Study Disputes Previous Findings That Cycling Damages Men's Sexual Health
Contrary to previous studies and medical opinions, new research has been conducted that debunks established beliefs that cycling damages men's sexual health. Here, we will examine some of the sexual performance and health-induced maladies cycling was thought to have contributed to, the new research that challenges these opinions and methods cyclists can employ to ensure all necessary precautions are taken to prevent any injury to sexual organs when engaging in that particular physical activity.
Why Researchers Believed Cycling Damages Men's Sexual Health
Medical researchers who believe cycling is detrimental to a man's sexual organs and performance trace the genesis of all related problems to a bicycle's seat. In order to perform the activity of cycling, one must sit firmly and securely on a relatively small and oddly shaped structure. When seated atop a bicycle seat for extended periods of time, a man's entire body weight is supported by the buttocks region. Eventually, this repetitive pressure is thought to put an increased level of tension upon the nerves and blood vessels located within this region. This phenomenon was thought to potentially cause several sexual health and performance-threatening occurrences such as:
Prolonged participation in bicycle riding was said to precipitate numbness in the penis. In some cases, scientists opined this condition might eventually result in or contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction.
There are those researchers who claimed cycling may precipitate prostatitis, which is an inflammation of the prostate. An inflamed prostate can elicit manifestations such as back pain, painful urination and urinary problems but might also bring about sexual symptoms like pain in various sexual organs, post-ejaculatory discomfort and erectile dysfunction.
Studies Supporting These Theories
Over the past decade and a half, two major studies supporting these hypotheses have been conducted. One was undertaken by a group of Norwegian scientists who studied the health of more than 300 men who partook in a long-distance cycling event. Roughly 20 percent of the test subjects experienced temporary penile numbness lasting anywhere from several days to more than a week. The Scandinavian examiners also discovered that 13 percent of these subjects were stricken with erectile dysfunction that continued for at least one week.
Another study was performed by researchers representing the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an American governmental health agency. These scientists examined 17 members of a Cincinnati, Ohio-based police motorcycle patrol unit. The officers studied spent at least five and a half hours of their shifts glued to their bikes patrolling the city's streets. NIOSH discovered that the vast majority of these subjects reported transient numbness in their genital region. Not surprisingly, the officers who spent the most time riding witnessed the more severe manifestations.
Refuting This Evidence
Despite the previous findings, new research has concluded that cycling has little, if any, bearing on a man's sexual health and performance. The findings of this latest study, which was conducted by researchers representing the University of California at San Francisco and was subsequently printed in a fairly recent edition of The Urology Journal, followed the exploits of nearly 2,800 cyclists.
Researchers took several factors into consideration including how often the cyclists rode, the distance each subject usually traveled during their cycling expeditions, the type of clothing worn during this exercise, the kind of saddle each one used, the saddle angle they rode at and the surface they traveled on. In addition, researchers further classified test subjects according to how rigorous their expeditions were. Men who rode at least three times per week for 25 miles or more were labeled as "high-intensity" subjects, while those who did not meet such stringent criteria were classified as "low-intensity" subjects.
Research concluded that the cyclists displayed the same sexual health and performance levels as those who did not engage in such physical activity. In fact, the high-intensity performers were found to have more solid erectile function than those in the low-intensity category.
Who Should Avid Cyclists Believe?
Many medical professionals believe that the overall health and bodily aesthetic-enhancing attributes of cycling far outweigh the risks of developing any potential sexual health or performance-inducing issues. That said, avid cyclists who experience some type of sexual problem or manifestation that lasts longer than a week or two are advised to bring these concerns to the attention of their family doctor or a urologist. There is a good chance that these symptoms are caused by other internal or psychological issues and either of these medical professionals can perform a thorough physical examination and, should the need arise, administer tests that could help them better determine what such causative factors might be.
Cyclists who may still be worried about maintaining optimal sexual health can employ certain safety measures designed to provide added peace of mind. These safeguards include using a wider bicycle seat with adequate padding, wearing padded cycling pants designed to provide extra protection for a man's nether regions, shifting position as often as possible while in motion, taking frequent breaks to allow impacted muscles and nerves needed recuperation periods and raising the cycle's handlebars to ensure good posture is maintained at all times.