Cycling is one of the best exercises for a man, helping to keep his heart healthy and his muscles taut and toned. But for many, cycling can be accompanied by penis pain – and can have a significant impact on a man’s penis health. This doesn’t mean that a man should abandon cycling, but it does mean he may need to take steps to prevent penis pain from occurring and to treat it when it does occur.
There can be several kinds of penis symptoms associated with cycling, such as pain caused by slipping onto the crossbar or from tight, sweaty cycling shorts that bunch up uncomfortably in the crotch. But the most common form is a numbness that occurs in the region, In one study, 61% of bikers complained of this numbness; further, 19% of bikers who rode 250 or more miles per week also experienced some form of erectile dysfunction linked to this numbness. Other common complaints which seem to be related to this issue are pain while urinating and pain after intercourse.
It’s the perineum.
Most researchers believe that the cause of this cycling-related numbness is damage to the perineum. The perineum is the area between the anus and the penis. This is an area that contains a large number of blood vessels and nerve endings.
In the course of a normal day, the perineum doesn’t usually receive a significant amount of pressure. However, when cycling, the perineum finds itself pressed hard against the saddle of the bike, and on the receiving end of all the upper body’s weight. All of this weight causes substantial compression, which is further exacerbated by the tight shorts typically worn by dedicated cyclists.
With all this pressure being focused in one area, it’s easy to see how damage could result. Nerves can be affected, blood vessels can be blocked and blood flow can be impeded. When that happens, numbness can occur. Further, the decrease in blood flow capability can cause both erectile issues and a decrease in penis sensitivity.
There are three big steps a man can take to help reduce pressure on the perineum while biking.
– Change the seat. This is generally felt to be the most important step one can take. Ergonomically-designed bike seats have become common in recent years; many of them are designed specifically to take some of the pressure off the perineum and transfer it to the bones associated with sitting. Noseless saddles especially seem to produce a positive benefit in this regard.
– Alter the position of the seat. In addition to changing out the seat, attention should be paid to how the seat is positioned. Positioning the height and angle of the seat so that there is a slight bend to the knee when the pedal is in the lowest position is thought to help shift pressure off the perineum.
– Consider changes in the training schedule. Sometimes a man may need to take a short hiatus from cycling to prevent numbness issues from occurring. Alternatively, he may opt to alter the length of rides or to interrupt a ride with rest breaks.
Often therapy is required to help treat this penis pain. A physical therapist, massage therapist or sports medicine professional who is versed in active release therapy should be able to provide assistance.