Don’t Let Perineum Pain Stop You From Cycling Here’s How to Prevent It

Carbon fiber bike seat

Regular cycling has been touted as a great way to improve your health and reduce your carbon footprint if you choose to occasionally bike to places instead of driving your car. But that’s not the whole story: in numerous studies it has been found that the wrong bicycle saddles can actually lead to severe health problems in the reproductive organs of both men and women, but especially for men. Choosing from types of comfortable bike seats, and having the seat and handlebars at an appropriate height can alleviate most problems. Here’s what you’ll need to know.

Taking Care of Your Nerves and Blood Vessels Down There.

There are twice as many bicycles in the U.S. as cars, sitting at about 1 billion actually. It’s also been reported by many states that more adults are choosing to commute to work by bike, to the effect of a 46% increase since 2005. While it is usually endurance athletes are the first group who will experience pain or numbness in their perineum first, it can also happen to more casual users.

The Pudendal Nerve: What’s Causing Problems For Male Cyclists.

The pudendal nerve is located in the pudendal canal in a man’s pelvis, along with a cluster of other nerve endings such as the sciatic nerve and the beginnings of the dorsal nerve in what is called the sacral spinal nerves. A problem with one of these can cause a chain reaction which effects the others. Some common problems include: pain in the penis; erectile disfunction; perineum pain; pain while urinating; as well as pain after sex.

The reason male cyclists experience these issues is because of the way a bike is designed. In one article by the New York Times, one Dr. Schrader measured the pressure the average cyclist experiences on their perineum during a ride. Depending on the height of the handlebars and seat, a man might experience between 20 to 40% of his total body weight on his perineum, which as a reminder is a soft area filled with delicate blood vessels and nerves.

The Types of Comfortable Bike Seats That Will Protect Your Perineum.

There is no one specific seat out of all the types of comfortable bike seats that will automatically protect every male cyclist’s perineum. The reason why is that every man’s body is slightly different, so one seat might be a good fit for one cyclist but uncomfortable for another man. The answer to this is to try out as many seats as possible to find the right one.

This process can be done online, but it is better to go to a large bike store to look over their types of comfortable bike seats. This process requires a lot of sitting, and might actually give some guidance on the proper height for the seat as well. Another point to check with adjustments is the height of the handlebars. Leaning farther forward takes some of the pressure off the perineum, as there are three points of connection between the bike and the rider: the feet, perineum, and hands.

The Odd-Looking Solution For Some Riders.

Now, while there is no one seat that will solve every rider’s problems, there is one that has quite a bit of popularity. It’s known as the no-nose seat, and these are made by many different bike companies. The idea is that the seat is missing a strip of the “nose” down the middle, right where the most pressure is exerted on the rider’s perineum which, when removed has been found to alleviate a good percentage of that pressure. Some doctors and riders love these seats, and some dislike them. It is necessary to try this seat out to know for sure.

If a rider ignores the pain and side effects of having their pudendal nerve compressed, the consequences are a worsening of their symptoms, with a high risk of further complications. They can, and may be advised to, take some time off riding. This is a short-term solution. The problem will come right back when they begin riding again. A new seat can be a solution for many riders, but one type does not suit all.

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July 2024
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