Which man doesn’t like cycling? Cycling is not only a very enjoyable and sociable sport, it is also associated with with being ‘cool’, and an ‘in’ thing to do.
Just look at international cycling events such as the Tour de France which has an enormous worldwide following. This bicycling sporting event has also spawned a multi-million dollar industry.
The Dangers Of Cycling
Of course, as with any sport, there are dangers and injuries to be aware of. And additionally, health consequences to contend with. Now, when we speak of these, we would think of obvious injuries like falls from the bicycle and consequently sustaining head and bodily injuries, or being hit by other vehicles.
The Connection: Cycling And Erectile Dysfunction
However, there is a rare triad of injuries from cycling. Which affect…men. And this is rarely discussed, let alone known about. These injuries include erectile dysfunction (or male impotence), penile numbness and pain in the pelvic region.
There is a scientific and physiological explanation as to how this trio of male dysfunction are linked:
The pudendal arteries, which are located beneath the pubic bone, supply blood to the penis. And it is this location which is the culprit where men are concerned.
Sitting for lengthy periods on the bicycle saddle , a narrow and hard surface, does men a big disservice. The bicycle saddle compresses the nearby blood vessels, which action hampers smooth blood flow. This only serves to reduce* the oxygen supply to the nerves, thus injuring them.
First Symptoms Of Nerve Injury
Most men will feel a sporadic tingling in the area which is really the first sign of nerve injury. However, because this tingling is usually not particularly bothersome, it is almost always ignored. This early stage of nerve injury is usually always reversible. So men, do take note!
When Erectile Dysfunction Rears Its Head
In certain cases, the continual pressure on surrounding arteries can lead to more severe nerve damage. These damages may present themselves as erectile dysfunction (male impotence), numbness and pain in the pelvic and penile area.
At this stage, the damage done to the nerves is already difficult to reverse. In the 2002 edition of The Journal of Andrology, they posted the results of a test:
91% of police office who moved around an average of 5 hours for work duties riding a bicycle experienced intermittent numbness in the groin/penile area. They also had fewer night-time erections (another symptom of nerve damage) compared to their non-cycling work colleagues.
The study concluded that men who rode on bicycles more often, and for lengthier periods of time, were more prone to nerve damage in the groin/penile area, with the associated consequences.
The question to ask is what percentage of men actually suffer erectile dysfunction as a direct result of bicycling, sitting on a narrow, hard bicycle saddle.
Other experimental results presented conflicting information: In 2004, The Journal of Urology surveyed 688 cyclists via the internet. They reported a 17% incidence of erectile dysfunction in the group. This result is the norm of that in the general population.
Yet other experiments found that men who cycle more than 3 hours a week increased their risks and predisposition to erectile dysfunction.
How To Prevent Erectile Dysfunction From Cycling?
How may men who love cycling, and not wanting to give it up, reduce* their risks of erectile dysfunction?
Happily, there are 6 ways to do this. Ergonomic changes are effective, and they can help reduce* pressure beneath the pubic bone. Such changes help reduce* blood vessel compression:
- 1. Make a professional assessment of your bicycle and the fit of your saddle. Have your specialist adjust your saddle so that the pressure points fall on the sitting bones (ischial tuberosities) and NOT on the pubic bone.
- 2. Get your specialist to adjust your bicycle saddle so that it is parallel to the ground. Another (better) adjustment would be to tilt the saddle ever so slightly downwards. Make sure it never tilts upwards.
- 3. You can use a saddle with a wider seat and with more padding to give additional support to diminish* pressure on the nerves.
- 4. A blunt, noseless saddle is a good option. Such a saddle significantly reduces* the pressure on the point-of-contact with the pudendal arteries. An experiment reported encouraging results from the use of such a saddle: Perineal tingling reduced* an astonishing 60% from 78% to 18%! This is worth taking into account.
- 5. Men would be wise to wear professional padded cycling shorts for added protection from nerve damage.
- 6. It is advisable to reduce* the time spent crouched over the bicycle’s racing bars. Such a forward-flexed position increases* the compression of blood vessels.
Prevention Is Always Better Than The Cure*
At the end of the day, there will always be a percentage of men who will scoff at the information in this article. These are men who probably have cycled for years and who have experienced no erectile dysfunction at all.
Also, men are different from women. Women share easily; men don’t. Many men who cycle regularly would not openly admit that they suffer from erectile dysfunction. Or they may not even be aware that their frequent jaunts on the bicycle saddle may have a connection to their condition. However, prevention is still better than the cure* – any time.
Men who cycle regularly should be aware, or be made aware, of the link between pudendal artery compression and erectile dysfunction. And to take preventive measures.
They should educate themselves and learn of the symptoms. Most importantly, the symptoms should not be ignored as something not serious. After all, it is their manhood which is at stake!
Tingling and numbness in the penis and/or perineum, even not persistent, is a warning sign from the intelligence of their bodies of nerve damage.
These first signs, if not addressed, can easily compound leading to erectile dysfunction, and other more serious complications.
Visit your urologist quickly should a bout of tingling and numbness persist after a prolonged duration on your bicycle.
If you are a man and you enjoy cycling regularly, make use of the 6 ergonomic solutions listed above. They may help you and your manhood no end to prevent erectile dysfunction. Failure to do so may lead to more serious, or even, irreversible health issues.
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