In erectile dysfunction, a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection that is firm and rigid enough to have sexual intercourse. When one is unable to achieve an erection occasionally, this should not cause a concern. When the inability to achieve an erection is repetitive, it is advisable to be seen by the doctor. Many factors can cause erectile dysfunction (impotence). This includes physical, emotional and psychological factors. The physical factors that may cause impotence include damage to the arteries, nerves, tissues and muscles that help one to be able to achieve an erection. Erectile dysfunction can also occur when one has an underlying condition and this includes diabetes, hypertension and kidney diseases.
Impotence and Cycling
Cycling is one of the ways that people use to exercise the body. Few hours of cycling are advisable because they help to improve the activity of the heart and burn calories in the body. However, when one spends too many hours on the saddle, the nerves that are located on the perineum can be affected.
This is because when one is seated on the saddle, the weight is exerted on the perineum. This is the area located between the anus and the scrotum. This is where the nerves that supply the penis pass through and these nerves help one to have sensations in the penis. The blood vessels that supply the penis are also located in the perineum and this can be damaged because of excessive cycling. These blood vessels supply the penis and help one to be able to achieve an erection.
Cycling has been associated with causing temporary erectile dysfunction but studies have not shown how long this can last. The risk of impotence in men who cycle more than three hours per week is increased.
Symptoms Of Impotence In Cyclists
- The earliest sign that one will notice is a tingling sensation around the perineum and this is caused by reduced blood flow.
- The cyclist will also have pain that may be caused by reduced blood flow to the perineum and excessive pressure being applied.
- The perineal area may also become numb because of reduced blood flow and the cyclist loses sensation on that area.
The people who cycle for long hours are advised to do the following in order to reduce the risk of getting erectile dysfunction:
- It is advisable to take breaks when taking a long ride. When one feels any pain, numbness or discomfort on the groin, it is advisable to stand on the pedals, stand and stretch the body. This will help to achieve normal sensations and then one can resume cycling.
- It is advisable to change positions frequently when cycling. This involves standing, moving backward and forward.
- When the seat of the bike is exerting excessive pressure on the perineum, it is advisable to adjust the seat and decrease the pressure points.
- It is advisable to use a seat that has a cutout and this will help to reduce the pressure that is exerted on the perineum. It is encouraged to avoid using a seat that is too padded. Most people prefer to use these seats because they are more comfortable. However, this will make the cyclist to sink more in the saddle. This will cause more pressure and numbness to be exerted on the perineum.
- The seat should be kept at a level or slightly angled. The saddle should never be tilted upward.
- It is encouraged to keep the handlebars slightly raised so that one is upright when seated.
- It is important to change positions when riding.
- It is advisable to use cycling shorts that have a comfortable pad.
- It is advisable to adjust the height of the saddle so that the knee rests at the bottom part of the pedal and it is slightly bent.
The Choice Of The Saddle
There are many saddles available and they help to reduce pressure in the soft tissues and the perineum. A study that was done showed that wider saddles are more preferred that the narrow saddles. This is because the narrow saddle interferes with the blood flow to the perineum and this is likely to cause numbness and tingling sensation. The study also showed that wider saddle allows the distribution of weight on the sit bones and this causes less pressure to be exerted on the perineum.
Bicycling has been shown to cause mild erectile dysfunction that may clear when treated. However, it does not show how long the symptoms of impotence can last. It is therefore important to avoid the problem before it occurs. It is advisable to keep changing position when cycling for long periods. It is also important to use a wider saddle as compared to a narrow saddle. It is advisable to see the doctor in case one has numbness, tingling sensation and pain at the perineum that is not clearing. This is because these symptoms may be an indicator of erectile dysfunction