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Male cyclists should regularly stand on pedals to avoid crushing private parts on the saddle, scientists say
- Researchers say it is ‘critical’ men avoid crushing private parts on the saddle
- There could be a link between numbness in that area and erectile dysfunction
- Scientists have described the best solutions including a ‘no nose’ bicycle seat
Keen cyclists have to contend with many hazards on the roads, but men may have more to worry about than keeping out of the way of traffic.
Male cyclists should consider standing on the pedals every ten minutes to avoid problems in the bedroom, scientists say.
Researchers warn it is ‘critical’ that men avoid crushing their private parts on the saddle because there could be a link between numbness in that area and erectile dysfunction.
After reviewing 22 studies on how men can avoid saddle soreness, they have described the best solutions, which include using a ‘no-nose’ bicycle seat without the narrower part at the front to redirect pressure from the genital area.
Male cyclists should consider standing on the pedals every ten minutes to avoid problems in the bedroom, scientists say
The review by Wroclaw Medical University in Poland, published in the journal Sports Medicine, notes common causes of genital numbness in male cyclists can also be poor riding technique and the wrong type of bike.
Dr Ippokratis Sarris, a consultant in reproductive medicine and director of King’s Fertility, said: ‘There is a suggestion that nerve damage from the pressure of cycling can cause loss of sensation and problems with erections, and cycling is linked to infertility, but much more research is needed.’
Kamil Litwinowicz, lead author from Wroclaw Medical University, said: ‘Many men struggle with discomfort when riding a bike and there are concerns this can lead to sexual problems.
‘However there is also strong evidence that being sedentary is linked to erectile dysfunction, so cycling as a form of activity could reduce that risk.
Researchers warn it is ‘critical’ that men avoid crushing their private parts on the saddle because there could be a link between numbness in that area and erectile dysfunction
‘We don’t want men to quit cycling, but instead to look at things like standing on the pedals or using a different saddle.’
Last year a scientific review of six studies found male cyclists had twice the odds of suffering erectile dysfunction, when taking into account age and potentially related illnesses.
A bicycle seat can put pressure on nerves and temporarily slow blood flow, causing tingling or numbness in the genitals and, eventually, erectile dysfunction.
However, although one study found 91 per cent of male cyclists suffer numbness in their private parts, the evidence on erectile dysfunction is mixed, with some studies finding it is not linked to cycling.
The new review looked at various designs of saddle, bike, shorts and handlebars for evidence on how they affected men’s genital area.
Researchers found no-nose saddles reduce pressure on the area.
One study of bicycle-riding policemen, where they were given no-nose saddles for six months, found 82 per cent reported a lack of numbness afterwards, compared to only 27 per cent beforehand.
The policemen also reported a reduction in symptoms of erectile dysfunction, although a no-nose saddle can make riding a bike more unstable.
The review looked at evidence from six studies on men sitting on bikes, finding this reduced blood flow to the penis, and blood pressure within it.
Standing was linked to higher blood flow and pressure, prompting the scientists to back the common advice for male cyclists to stand up on the pedals every 10 minutes as potentially ‘effective’ and easy to do.
But they warn that this is an arbitrary time period, so more evidence is needed on how often men need to stand on their pedals, and for how long.