Cycling Does Not Diminish Sexual Function According To New Study


Good news for men who enjoy cycling. A recent study published in the Journal of Urology indicates that, contrary to earlier studies, cycling does not seem to negatively affect a man’s urinary or sexual function.

“This is the largest comparative study to date, exploring the associations of cycling, bike and road characteristics with sexual and urinary function using validated questionnaires,” explained lead researcher Benjamin Breyer, M.D., MAS, Department of Urology, University of California-San Francisco. “We believe the health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far out weigh health risks.”

Some small, earlier studies suggested cycling diminished erectile function owed, it was theorized, to prolonged perineal pressure and micro-trauma. However, these studies did not use validated measures, or involve comparison groups.

The recent multi-national study involved 2,774 cyclists, 539 swimmers, and 789 runners. Each participant completed validated questionnaires, including the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM), International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS), and the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptoms Index (NIH-CPSI).

Participants also answered questions about urethral strictures, urinary tract infections (UTIs), genital numbness, and saddle sores.

The cyclists were divided into a high intensity group* and a low intensity group, and were asked about their bike and saddle types, saddle angle, use of padded shorts, handlebar height, time spent standing out of the saddle, and the surface they typically rode on.

The researchers found it interesting that overall, high intensity cyclists had better erectile function scores than the low intensity group. However, the sexual and urinary health of both cycling groups were generally equivalent to runners and swimmers.

Bicycle and road characteristics did not seem to negatively affect the cyclists, though standing more than 20 percent of the time substantially reduced the chances for genital numbness. Having the handlebar height lower than the saddle increased the risk of genital numbness, and saddle sores.

“The comparison across athletes sampled in a similar way with validated instruments is what this study adds to the literature,” said Dr. Breyer.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Tejvan Pettinger

*The high intensity group cycled for more than two years, more than three times per week, and averaged above 25 miles per day.


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