Can Cycling Cause Erectile Dysfunction? Answers From a Doctor

Exploring the the impact of cycling on erectile function

Man riding a bicycle

In recent years, cycling has surged in popularity as a versatile and eco-friendly mode of transportation and exercise. However, as more people take to the roads and trails on two wheels, concerns have emerged about the potential link between cycling and erectile dysfunction. Is there any truth to the notion that spending too much time in the saddle can lead to problems in the bedroom?

In this article, we’ll ask our own Dr. Zvi Zuckerman to shed some light on this issue. So, can cycling cause erectile dysfunction?

Dr. Zuckerman: Riding a bicycle for several hours a day with a saddle that does not fit you well can lead to erectile dysfunction. The shape of the saddle might put a lot of pressure on the perineum (the area located between the testicular sack and the rectum). Continued pressure on the nerves in this area can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Nowadays many manufacturers are designing saddles meant to reduce the pressure on the perineum and lower the chances of erectile dysfunction.

It is important to mention that this kind of damage is not common and can only occur for riders who spend hours on a bicycle on an almost daily basis. Regarding bicycle accidents, in my experience I’m unaware of the genitals being at special risk of injury.

What does the research say?

A 2021 meta-analysis explored the possible connection between cycling and erectile dysfunction.The study aimed to explore the connection between cycling and erectile dysfunction (ED) by examining existing research.

The researchers analyzed several studies that met specific criteria, including having a validated measure for ED. They found that in an initial analysis, there were no significant differences in the likelihood of having ED or the average score on the International Index of Erectile Function (SHIM) between cyclists and non-cyclists.

However, when they accounted for factors like age and other health issues (comorbidities), cyclists had a significantly higher risk of experiencing ED, with a 2-fold increase in the odds compared to non-cyclists.

This suggests that there is some limited evidence supporting a link between cycling and ED, especially when considering the influence of age and other health conditions.

The study also indicates that further research is needed to explore this relationship, particularly in specific groups of cyclists who might be more susceptible to ED.

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