Cycling and Male Sexual and Urinary Function (written by Karl Monahan)

saddle soreness 2Is cycling bad for our bits and pieces? Can cycling cause issues with our sexual and urinary function? These key questions were asked in a recent study that was published by the Journal of Urology (see article here)

Participants were divided into 2 categories – 1.) Cyclists and 2.) Runners/swimmers. It was conducted via social media and outreach to sporting clubs. The results make for interesting reading and were not what I expected. 3,932 completed questionnaires were used. 1,158 were non cyclists (swimmers or runners.) 2,774 were cyclists (including high and low intensity cyclists.)

Results of the study

Swimmers and/or runners had no worse sexual or urinary function than cyclists! Cyclists however were more prone to urethral strictures. The study also indicated 2 factors that would reduce genital soreness and numbness in cyclists:

  • Increasing the duration of time standing
  • Raising the handle bars

Comments on the study

The results were very interesting. As a keen cyclist urinary and sexual function are factors I do consider myself. I have certainly felt perineal numbness as a result of cycling for long periods. As a therapist who treats male pelvic pain this is of great interest to my practice also. I see many patients who have had an increase in their symptoms from cycling.  Saddle Soreness is a genuine and real phenomenon that affects male and female cyclists. I do believe that there are many factors that would effect male sexual and urinary function from cycling. For example – duration, intensity, frequency, rest periods, stress and other health concerns to name a few.

We should hopefully see many more studies like this in the near future. UK cycling has seen an astronomical incline. MAMIL’s (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) are more widespread than ever. Having the right information about cycling and mens health is essential. Personally I would love to see more studies of this nature

Final Thoughts

Do you think there were fewer ‘reported’ cases of male sexual and urinary function because of its nature?! I am fully aware of how many of my patients find it too taboo to discuss with partners or friends. Women are great when  it comes to talking about aches and pains, including ‘pains down there.’ On the hole (no pun intended) men are rubbish when it comes to talking about health. Let alone sexual or urinary health/function. We would rather discuss the football than poor/weak erections. We would rather make jokes about our mates than discuss urinary frequency. In fact we probably have a nickname for our mate who does go to the toilet all the time…That is our nature (generally speaking of course.)


Karl Monahan is the director of The Pelvic Pain Clinic, London, solely dedicated to the treatment of male pelvic pain, including Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. As someone who has suffered with pelvic pain himself, Karl knows first hand what many of his patients go through. His empathetic approach and attention to detail ensures he offers an holistic  and contemporaneous approach to each patient.

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