A report from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study shows that cycling more than three hours a week increases a man’s risk for becoming impotent, while cycling less than that decreases risk. Impotence is caused by nerve and artery damage. Exercising regularly helps to keep arteries healthy, so bicycling helps prevent impotence, as long as it does not damage arteries and nerves. Three percent of regular male bicycle riders become impotent and virtually all feel pain or numbness when they ride.
If you feel no discomfort when you ride, keep on riding and stop worrying. If you feel numbness, get a new seat. When a nerve is pinched or the blood supply is shut off to the penis, a man always feel numbness. Men who ride with conventional bicycle seats and do not feel numb are not at risk. Half of the penis is inside the body and the main blood supply comes from the area just behind the scrotum and in front of the rectum. So bicycle seats that press on that area can cause impotence, while those that do not have a nose and have a widened area for pressure on the sitz bones should not cause impotence.
Racers need to have a bicycle seat nose between their legs to help control the bicycle with their legs, but if you have no need to ride with both hands off the handle bars at the same time, you should be able to use a noseless seat, and enjoy cycling without discomfort or impotence,. I use a seat that has no nose and is wide enough to allow me to sit on the sitz bones of my pelvis. I never suffer numbness and don’t worry about impotence.
For information on the “noseless” bicycle seat see http://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/8733.html
Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com
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