"Impotence & Cycling: The Unseen Danger"
(Upright) Bike Riding Induces Impotence! (3/09)
You may think that practicing a sport is beneficial for your health.
And it is.
Only that some sports can have surprising and contrary effects.
A research has discovered that riding a bike for long periods of time can induce temporary erectile difficulties, including impotence.
The highest risk is experienced by males who cycle at least three hours every week. The harmful effects are due to the fact that sitting on a bicycle seat for long periods exerts high pressure on a very sensitive area the perineum, between the genitals and the anus. This particular area is full of nerves and blood vessels and the pressure on them harms the nerves and temporarily impedes blood flow, causing tingling or numbness in the penis and, eventually, erectile dysfunction (impotence).
Not surprisingly, one research discovered that while a conventional bicycle provokes this severe even if temporary cutoff in blood flow to the penis, a recumbent bicycle did not, because the rider does not support himself on the perineum. But if a recumbent bike is not pleasant or recommendable for you, some precautions are necessary to avoid cycling-related erectile problems:
- Use padded biking shorts.
- Raise the handlebars changing your riding position to a relatively upright one. In this position, pressure passes from the perineum to the buttocks.
- Avoid narrow seats, install a wide, well-padded or gel-filled one, which decreases the pressure on the perineum.
- Seat position also decreases pressure: if it is so high that your legs must be fully extended at the bottom of your pedal stroke, the pressure on perineum is maximum; thus the seat must not be tilted up.
- During long rides, the position on the seat must be changed often and breaks are necessary.
- If a sensation of tingling or numbness is felt in the penis, riding the bike must be stopped for a week or two.
CBS 12/02: Bad News For Male Mountain Bikers
From "Bicycling" Magazine, 8/97, on upright bicycles,
this quote from Dr. Irwin Goldstein of Boston University Medical Center:
"Men should never ride bicycles," he says matter-of-factly. "Riding should be banned and outlawed. It's the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion."
Dr. Goldstein treats six men a week on average, whom, he says, have become impotent from riding a bicycle. Overall, this urologist estimates there are about 100,000 men who have lost the ability to get or maintain satisfactory erections because of penile damage inflicted by either the bike's top tube or its saddle.
"A Very Sore Sport"
From "Newsweek", August 25, 1997
Excercise helps keep a man sexually fit, but Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a Boston University impotency specialist, says that bicycling is one workout to avoid. When a man uses a standard bike seat, his weight flattens the main penile artery, temporarily occluding the blood flow required for erections. Goldstein believes that, over time, this pressure can permanently damage the vessel. He says he sees several patients a week with bicycle-induced sexual difficulties. One was Ed Pavelka of Bicycling magazine, who recounted in a recent article that years of marathon riding had left him "as soft as overcooked rigatoni" Several companies sell padded, oversized saddles intended to reduce the pressure of the perineum, but Goldstein advises men to stop riding altogether until a seat is proven safe. He said the ideal seat would 'look like a toilet seat."
CNN 6/98: Doctor says bike-riding can hurt a man's sex life