For men, the health benefits of bicycling may involve a worrisome trade-off. According to urologist Des Moines Dr. Fawad Zafar, while bicycling burns calories and improves cardiovascular fitness, too many hours on a bicycle seat can compress the artery and vital nerves leading to the penis.

The result is a risk of numbness, pain, and even erectile dysfunction.

A male cyclist can place a significant amount of his weight on the area between the scrotum and the anus where the nerves and arteries to the penis pass. This pressure in combination with a narrow saddle seat can injure a man’s arteries and nerves.

Your urologist Des Moines reports that the earliest warning sign is numbness or tingling and that even a young man may lose the ability to achieve an erection. And those highest at risk for problems are men who cycle more than three hours a week.

Dr. Zafar urges men to sit upright when they ride and replace the traditional bicycle saddle with a “no-nose” seat. This type of seat redistributes a man’s weight to the sit bones of the buttocks. Serious-minded cyclists who typically tend to lean forward in a racing position when they ride claim that they need the nose type seat to achieve more power and control.

The evidence that riding a bicycle can be harmful to men is very persuasive, but your urologist Des Moines maintains that it should be kept in perspective. If a patient asks if he should stop riding his bicycle because of the danger of erectile dysfunction, he advises them that they have a 50% chance of developing and dying from heart disease, so their main concern should be exercise and diet, which are the two main components of fighting heart disease and ED.

Your urologist Des Moines wouldn’t advise anyone to give up cycling because of fear of erectile dysfunction (ED). If ED does result from cycling, it’s typically temporary and reversible. Other sources of ED, such as hypertension and diabetes tend to be fairly permanent. If problems do exist, they’re usually treatable with proper bike fit and seat selection.

A change in a patient’s riding style can also help reduce pressure. Standing on the pedals during long rides can prevent pressure and help reestablish blood flow. If you are suffering from the effects of ED or have questions regarding your health routines, call our office today to schedule an appointment.