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Cycling Has No Impact on Women’s Sexual or Urinary Health, Study Finds

Jun 24, 2018

Cycling Has No Impact on Women’s Sexual or Urinary Health, Study FindsWomen who cycle are not more likely to have sexual or urinary problems compared to those who run or swim, according to a new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

However, urinary tract infections (UTIs), genital numbness, and saddle sores were more commonly reported by cyclists.  

In the past, researchers have raised concerns that bicycle saddles (seats) and handlebar positions might lead to sexual dysfunction because pressure can compress nerves in the perineum – the area between the anus and the vulva.

To learn more, the research team surveyed 3,118 women. About two-thirds were cyclists; the rest were runners and swimmers recruited to serve as a comparison group.

Overall, thirteen percent were considered high-intensity cyclists who had been cycling for over two years, cycled at least three times a week, and had a daily cycling average of 25 miles or more. The rest of the women were low-intensity cyclists – women who cycled regularly, but not as much as the high-intensity group.

The women completed questionnaires to assess their sexual function and urologic health. They also answered questions about past UTIs, genital numbness, and saddle sores. Cyclists provided information on the types of bikes, seats, and shorts they used, how much they stood while cycling, the height of their handlebars, and the usual terrain they cycled on (such as city streets or off road).

Most of the women were younger than 40 years old, and most were sexually active.

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