Non-Impotence-Causing Bike Seats/Saddles

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on non-impotence-causing bike seats.

Non-impotence-causing bike seats
New bike seats
A cyclist comments
Recumbent Bicycles

Non-impotence-causing bike seats

It seems that there could be a need to develop softer cycle seats without a hard, narrow central ridge, to avoid compression of the nerves leading to the genitals, if the following complaint does indeed occur 'more commonly than is recognised.'

A long-distance cycle race had near disastrous results for a 27 year old man whose case was reported in the British Medical Journal. The man was suffering from secondary erectile impotence after taking part in a 200km cycle race five months previously. He was not used to cycling long distances and was forced to stop only 32 km into the race because of severe pain and an urgent need to urinate. On doing so he noticed that 'his penis was completely shrivelled and had lost all sensation.' The pain then subsided and he was able to finish the race despite further frequent stops.

After the race the man, who had previously enjoyed normal sexual function, suffered total loss of erections for three weeks as well as impaired penile sensation. Doctors at the local hospital concluded that the hard narrow saddle of the cycle had probably led to the compression of the nerves. Although only one other case of 'short-term erectile impotence' has been reported, they believe this condition to be a lot more common than is recognised.

'After the cycle race the man, who had previously enjoyed normal sexual function, suffered total loss of erections '

Three months later the cyclist had fully recovered.

Source: Summarised from an item in 'Which? way to Health'. 'Which? way to Health' (subs. from The Consumers' Association, PO Box 44, Hertford SG14 1SH).

New bike seats

In March 1998 Dr Irwin Goldstein, a Boston University urologist, released a study linking bicycling to impotence - either from continuous stress and constricted blood flow to the perineal area, or from blunt trauma injury resulting from a fall onto a seat or bar. While the second is relatively rare, the first causes initial numbness and can over time lead to permanent damage. It is important to watch for numbness and, if it occurs, see your doctor or urologist.

New bike seats have now been designed with this problem in mind. The new Body Geometry seat, designed by a physician - and retailing at about $40 from Specialized Bicycle Components Inc. - has a cut-out at the front which increases the wights on the rider's seat, taking the stress off the perineal area. The Terry Toaster saddle - originally designed for women - has a slot in the middle and sells for about $35 from Terry Precision Bicycles
They are just one manufacturer of these kind of seats and currently carry 15 for riders from performance, touring or recreatoinal.

Source: Summarised from an article by Scott Richards in the Seattle Times (13th Sep '98), monitored for the Institute by Roger Knights.

A cyclist comments

I'm an avid cyclist riding daily year round, and ride an HPV (a human powered vehicle), also called a recumbent bicycle. One sits in this vehicle in a sling-like seat, pedalling with your legs in front of you, using the back of the seat for resistance. One of my motivations for choosing such a vehicle was the information on penial-pressure which came out while I was looking to replace my previous (rusted) mountain bike. I used the Internet for my research and soon learned about recumbents. I highly recommend these innovative and extremely comfortable vehicles: for health and safety.
Source: Summarised from an e-mail to the Institute from Leslie Everett


Recumbent Bicycles

Recumbent Bicycles have been around since even before the turn of the century. In fact, in 1892, this recumbent cartoon made its way around the world of print while in 1895, the recumbent you see pictured above made it's presence at a bicycle show in Geneva, Switzerland.

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