between the anus and the scrotum, has to endure this pressure and the blood vessels and nerve endings that lie within can suffer injuries.
The perineum contains many nerves that allow for sensitivity in the genitals. It also contains the blood vessels that provide the area with nutrients and blood to allow a man to achieve an erection. As the pressure of a bike seat damages these vessels and nerves, the area becomes less sensitive and has reduced blood flow.
Some of the smallest bike seats can constrict the blood flow to the penis by up to 66 percent.
Studies have shown that men who cycle regularly suffer from a lower sperm count and reduced sperm quality than the average male. The true causes of these symptoms are unknown.
The pressure exerted on the scrotal area during a bike ride can damage the testicles, thereby reducing the quality and amount of sperm produced. This can, in the long-term, lead to fertility issues.
Chronic prostatitis, also known as CPPS, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is a condition in which the prostate becomes inflamed and extremely painful. This condition can occur from cycling, as the pressure exerted on the prostate by the saddle can lead to irritation and eventually inflammation.
The symptoms of this condition are many and varied. Sufferers complain of constant pain around their abdomens, backs and genitals, along with frequent and painful urination. The condition can also involve problems with urination and pain when ejaculating. The latter problem, in particular, can have an extremely negative effect on a sufferer’s sex life.
The condition is often poorly-diagnosed and is, for now, widely misunderstood. The causes and precise symptoms of the
disorder have not yet understood; thus you should speak to your doctor if you are struggling with any of the symptoms listed above, or any pain in the prostate/genital region whatsoever.
Since the disorder is poorly-understood, the most effective treatment is still not available. Antibiotics are prescribed to some patients, but these can sometimes have little to no effect.
Also, many doctors believe bacteria have no role in the development of CPPS. Other medications are available, but these can have unfortunate side effects.
To reduce your risks of developing CPPS, you should choose a comfortable bike saddle. It is also beneficial to reduce the amount you cycle, especially if you are a frequent rider. There are various natural supplements available to boost prostate health, and you can visit your local natural store to find out more.
Many men who ride bikes regularly will complain at some point of some form of pain or irritation in their groin or perineum area.
Since the bike saddle is so small and the body’s weight is supported by a tiny and delicate area, it is normal for cyclists to suffer with chafing, irritation, numbness and even bruising from time to time.
Excessive heat and sweat in the area, combined with small abrasions or cuts, can also lead to bacterial infections.
Many of these problems are minor and will vanish in a short amount of time, but some can be much more serious. It’s helpful to choose a comfortable saddle and avoid cycling continuously or for excessive periods of time.
Male cyclists often complain of soreness in and around the area of the testicles. This pain can take a variety of forms, from simple tenderness to throbbing aches. Sore testicles can really make men suffer in their daily lives. Because of this, you should try tp protect this delicate area as much as you can.
An example of a testicular problem encountered by cyclists is testicular torsion. This is when the testicle rotates out of position, reduced the blood flow in the area greatly and causing severe pain. This sort of issue is a medical emergency, and it is therefore suggested that you urgently get to a hospital if you find yourself suffering extreme testicular pain.
Cycling is not a common cause of this problem, but those who enjoy rough rides with lots of bouncing around may find themselves falling victim to testicular torsion at some point or another.
One more common problem is fluid accumulation. All sorts of cells and liquids are present within the testicles, and the body has to work hard to maintain a balance within the scrotum.
Any injury or infection in the area due to cycling can lead to an excess buildup of fluids, which will require medical intervention. If you experience any sort of testicle pain, whether you cycle often or not, you should visit your doctor and explain the problem.
There are many instances where this pain will go away on its own. But, it can sometimes be the sign of something serious, so it’s always best to seek professional help.
Recent studies have discovered that lady cyclists are also putting themselves at risk of genital injuries.
As with men, the pressure exerted on the genital area by the saddle can lead to reduced sensitivity and blood flow, particularly in female cyclists who position their handlebars below the level of the saddle, as this increases the pressure even more than normal.
A study involved several women cycling with lowered handlebars, and many of the participants complained of genital soreness and decreased sensitivity levels. Thus, female cyclists should position their handlebars above the seat, at a level which they find most comfortable. There are fewer studies on the effects of cycling on women than on men, but the risk for female cyclists is evidently there.
If you’re a frequent rider, you don’t need to abandon your hobby in order to stay safe. Various tips and modifications to your lifestyle can help lower the chances of you incurring a serious genital injury or suffering with fertility troubles. They include:
The most significant thing you can do is to be prepared. Have the right equipment and the right mentality before you set off a ride. Be aware of the potential dangers you face and how to avoid them. Keep yourself well hydrated and be sure to take regular breaks every time you head out on the bike.
Remaining healthy in other aspects of your life, like your diet and regular exercise regimen, will help you stay healthy while cycling.
Most importantly of all, if you do begin to experience any pain, go and see your doctor immediately.
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