ABSTRACT: Cycling is associated with genital neuropathies and erectile dysfunction in males. Women riders also have decreased genital sensation; however, sparse information exists addressing the effects of modifiable risks on neurological injuries in females.
This study assesses the effects of bicycle setup and cyclists' attributes on GS and saddle pressures among female cyclists.
Previously, we compared genital sensation in competitive female cyclists (N = 48) to that of female runners (N = 22). The current study is a subanalysis of the 48 cyclists from the original study group. Nonpregnant, premenopausal women who rode at least 10 miles per week, 4 weeks per month were eligible for participation.
Genital sensation was measured in microns using biosthesiometry measures of vibratory thresholds (VTs). Perineal and total saddle pressures were determined using a specialized pressure map and recorded in kilopascals (kPA).
Handlebars positioned lower than the saddle correlated with increased perineum saddle pressures and decreased anterior vaginal and left labial genital sensation (P < 0.05, P < 0.02, P < 0.03, respectively). Low handlebars were not associated with total saddle pressures or altered genital sensation in other areas. After adjusting for age and saddle type, low handlebars were associated with a 3.47-kPA increase in mean perineum saddle pressures (P < 0.04) and a 0.86-micron increase in anterior vagina VT (P < 0.01).
Handlebars positioned lower than the saddle were significantly associated with increased perineum saddle pressures and decreased genital sensation in female cyclists. Modifying bicycle setup may help alleviate neuropathies in females. Additional research is warranted to further assess the extent of the associations.
Journal of Sexual Medicine 03/2012; 9(5):1367-73. · 3.55 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: There are numerous genital complaints in women cyclists, including pain, numbness, and edema of pelvic floor structures. Debate ensues about the best saddle design for protection of the pelvic floor.
To investigate the relationships between saddle design, seat pressures, and genital nerve function in female, competitive cyclists.
We previously compared genital sensation in healthy, premenopausal, competitive women bicyclists and runners. The 48 cyclists from our original study comprise the study group in this subanalysis.
Main outcome measures were: (i) genital vibratory thresholds (VTs) determined using the Medoc Vibratory Sensation Analyzer 3000 and (ii) saddle pressures as determined using a specially designed map sensor.
More than half of the participants (54.8%) used traditional saddles, and the remainder (45.2%) rode with cut-out saddles. On bivariate analysis, use of traditional saddles was associated with lower mean perineal saddle pressures (MPSP) than riding on cut-out saddles. Peak perineal saddle pressures (PPSP) were also lower; however, the difference did not reach statistical significance. Saddle design did not affect mean or peak total saddle pressures (MTSP, PTSP). Saddle width was significantly associated with PPSP, MTSP, and PTSP but not with MPSP. Women riding cut-out saddles had, on average, a 4 and 11 kPa increase in MPSP and PPSP, respectively, compared with women using traditional saddles (P = 0.008 and P = 0.010), after adjustment for other variables. Use of wider saddles was associated with lower PPSP and MTSP after adjustment. Although an inverse correlation was seen between saddle pressures and VTs on bivariate analysis, these differences were not significant after adjusting for age.
Cut-out and narrower saddles negatively affect saddle pressures in female cyclists. Effects of saddle design on pudendal nerve sensory function were not apparent in this cross-sectional analysis. Longitudinal studies evaluating the long-term effects of saddle pressure on the integrity of the pudendal nerve, pelvic floor, and sexual function are warranted.
Journal of Sexual Medicine 08/2011; 8(11):3144-53. · 3.55 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Bicycling is associated with neurological impairment and impotence in men. Similar deficits have not been confirmed in women.
To evaluate the effects of bicycling on genital sensation and sexual function in women.
Healthy, premenopausal, competitive women bicyclists and runners (controls) were compared.
(1) Genital vibratory thresholds (VTs) were determined using the Medoc Vibratory Sensation Analyzer 3000. (2) Sexual function and sexually related distress were assessed by the Dennerstein Personal Experience Questionnaire (SPEQ) and the Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS).
Forty-eight bicyclists and 22 controls were enrolled. The median age was 33 years. The bicyclists were older, had higher body mass indices (BMIs), were more diverse in their sexual orientation, and were more likely to have a current partner. Bicyclists rode an average of 28.3 +/- 19.7 miles/day (range 4-100), 3.8 +/- 1.5 days/week, for an average of 2.1 +/- 1.8 hours/ride. The mean number of years riding was 7.9 +/- 7.1 years (range 0.5-30). Controls ran an average of 4.65 +/- 2.1 miles/day (range 1.5-8) and 5.0 +/- 1.2 days/week. On bivariate analysis, bicyclists had significantly higher VTs than runners, indicating worse neurological function at all sites (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis found significant correlations between higher VTs and bicycling at the left and right perineum, posterior vagina, left and right labia. Increasing VTs at the clitoris, anterior vagina, and urethra were associated with age. In bicyclists, there were no correlations between VTs and miles biked per week, duration of riding, or BMI. Composite SPEQ scores indicated normal sexual function in all sexually active subjects. Neither group suffered from sexually related distress.
There is an association between bicycling and decreased genital sensation in competitive women bicyclists. Negative effects on sexual function and quality of life were not apparent in our young, healthy premenopausal cohort.
Journal of Sexual Medicine 12/2006; 3(6):1018-27. · 3.55 Impact Factor