Sex Problems Common in Cyclists

Boston University Medical School urologist Irwin Goldstein caused a stir in the cycling community when he declared, “There are only two kinds of male cyclists: those who are impotent and those who will be impotent.” A review of literature led by Caner Baran from Tulane University confirmed Dr. Goldstein’s opinion. Cycling caused injuries to the urogenital system in men and women. Up to 91 percent of cyclists experience genital numbness after rides lasting several hours. Nearly 25 percent of cyclists suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), an incidence four times greater than age-matched runners or swimmers. Cyclists also have an increased risk of priapism (prolonged, unwanted erections), blood clots in the penis, low sperm counts, hemoglobin in the urine, stress on the spermatic cord, inflammation of the prostate gland and elevation of PSA test results (a marker of prostate enlargement and cancer). Increased pelvic stress during cycling decreases circulation, compresses nerves and interferes with the metabolism of cells lining the blood vessels that supply the penis. People who ride a bike three hours a week or more have the greatest risk of developing nerve and circulation problems in their urogenital organs. Improved saddle design might reduce the problem. (Sexual Medicine Reviews, 2: 93-101, 2014)

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