Impotence and cycling
Does cycling harm your bedroom?
HOW TO MAKE A BIKE SEAT SOFT (SE SEAT, MAFIA SEAT AND LH SEAT!) (EDIT 23)
In September 1997, Ed Pavelka, a columnist for Bicycling magazine, made a sensational confession: he was diagnosed with impotence as a result of frequent cycling. He wrote then in his column: “. tests showed that the blood supply to my penis became so limited that I was unable to induce an erection sufficient for normal sexual intercourse.”.
Ed Pevelka’s confession that cycling was the cause of his problem was soon confirmed by doctors. Irwin Goldstein, MD, an erectile dysfunction specialist at Boston University Medical Center, has been widely quoted in the press as saying that all male cyclists are at risk of erectile dysfunction and should consider stopping the sport if they want to. continue to enjoy sex life.
Goldstein, whose patients included many cyclists suffering from sexual dysfunction, conducted a study at Boston University Medical Center to investigate the relationship. His 1997 study found that cyclists were more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than non-cycling athletes. Cyclists complained of erectile dysfunction, numbness in the groin and penis, and urinary problems.
But what was it about cycling that led to impotence? Goldstein’s study failed to find a cause, but another study from the University of California at San Diego offered an explanation. It was run in partnership with Serfas, a cycling accessories manufacturer in Lake Forest. As a result, it was discovered that the reason was not the cycling itself, but the bike seats.
Tim Roddy, MD, a urologist in Edmonds, Wash Bay, agrees that the pressure from sitting on a bicycle seat can be problematic: “A man can transmit some of the vital arteries and nerves necessary for normal sexual function by conducting too much time on a hard bicycle seat “.
Cycling accessories manufacturer Serfas undertook to design a seat that would relieve the cyclist’s crotch from pinching. The result of their development, called the Eliminator, had a long groove in the middle and a hollow space in front. In April 1999, researchers tested the newly designed seat on fifteen cyclists, most of whom were “winding” 250-500 kilometers a week.
Results? While 80% of cyclists using a traditional seat experienced groin numbness, only 14% of athletes using a new seat experienced similar discomfort. Serfas currently offers several models of improved seats for city and mountain bikes.
research, more seat models
Bicycle Engineered Components Corp. of Morgan Hill, Calif. Also offers bike seats designed for the safer ride of men. Medical designer Roger Minkow, MD, was involved in the development of the Ergonomic Saddle with a team of urologists and bicycle police units. The dedicated seat is very narrow and V-shaped with a wedge cut at the back.
To test the seat, the company consulted with Robert Kessler, M.D., professor of urology at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. In March 1999, Kessler recruited 25 volunteer cyclists. Each of them regularly cycled for at least six hours a week and suffered from groin pain and numbness, as well as erectile dysfunction. Cyclists used the new seat for a month and then shared their results.
“Fourteen people completely got rid of the discomfort, 9 experienced almost complete disappearance of symptoms, one person experienced partial disappearance of symptoms, and another did not notice any changes,” notes Professor Kessler. He presented the findings in 1999 at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.
Diamondback and Avocet also produce seats designed to not compress the crotch.
Less padding also benefits
A study presented at the same meeting of the American Urological Association found that seats without padding restrict blood flow to the penis more than padded seats. However, the width of the padded seats was not a decisive factor.
“Of course, not every cyclist develops erectile dysfunction, just as not every smoker develops lung cancer,” says Dr. Taylor. “But the standard seat is a risk factor.”.
Other adverse factors Dr. Taylor listed include being overweight, hip widths that are wider than average, and the habit of leaning forward with the whole body, bending over the bicycle handlebars while riding. all of which put additional pressure on the crotch.
Leather or plastic: which bike saddle to choose
Some shout “Brooks”, others don’t want to hear anything else except carbon. So which bike saddles to choose?
A bit of history
From the beginning of the development of the bicycle until the 1970s, almost all quality bicycles were equipped with leather saddles. And the 70s of the XX century began to attack plastic. Few high-end touring bikes are fitted with leather saddles these days. Does this mean that such components are outdated? Hardly. They couldn’t be as old as leather baseball gloves.!
Modern plastic saddles
- lightweight plastic saddles;
- do not get wet;
- plastic does not need to be worn out;
- price. plastic is cheaper.
Most of the plastic saddles have a soft lining and base, which are usually made for the “average” cyclist. It is not a fact that your “fifth point” will fall into this “average” category. Therefore, you will most likely have to look for a specific saddle for the width of the ischial bones of your pelvis (usually this is what usually ends with this).
Polyethylene foam, polyurethane foam and other materials used as padding in plastic saddles are good thermal insulation materials. This means that they are excellent at keeping vapors and heat in, which is not good in hot weather. The problem was solved by making special ventilation holes at the base of the saddle. The solution is simple and quite profitable, but these saddles cost a little more than usual.
