There are a lot of people all over the world who enjoy riding a bike. Almost every person in the world knows that the exercise is both healthy and fun. Riding a bike is also pretty economic and it is an excellent way for a person to get around town. However, people should be aware that it is not all great when riding a bike is considered. When a person sits on the bicycle seat, he or she compresses the nerves and blood vessels of the particular area of the body known as the perineum. This area is located between the anus and the base of the penis or vagina, depending whether the rider is a man or a woman. If the perineum is compressed, a person may experience nerve damage, swelling, artery insufficiency and even blockage of blood vessels which can then lead to various other problems. Some of these problems are temporary or permanent groin numbness, tingling sensation, pain, decreased orgasm sensitivity and erectile dysfunction.
How common are cycling-related perineal symptoms?
In a certain study that included 40 male cyclists reported that penile blood supply seriously decreased in 70% of them. 61% of them reported that they experienced numbness in the genital area and 19% of the cyclist said that they experienced erectile dysfunction if they rode the bike for more than 250 miles in one week.
Another study that included 463 cyclists who participated in a long-distance event claimed that 31% of them complained of perineal numbness during the time they rode the bike. In addition to this, they experienced erectile dysfunction for one week after the event.
People should know that not all cyclists experience perineal numbness but it is a possibility if a person rides the bike for a long time.
The factors that cause perineal numbness symptoms
All the factors depend on the interaction between the perineum and the bicycle seat. Factors that play a role are vertical and sheer force of the perineum on the seat, the weight of the cyclist, the height and angle between the seat and the handlebars, saddle tilt angle and even the shape of the seat. Lots of people wonder whether a gel seat cover will reduce perineal symptoms and they should know that there is no evidence that such a seat helps.
Prevention of perineal symptoms
Standing up a lot during the rides helps taking the pressure off the perineum. A person should change the position on the seat during the ride in order to avoid pressure in just one part of the perineum. Wearing bike shorts if a person goes on long-distance rides is important. Making sure that the height of the handlebars is right is also important. A person should also limit the number of miles he or she passes during one week.