[Sport, infertility and erectile dysfunction]

Urologia. Apr-May 2010;77(2):100-6.
[Article in Italian]


In the last decades a growing interest has been dedicated to prevention, diagnosis and therapy of male genital pathologies, such as varicocele, infertility and erectile dysfunction in the population involved in sport activities. High incidence (up to 30%) of varicocele has been reported in a population of athletes and up to 60-80% in the subgroup of body-builders. The incidence of varicocele specifically increases with hours of training, in a linear model. Controversial data come from literature about the effects of physical activity on fertility, with prevalence of trials demonstrating worsening of seminal parameters. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that physical stress in healthy male athletes can interfere with LH levels. Bicycling is one of the major risk factors for erectile dysfunction, with incidence of 13-24%. This is due to the prolonged compression of perineal arteries leading to reduced chronic penile perfusion. Bioengineering studies have been the basis for industry to produce specifically shaped saddles that significantly reduce and minimize compressive effects. Finally, high frequency of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in cyclists has been related to increased incidence of erectile dysfunction in comparison with normal population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Bicycling / injuries
  • Child
  • Equipment Design
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / etiology
  • Incidence
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Infertility, Male / prevention & control
  • Ischemia / etiology
  • Luteinizing Hormone / deficiency
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism
  • Male
  • Penis / blood supply
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Semen / metabolism
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Sports*
  • Testis / blood supply
  • Urination Disorders / etiology
  • Urination Disorders / prevention & control
  • Varicocele / diagnosis
  • Varicocele / epidemiology
  • Varicocele / etiology
  • Weight Lifting / injuries


  • Luteinizing Hormone