Cycling Doesn’t Actually Damage Sexual or Urinary Function

Good news! Cycling, while still revered as an excellent way to get around and improve heart health, has been seen as a risky practice for anybody with external reproductive organs (ouch). New, comprehensive research is now telling us that these fears may be mostly unfounded. While some people may be scared that hopping on a bike may hurt sexual function and urinary health, we can rest easy that the risks of cycling are low and the benefits are quite high.

Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco published a paper in The Journal of Urology recently, detailing their most recent findings. The largest comparative study of its kind on the topic of bicycling and sexual and urinary function. Participants belonged to three different athletic groups: swimmers, runners and cyclists. They completed a variety of questionnaires on sexual health, prostate symptoms, as well as questions related to urinary tract infections, genital numbness and “saddle sores.” Information was also gathered from the cyclists on the details of their bicycle (bike type, seat dimensions, padded clothing), ride intensity and frequency, and the type of surface on which they usually ride.

What they found was surprising: sexual and urinary health scores were comparable to the swimmer and runner groups (with just a few cyclists being more prone to urethral strictures). The high intensity cyclists actually reported lower incidences of erectile dysfunction than the low intensity group.

Riding a bike is different than running, in that there’s a seat for sitting, and so some cyclists did report having “saddle sores” or numbness, yet adjusting the bicycle handlebars to be higher than the seat and spending some time standing while riding reduced the frequency of these conditions.

“We believe the results will be encouraging for cyclists. Cycling provides tremendous cardiovascular benefits and is low impact on joints,” said lead investigator Benjamin Breyer, MD, MAS, of the UCSF Department of Urology. “We believe the health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far out weight health risks.”

It’s never too late to start cycling—even if you haven’t hopped on a bike since you were a kid. Not only is it a great way to commute around town, but leisurely rides through the park can provide mental clarity, fresh air and a great workout. There are great tips on getting started with the appropriate gear and the right way to train for regular cycling, which should be considered before getting started. Bike your way to better health!

Photo credit: Thinkstock

35 comments

Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

thanks

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John B
John Babout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Lesa D
Past Member about a year ago

that old wives' tale...

thank you Katie...

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a year ago

Thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy Babout a year ago

GOOD TO KNOW.

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Daniel N
Past Member about a year ago

Thank you

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Cathy B
Cathy Babout a year ago

Thank you for posting.

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Winn A
Winn Adamsabout a year ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn Adamsabout a year ago

Noted

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Bronwyn B
Bronwyn Babout a year ago

My husband bought me a leather seat which solved my discomfort : )

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