Published studies have indicated that men who ride bicycles for 3 or more hours per week face an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Although bicycling has long been considered an excellent form of exercise, it's important that men take the proper precautions to ensure they are not putting their sexual health at risk. In this article we'll examine the reason why cycling can lead to problems such as impotence and discuss a few ways to help minimize the danger.
E.D. Linked to Standard Bicycle Seats
The main cause of the problem seems to lie in the construction of the traditional bicycle seat itself. Most common saddles feature a long protruding nose that extends outward from between the legs. Resting on this type of seat puts undue pressure on the perineum, the area located between the genital and anus, which can result in urogenital paresthesia and sexual dysfunction. The blood vessels, nerves and arteries that pass through the perineum are largely responsible for regulating sexual and erectile functioning.
Taking the Pressure Off
Reducing pressure on the perineum while biking is the key to alleviating the problem. One way of accomplishing this is to change the type of seat that is used. There are now a number of different seats that are designed for just this purpose.
This type of seat has the center portion cut out. This helps to take pressure off of the soft tissue areas and instead allows weight to be transferred to the bones.
Another bike seat variation is called the 'noseless' saddle. The ergonomical form of this seat is designed to remove pressure from the perineum. A recently published report by the Journal of Sexual Medicine involving a study of bicycle police officers has helped to confirm the effectiveness of this design:
"With few exceptions, bicycle police officers were able to effectively use no-nose saddles in their police work... Use of no-nose saddles reduced most perineal pressure... Penile health improved after 6 month using no-nose saddles as measured by biothesiometry and IIEF."
Additional Preventive Measures
Even if you're not ready to make the switch to a new seat, there are still a few things you can do to help improve seat comfort and prevent excessive pressure on the sensitive soft tissues.
- Ensure that your seat height is adjusted properly. If it is too high you will tend to shift your weight from side to side which can result in perineal irritation.
- Positioning the seat nose on a slightly downward forward angle will help to alleviate pressure on the soft tissues. Make sure not to tip it too far forward or you may experience lower back pain and hand numbness due to excessive weight on the wrists and hands.
- You may also want to try angling the seat either slightly left or right as opposed to aligning it directly forward.
- Be sure to stand up once in a while and adjust your riding position periodically.
- Always take a short break if you experience tingling or numbness.
You don't have to be Lance Armstrong to enjoy the many health benefits of bicycling. Besides being an excellent cardiovascular workout and muscle strengthener, bicycling is also just plain fun! Remember that while it's a good idea to exercise and stay in shape, always make sure you're not doing it at the expense of your sexual health.
Posted by PRS
Tuesday, August 26th, 2008