Bike Saddles, Erectile Dysfunction and a Potential Solution
Men who spend a significant amount of time cycling will often face an unexpected consequence – erectile dysfunction. The constant pressure on the pelvic nerves and penile area can cause serious problems. The Journal of Sexual Medicine recently published a report on the A, B, C’s of bicycle seats in an attempt to raise awareness on bicycle seats and provide patients with greater numbers of choices.
The article's author indicated that his study into bicycle seats and erectile health started when the editor of a biking magazine came to him seeking erectile dysfunction treatment. The long distance bicycling habits of the patients lead to permanent damage to the penile arteries, resulting in erectile dysfunction. Together, the editor and his doctor published a report on this common problem. The result was new "doctor-approved" saddles that had cutouts or slits designed to protect the genitalia. Yet, these saddles did not fix the problem.
"Bicycle riders though they were 'playing it safe' using one of these new saddles, but they continued to present to offices like mine after every fundraising bicycle ride hoping to be candidates for penile microvascular arterial bypass surgery to cure an erectile dysfunction problem. . . The fact is that the reduced surface area of the new saddles actually worsened the problem," he said.
Saddle Nose places damaging pressure on nerves and soft tissue
Further Study Found the Solution
As more and more men presented with erectile problems due to bike seats, researchers began to test different bike seat designs to find a solution. According to the report, traditional sport or racing saddles with nose extensions had over twice the amount of perineal pressure compared to saddles without a protruding nose.
Racing saddle long nose
Another study found that sitting in a traditional bike seat or a bike seat with a cutout for the genitals both produced the same amount of arterial blood flow problems.
Cutout doesn't help blood flow
However, blood flow problems stopped when the man sat in a noseless two-cheek saddle. In fact, the noseless saddle allowed for the same amount of blood flow as sitting in a chair.
What do these studies, and others, show? They show that the nose is the problem causing erectile issues for male cyclists.
Help Is Available for Seasoned Riders
So, noseless saddles can decrease the risk of developing erectile dysfunction, but can they help men who already have it from years of riding? In one landmark study of bike-riding police officers, researchers found the answer. After giving policemen who rode bikes a noseless saddle to use for six months, researchers found that sensation improved and erectile function also improved. This showed that changing the bike seat has the potential to change physiology for male cyclists.
BiSaddle "noseless" bike saddle eliminates pressure on nerves and soft tissue
Today, male cyclists have many choices when it comes to protecting their sexual health. "As clinicians," the article's author said, "we must firmly place those choices in the hands of our patients. However, it is our responsibility to provide the necessary information required by our patients to make those choices." One of those choices, and it's one that bears considering in light of the years of study presented in this article, is the noseless bike seat.