That’s the stark warning from consultant urological surgeon Mr Vinod Nargund from St Bartholomew’s and Homerton Hospitals, London, in the urology journal BJU International.
He says that the problems to look out for include genital numbness, erection problems and soreness and skin irritations in the groin area.
Men who cycle a lot can also experience changes to their sperm function, because of the excessive heat generated in the pelvic area. No general link between cycling and male infertility has been established, but it is still recognised as a possible side effect and has been noted in a number of male cyclists.
Regular cyclists also run a higher risk of testicular damage and impaired testicular function.
Mountain bikers run a particular risk, says Mr Nargund, as studies have shown that they exhibit higher levels of scrotal abnormalities than on-road cyclists.
“The bicycle saddle is in direct contact with the perineum and its underlying structures” he explains. “It makes contact just behind the scrotum where the nerves and blood vessels enter the back of the scrotum and penis.
“This area is sensitive, with hair follicles and sweat and sebaceous glands, which are all good breeding grounds for infection.
“Abrasions, chafing, damaged hair follicles and bruising are among the most traumatic cycling injuries. Sweating in this area can also cause soreness and skin problems.”
He points out that more than 60 per cent of male cyclists who have taken part in research studies have reported genital numbness.
“Numbness is common because the pressure of the saddle can impair the blood supply to this area and put pressure on the nerves in the penis” says Mr Nargund. “This can also affect the man’s ability to get an erection.
“There is a greater incidence of numbness and erectile problems in men who cycle regularly and over longer training distances. That is why it is important to rest intermittently during prolonged and vigorous cycling.”
Choosing the right bike is essential, stresses Mr Nargund.
“The male cyclist should know his bicycle well and a proper fit is particularly important for high-performance cycling” he says.
“The level of pedal resistance is also very important, because riding a bike using too much resistance is a major cause of health problems in the groin area.
“Cyclists can also help to ease saddle-related injuries or skin irritations by adjusting the saddle height and fore and aft position.
“Padding in the saddle and shorts are also important if cyclists want to avoid saddle-related problems.”
Mr Nargund’s comment piece has been published online on the BJU International website in advance of its hard copy publication later this year.
Annette Whibley | alfa
Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center
Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences