Although this year’s exceptionally harsh winter weather is still a factor, the end may finally be in sight, and many cycling enthusiasts are looking forward to getting back on the road. The roads are still icy in many areas, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the coming season, and part of every cyclist’s planning should include attention to the effects of riding on their bodies. For men, in particular, cycling more than 3 hours per week has been found to have a substantial effect on erectile health – and men of all ages may be affected. Fortunately, this problem is reversible if it is treated correctly, and with a few adjustments to a man’s technique and equipment, it may be possible to avoid it altogether. The cause for loss of penis function, as well as some hints for penis care for cyclists, are discussed here.
How does cycling affect penis function?
Getting an erection and maintaining it long enough to complete the act of intercourse requires nerve signals from the brain to travel along the neural pathways to the erectile tissue; these signals direct the blood vessels leading into the penis to expand, allowing increased blood flow to the area. As the blood rushes into the erectile chambers, the spongy tissue inside them expands, preventing the blood from leaving the area, and an erection occurs.
Sitting in a bicycle saddle places an enormous amount of pressure on the perianal area; because the artery and nerves that serve the penile tissue run directly through this area, they are subject to this pressure, and they can easily sustain damage that prevents both nerve signals and blood from reaching the area. Men who spend hours cycling every week often experience numbness and tingling in the penis, and they frequently report loss of erectile function.
Can this condition be treated?
Erectile dysfunction related to bicycle seats may be reversible if it is treated correctly. In many cases, surgery may be required to repair the damaged tissue; this surgery has a significant success rate.
How can men avoid cycling-related loss of function?
Doctors and fitness experts often advocate the use of a specially-designed no-nose bicycle seat. This design eliminates the pressure to the perianal area, substantially lowering the risk of erectile issues. For men who cycle for recreation, the no-nose seat can be a good alternative. For men who ride competitively, this option may not be feasible, because the “nose” portion of the seat may affect power and balance in the racing position. In this case, adjusting the seat position or the position of the handle bars may help to reduce some of the pressure to the area. In addition, men may benefit from standing in the pedals whenever possible to relieve the pressure and restore blood flow