Male cyclists can rest easy, as scientists have debunked criticism saying that extensive use of a bicycle is linked to erectile dysfunction.
A study published late last year revealed that sexual and urinary health is not adversely impacted by cycling, especially when compared to swimming and running, Newsweek reports.
Benjamin Breyer, co-author of the October study and urologist of the University of California-San Francisco, said,
We believe the results will be encouraging for cyclists. Cycling provides tremendous cardiovascular benefits and is low impact on joints.
The researchers conducted a multinational study of 2,774 cyclists, 539 swimmers and 789 runners, asking them to answer questionnaires on sexual health, prostate symptoms, and chronic prostatitis symptoms, urinary tract infections, urethral strictures, genital numbness and saddle sores.
Breyer stated that this is the largest comparative study so far that looked at multiple factors using scientifically validated questionnaires. Participants were asked to answer various questions on their cycling habits, such as cycling intensity and saddle type.
There were two groups of cyclists, one of which rode their bicycles more than three times a week for more than two years, averaging 25 miles a day, and others who did not meet those standards.
The criticism was that prolonged perineal pressure – pressure on the part of the body between the genitals and anus – results in negative health.
But Breyer said this lacks evidence. “We believe the health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far outweigh health risks.” The study found that cyclists actually had the same sexual and urinary health to swimmers and runners.
However, some cyclists were more prone to urethral strictures, which happens when the tube that carries urine from the bladder out the body constricts.
On the other hand, cyclists who had higher intensity activities actually had better erectile function.
All of these now adds new information on the scientific data available regarding cyclists’ sexual health – and it’s a good thing, the scientists report.
The study was published in the Journal of Urology.