Plastic (carbon) saddles are lightweight, don’t get wet, relatively inexpensive
Requirements for a good saddle
- have a coating, and this coating must be smooth but not slippery;
- the saddle must be elastic and durable;
- it must “breathe”.
The leather used in good quality saddles satisfies all of the above requirements. And the most important advantage: the leather saddle is much more comfortable than its modern competitor.
But: These saddles are not suitable for everyone. They are significantly heavier than plastic / carbon and take time to “wear” (break in). The new leather saddle is tough and solid. It takes several hundred kilometers to travel. In addition, this thing requires care. If not cared for or done in an inappropriate manner, she may eventually deteriorate.
The modern cyclist buys a bike made much later than 1970. This means that his bike was 99.9% likely to come with a non-leather saddle. This in turn means these riders have no experience with leather saddles.
Another part of cyclists may have had a leather saddle on their first bike, but most likely they did not know how and never properly ran / looked after such a thing. These riders have read or heard that a leather saddle is more comfortable after a break in than a plastic one, but they think that the process of breaking in (breaking) is very difficult and painful. Therefore, when choosing, they often give preference to the modern option.
Leather saddles adapt perfectly to the pelvis only after being worn
A leather saddle is like a good shoe or a baseball glove: softens with use and shapes to fit the rider’s shape. The part of the body that puts more pressure on the saddle stretches it and makes it softer, thus equalizing the load. This will continue until the saddle takes on the ideal shape of a particular rider.
Also, these saddles perform well in hot weather, as they do not have a heat-insulating lining. That is, they breathe, let in vapors, coolness, and rarely cause chafing.
Leather saddles breathe and rarely rub
All bike saddles are good. The main thing is that they fit the width of your pelvis. The rest is a matter of taste and the thickness of the wallet. Experiment, and through trial and error, you will surely find what will help your cycling turn into a frantic pleasure.
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Outfit. Anatomy of a Bicycle Seat. Body Geometry Saddles.
Many cyclists experience pelvic discomfort and have been looking for the optimal saddle for years. How do you choose the optimal and correct saddle? Let’s try to understand physiology.
Research conducted by urologist Dr. Frank Sommer at the University of Hamburg in Germany has shown that the pressure exerted by a regular bicycle saddle on a person’s body reduces blood flow to the lower extremities, and the numbers were astounding. In addition, after a few minutes of pedaling on a normal saddle, the athlete’s blood flow to the penis was reduced to 18% of the initial values with which he sat on the bike! At the same time, when using the Specialized BG saddle, the inflow was 82% of the initial one. Naturally, when less blood is supplied to the organs, problems begin. numbness, discomfort appears and, as a result, health deteriorates and efficiency decreases.
The saddle should not only protect you from the seatpost. it should fit anatomically for you.
Previously, the saddle width was chosen without an individual approach, based on general data and statistics. But we are all different, and this must be taken into account! Even two people with the same waist size and weight are likely to have different spacing between the pelvic bones. The choice of saddle width is not based on muscle volume. for example, sprinters may not fit a narrow saddle despite the large muscle volume.
How many points do we rely on when we ride a bike? Many people think that it is five, but in fact there should be six. And when the fifth and sixth points are our ischial tubercles of the pelvis (protrusions on the pelvic bones), then the pressure on them will be less than if we were sitting on one fifth point, the perineum.
Why is my bike seat so uncomfortable?
The saddle should be chosen based on the width of the ischial tubercles of the pelvis on which we are sitting. Let’s call them the ischial bones.
The idea is to sit not on soft tissue, but on the ischial bones, so as not to press down on nerve endings and blood vessels. And if you have them wide apart, and you use a narrow saddle, the bones just hang in the air, and you sit on a soft cloth. This is contraindicated! In addition, the ischial bones should not be in contact with the edges of the saddle, but with the support points, so that the pressure is distributed correctly and evenly. With an aerodynamic landing, the pelvis tilts forward and you can sit on a narrower saddle than with other types of landings. Thus, if your specialization is ripping, triathlons and breaks from the group, then a narrower saddle will suit you than for a city bike or a trail bike.
Of course, women’s saddles are different from men’s. our bodies are very different in the pelvic area. Specialized specialists investigated the distribution of the rider’s weight on the saddle while pedaling and, especially for the weaker sex, developed a special shape of saddles, the composition of the filler and the type of slots for optimal support of the female pelvis and weight distribution over the saddle while riding.
It’s also worth noting that all BG saddles have a fairly large, flat seating surface. The ischial bones are designed to properly support the body, better distribute blood circulation and support your own weight. Therefore, we place most of the burden on them. The flat surface will properly support your pelvis without impairing blood flow. At the same time, all the tunnels and holes in the BG saddles reduce the pressure on soft tissue, even if you tilt or move your pelvis forward in an aggressive (low) seating position. All of these subtleties significantly improve safety, productivity and comfort.