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of the driving age public (age 16 or older) reported they rode a
bicycle at least once during the summer of 2002. This equates to
approximately 57 million persons age 16 or older who rode a
bicycle. Males were more likely to ride a bicycle (34.0%) than
were females (21.3%). Incidence of bicycling declined steadily
with age from a high of 39.1% among persons ages 16 to 24 to
8.6% among persons ages 65 or older.
--- Bureau of Transportation
Bicycle Riding Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction
Health debate needs to change focus to what can be
done about it
Aug. 23, 2005 A prominent researcher in sexual
and reproductive health says the debate should end about bicycle saddles
causing erectile dysfunction. It clearly does for some. It is now time
to move on to what should be done about it. Males are much more likely
to be bicycle riders than women, but the participation in bicycle riding
decreases rapidly as age increases. Less than 10 percent of senior
citizens do it regularly.
Steven Schrader presented his views in a guest
editorial of the September issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. He
says that it is time to move on - the current scientific focus on the
relationship between bicycle riding and sexual health has now shifted.
Whereas past research emphasized whether or not a
causal relationship existed between bicycle riding on a saddle (cause)
and erectile dysfunction (disease), Dr. Schrader now states that the
next step of contemporary research on the subject should focus on
Dr. Schrader is a supervisory research biologist at
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The
statements in the editorial represent his professional opinion and do
not necessarily reflect any policy statements by NIOSH.
Dr. Schrader was asked to review three new articles
on the topic published in the current issue of The Journal of Sexual
Medicine entitled, "Bicycle Riding and Erectile Dysfunction: An Increase
in Interest (and Concern)" by Huang et al, "Only the Nose Knows: Penile
Hemodynamic Study of the Perineum - Saddle Interface in Men with
Erectile Dysfunction Utilizing Bicycle Saddles and Seats with and
without Nose Extensions" by Munarriz et al, and "Development of a New
Geometric Bicycle Saddle for the Maintenance of Genital-Perineal
Vascular Perfusion" by Breda et al.
These three peer-reviewed articles research the
pathophysiology of the erectile dysfunction (ED) associated with
bicycling. They together report that the high pressures in the perineum
while straddling a saddle compress and temporarily occlude penile blood
flow. They also hypothesized that the lining vessels of the compressed
arteries become damaged, thus leading to potential permanent artery
blockage and erectile dysfunction.
However, not all men who ride bicycles will develop
erectile dysfunction. One past study suggested that sexual health
consequences adversely affect 5% of riders (based on survey data that
would therefore include 1,000,000 riding men with ED).
"One would not expect that every bicyclist would
suffer from ED any more than one would expect every smoker would get
lung cancer," says Schrader.
"The next steps are quite clear. Effective
strategies based on sound ergonometrics and urogenital physiologic
principles and testing are needed to reduce the risk of erectile
dysfunction from bicycle riding." Schrader further concluded that "the
health benefits from having unrestricted vascular flow to and from the
penis are self-evident."
Dr. Schrader's ground-breaking research in 2002
reported on the hazards of bicycle riding in police officers. This past
innovative research concluded that nighttime erections were of poorer
quality in biking police officers compared to non-biking police
officers. Furthermore, nighttime erection quality decreased as seat
pressure increased and as the average number of hours in the saddle a
To better appreciate the scope of the problem, a
2002 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors
was sponsored by the US Department of Transportation's National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Bureau of Transportation
Statistics, in part to gauge bicycle use. According to the survey,
approximately 57 million people, 27.3% of the population age 16 or
older, rode a bicycle at least once during the summer of 2002 (www.bicyclinginfo.org/survey2002.htm).
About The Journal of Sexual Medicine
The Journal of Sexual Medicine is the official journal of the
International Society for Sexual Medicine and its five regional
affiliate societies. The aim of the journal is to publish
multidisciplinary basic science and clinical research to define and
understand the scientific basis of male and female sexual function and
dysfunction. For more information on The Journal of Sexual Medicine ,
About The International Society for Sexual Medicine
The International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) was founded in 1982
for the purpose of promoting research and exchange of knowledge for the
clinical entity "impotence" throughout the international scientific
community. The society has over 2000 members worldwide, with five
regional societies that are affiliated with ISSM: the Africa Gulf
Society for Sexual Medicine, Asia Pacific Society for Sexual Medicine,
European Society for Sexual Medicine, Latin American Society for
Impotence and Sexuality Research, and Sexual Medicine Society of North
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