ED is a common problem, but still, the reasons behind erectile problems are often poorly understood. The causes are often manifold, and there may be many factors at the same time, but at the end of the day, the problem is caused by the man not having enough blood in his erectile tissue. It is this blood, flowing to the penis, that usually gives a man an erection. Under normal circumstances, the widening of the arteries stops the blood flowing back out of the penis and the erection is maintained. Problems arise when the blood vessels carrying the blood away from the penis are not blocked and the blood flows away as soon as it has flown in. Sometimes the problem can be that the amount of blood flowing to the penis is not large enough, to begin with. In these cases, erection either is not achieved at all, or it only lasts for a very short time before fading away.
This is a more common problem than many might think. According to estimates, as many as 1 men in 10 suffers from at least a moderate level of erectile problems. Technically speaking, there are two different types of impotence. The primary type means you have been suffering from erectile dysfunction all your life and secondary type means that the erection used to work normally, but problems have arisen later in life. Studies have shown that one of the reasons for these later problems can be cycling.
There are several reasons as to why a person might suffer from erection problems. Some common causes are for example taking certain medications, chronic illnesses, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, or a generally poor blood flow to the penis. This last cause is where cyclists are at risk because of their hobby.
Why can cycling cause impotence?
The problem with cycling for men is the prolonged sitting on a bicycle saddle. This is because when you sit in the saddle, a lot of your body weight is on the perineum, the area between your penis and anus. This is where the arteries supplying blood to the penis are located and the prolonged pressure on these arteries can cause problems. It has been estimated that 4-25% of cyclists will feel numbness in the penis or problems with getting an erection after a race. The longer the race, the worse the effects will be. According to one study, 1 out of every 3 men whose jobs involved riding a bicycle had some level of erectile problems.
This is because a long-term pressure in the perineum area can have a negative effect on the blood flow to the penis, which can lead to temporary problems in achieving an erection. Most of the time these problems will go away in one or two weeks with an adequate amount of rest, but can sometimes last as long as eight months. It is also possible for the problem to become permanent if the tissues are repeatedly damaged and they are not given enough recovery time before the next bike ride. The good news, however, is that the reduced blood flow will cause pain, numbness or tingling in the perineum area long before any severe problems will develop. So as long as you remember to let yourself recover after feeling pain, you should be alright.
There is a solution
Even after reading all the different articles on how erectile dysfunction is caused by cycling, one might start getting worried. Have no fear, there are many solutions that could save you from receiving erectile dysfunction.
Bicycle saddle choice
Investing in the perfect saddle might be the solution to preventing erectile dysfunction. There are now different saddles that are especially designed with prevention of erectile dysfunction in mind. Below are three saddle designs that are perfect to loosen the pressure towards the crotch area. We recommend that you consult your shopkeeper before purchasing a saddle that will help prevent impotence.
Other ways you can avoid erectile dysfunction when cycling?
Other than changing your saddle there are other techniques which will lower your chances of erectile dysfunction.
- Size of the bike – having a shorter distance to the handlebars will result in a change in the pressure points.
- Taking small breaks, once in awhile – Every Time you start feeling numbness in the crotch reason, go off the bike and take a quick walk and take a sip of water, therefore your body will gently calm down so you can get back to cycling.
- Cycling attire – buying comfortable cycling shorts with a significant amount of padding will definitely decrease the numbness in the crotch area.
- The positioning of the saddle – be careful not to have your saddle too high up as it might negatively affect the nerves and vessels in your crotch area.
- The cycling posture – Sit comfortably and avoid leaning on the bike as you want the less amount of pressure on your penis.
- Rising – every 10 minutes rise from the saddle for around 30 seconds to allow fresh air to your crotch region.