Cycling and Impotence
Does cycling cause impotence and erectile dysfunction? Before you freak out… studies have shown that cycling can decrease impotence as well as increase it depending on a few factors.
Lowest risk for Impotence
If you cycle for less than 3 hours a week it is likely that you are decreasing your chances of impotence much more than you are increasing it.
Moderate Risk for Impotence
Anyone cycling over 3 hours a week should take as many steps as they possibly can (listed below) in order to decrease their risk.
Highest Risk for Impotence
Anyone sitting on their couch instead of cycling because they read this article and were afraid to continue biking. Smokers and obese people are also at a very high risk for erectile disfunction.
Why Can Cycling Increase the Risk of Impotence?
Studies (such as Massachusetts Male Aging Study) show that prolonged pressure on the perineum while cycling can increase the chances of impotence. The prolonged pressure on the perineum can damage nerves and blood vessels responsible for an erection and the damage could become permanent if the nerves and vessels are continually damaged without adequate recovery.
Symptoms of Impotence
There are early warning signs for impotence caused by cycling. Almost all cyclists will have either numbness, pain or tingling before there is a serious case of erectile disfunction. If you are experiencing these symptoms it is time to take an active role in preventative measures. If you are not experiencing any of these symptoms then get back out there and keep cycling.
Factors That Increase the Chance of Impotence Cycling
- Improper Bike Fit – Want to save $250 on a bike fit only to pay excessive amounts for viagra? Don’t risk it… get a proper bike fit, especially if you are a serious cyclist.
- Saddle – Some saddles put a lot of pressure on the perineum. Make sure you find the right one. If things go numb… it is past time to find a new saddle.
- Weight – A heavier cyclist will put more pressure on the perineum than a light cyclist.
Factors That Decrease the Chance of Impotence Cycling
- Intensity – If you are pedalling hard then more of your body weight is on the pedals and consequently less is on the perineum.
- Change position – Cycling in the exact same position hour after hour is not good. Change it up. (Mountain biking you automatically do this, road biking sometimes, but if you do a lot of time trials on a TT bike it is very important to keep this factor in mind)
- Stand up – Stretch out once in a while, allow some blood to flow, stand up and cycle for a change.
- Proper bike fit – Saddle height, body position, handle bar position and saddle angle all play a major role in impotence while cycling.
- Less saddle cushion – Too much cushion is actually bad, it can put pressure in the wrong areas.
- Proper bike shorts – Bike shorts that fit properly with some padding are a good idea.
- Saddle – There are saddles with a hole/cutout in the perineum area to reduce pressure in the more important areas.
Moral of the Story
If you don’t have any symptoms of numbness, pain or tingling then stop worrying about the impotence risks. If you are experiencing these symptoms follow the steps listed above. If you choose to stop cycling due to fear of impotence it is likely that you will increase your chances more than decrease them unless you are able to substitute cycling with another activity.