Erectile dysfunction and amatorial cycling

Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2008 Sep;80(3):123-6.


Today cycling is considered a useful form of exercise for reducing cardiovascular risk, but it may also represent a risk factor for erectile dysfunction and perineal-genital paresthesia. These disorders are attributed to the local reduction of oxygen in the perineal-genital area, secondary to the perineal compression. Numerous studies have been carried out measuring the penile oxygen pressure or penile blood flow by echo-colour-Doppler: a reduced inflow of blood and oxygen to the cavernous tissue was demonstrated. The attention of the specialist is therefore concentrated on the compression of the perineum on the bicycle saddle and how to reduce this through the position of the cyclist on the bicycle (i.e. height and tilt of the saddle), the different shapes of saddle available (i.e. noseless, grooved, wide, etc.) and the padding materials of the saddle. In order to reduce perineal compression, the posterior part of the saddle should be as wide as the distance between the two ischiatic tuberosities. In addition, the saddle should be studied on the basis of the biotype of the cyclist: ectomorphic, mesomorphic or endomorphic. However, in the genesis of the erectile dysfunction of the cyclist, apart from the above-mentioned factors, an "individual predisposition to developing erectile dysfunction" linked to the perineal-genital anatomy (i.e. type of insertion of the perineum into the root of the penis, number of layers of the tunica albuginea of the corpus cavernosum) cannot be excluded.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bicycling*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male