Health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far out weight health risks.
Washington: Turns out, cycling doesn't knacker your knackers.
In a new report, researchers found that contrary to some previous studies, neither recreational nor intense cycling appear to have a negative impact on men's sexual and urinary function.
"This is the largest comparative study to date, exploring the associations of cycling, bike and road characteristics with sexual and urinary function using validated questionnaires", explained lead investigator Benjamin Breyer from the University of California-San Francisco.
Breyer noted that the results will be encouraging for cyclists. "Cycling provides tremendous cardiovascular benefits and is low impact on joints. We believe the health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far out weight health risks."
In this multinational study a cross-section of three athletic groups - cyclists, swimmers, and runners - was surveyed using Facebook ads and outreach to sporting clubs for athletes. Participants included 2,774 cyclists, 539 swimmers, and 789 runners.
Participants completed validated questionnaires, including the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM), International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS), and National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI), as well as questions about urinary tract infections (UTIs), urethral strictures, genital numbness, and saddle sores.
In addition to the comparisons between similar athletic activities with and without perineal pressure, the researchers examined how cycling intensity, bicycle configuration, and even road conditions might impact sexual and urinary functions.
In general, when compared to swimmers and runners, cyclists' sexual and urinary health was comparable, although some cyclists were more prone to urethral strictures. Interestingly, high intensity cyclists had overall better erectile function scores than low intensity cyclists.
Neither bicycle nor road characteristics appeared to have a negative impact on cyclists. Standing more than 20 percent of the time while cycling, significantly reduced the odds of genital numbness. Adjusting handlebar height lower than the saddle height did increase the likelihood of genital numbness and saddle sores.
"The comparison across athletes sampled in a similar way with validated instruments is what this study adds to the literature," said Breyer. "We're looking more closely at those who reported numbness to see if this is a predictor for future problems."
The research appears in the Journal of Urology.