Washington, Aug 8 : Riding on bicycles with noseless saddles may protect men against penile sensation, erectile function and groin numbness, says a new study.
Disorders like penile sensation, erectile function and groin numbness have earlier been associated with bicycling on the traditional saddle with a protruding nose extension.
Results from this innovative study may hold promise for the estimated 5 million recreational cyclists to alleviate perineal discomfort and maintain sexual health.
In the study, the reserahcers evaluated 90 bicycling police officers from 5 metropolitan regions in the U.S. (Northwest, Southern, Desert West, Midwest, and Southeast) using traditional saddles, before and after they switched to noseless bicycle saddle.
The results showed that using noseless saddle resulted in a reduction in saddle contact pressure in the perineal region. This improved penile tactile sensation, and the number of men indicating they had not experienced genital numbness while cycling for the preceding 6 months rose from 27 percent to 82 percent using no-nose saddles.
While the use of noseless saddle significantly increased erectile function as assessed by the initial evaluation, there were no significant changes noted in Rigiscan measures, a method used to record penile rigidity while the subject sleeps.
Barring a few exceptions, bicycle police officers were able to effectively use no-nose saddles in their police work and 97 percent of officers who completed the study continued to use the no-nose saddle afterward.
Dr. Steven Schrader of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, first author of the study said: "No-nose saddles are a useful intervention for bicycling police officers alleviating pressure to the groin and improving penis health. Different saddle designs may require some re-learning of 'how to ride a bicycle,' but the health benefits to having unrestricted vascular flow to and from the penis and less penile numbness is self-evident."
Dr. Irwin Goldstein, Director, Sexual Medicine, Alvarado Hospital, San Diego C.A., and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, said: "For the first time, we have a prospective study of healthy policemen riding bikes on the job, using wider, no-nose bike saddles for 6 months.
"Not only did their sensation improve, their erectile function also improved. Changing saddles changed physiology. This is a landmark study for our field that that is important for future riders, and modification of lifestyle showing improvement without any active treatment."
The study is appearing in the latest issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.