Cycling does not increase the risk of infertility or erectile dysfunction in men, a team of British researchers reveal. However, they found a direct link between cycling at middle age and prostate cancer.
Nearly 5,300 cyclists, part of the Cycling for Health UK Study, were included in the study. Dr Mark Hamer and colleagues from the University College London collected information about the prevalence of erectile dysfunction among the participants in the last five years. They also checked whether the men had been diagnosed with either prostate cancer or infertility after they started regular cycling.
Results showed no link between erectile dysfunction or infertility in men and cycling for more than eight hours a week.
"This is good news for male cyclists, there is no association between cycling time and erectile dysfunction and infertility," study author Dr Hamer, of the Department of Epidemiology at UCL, told The Telegraph.
However, riding bikes even 30 minutes a day doubled the risk of prostate cancer in men aged above 50 years. The risk was six times higher for men, who reported spending about eight hours and 45 minutes for their favorite sport.
Findings of the study have been reported in the Journal of Men's Health.
Countless studies in the past have exposed severe sexual problems associated with riding cycle regularly. There also exists enough evidence to prove that the excessive heat produced in the pelvic area can change sperm function and cause damages to the testicles.
A study appeared in BJU International earlier cautioned mountain bikers about scrotal abnormalities. "The bicycle saddle is in direct contact with the perineum and its underlying structures," consultant urological surgeon Vinod Nargund from St Bartholomew's and Homerton Hospitals, London, said in 2008. "It makes contact just behind the scrotum where the nerves and blood vessels enter the back of the scrotum and penis. This area is sensitive, with hair follicles and sweat and sebaceous glands, which are all good breeding grounds for infection."
The other problems he pointed out included genital numbness, soreness and skin irritations in groin area.
Health experts have also released similar warnings associated with spending too many hours on bicycle saddles. Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of San Diego Sexual Medicine, told WebMD that cycling pressurizes blood vessels and vital nerves surrounding penis, further causing pain, numbness and erectile dysfunction. According to The Massachusetts Male Aging Study, cycling for even three hours a week can pose health risk to men, WebMD reported.