Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Male Cyclists Are Not at Greater Risk of Sexual or Prostate Problems, Study Finds

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Male Cyclists Are Not at Greater Risk of Sexual or Prostate Problems, Study Finds

Article excerpt

Cycling does not appear to harm men’s sexual or prostate health, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Urology.

This finding counters previous studies that have suggested male cyclists are at increased risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction (impotence) or prostate problems, such as a frequent urge to urinate.

The new study, which involved almost 4,000 male cyclists, swimmers and runners from five countries, did find that cyclists had a higher likelihood of developing urethral stricture (a narrowing of the tube carrying urine out of the body), which can cause problems with urination.

The cyclists were also, not surprisingly, more likely than swimmers and runners to report genital numbness or saddle sores.

But the risk of numbness and saddle sores could be greatly reduced by raising the handlebars and/or standing for 20 percent or more of the time while cycling, the study also found.

"We believe the results will be encouraging for cyclists,” said Dr. Benjamin Breyer, the study’s lead author and a urologist at the University of California-San Francisco, in a released statement. “Cycling provides tremendous cardiovascular benefits and is low impact on joints. We believe the health benefits enjoyed by cyclists who ride safely will far outweigh health risks."

The study's participants

For the study, Breyer and his colleagues analyzed detailed health and activity questionnaires completed by 3,932 physically active men aged 18 and older, who were recruited through Facebook and international cycling, swimming and running groups. The men included 2,774 cyclists, 539 swimmers and 789 runners, and came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The cyclists were divided into two groups: high-intensity cyclists (those who cycled three or more times a week and who averaged 25 or more miles a day) and low-intensity cyclists (those who did not meet that weekly benchmark). None of the swimmers and runners cycled.

Most of the participants — 88 percent — were white, and most were also married. In general, the cyclists were older than the swimmers and runners, but there was no significant difference between the three groups in average body mass index (BMI).

The study's key findings

After crunching all the data provided by the participants, the researchers found that the sexual and urinary health of the cyclists was similar to that of the non-cyclists, except for the slightly higher risk of urethral stricture among the cyclists and the reports of genital numbness and saddle sores. …

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