Urogenital and Sexual Complaints in Female Club Cyclists-A Cross-Sectional Study

J Sex Med. 2016 Jan;13(1):40-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2015.11.004.


Introduction: Cycling has gained increased popularity among women, but in contrast to men, literature on urogenital overuse injuries and sexual dysfunctions is scarce.

Aim: To determine the prevalence and duration of urogenital overuse injuries and sexual dysfunctions in female cyclists of the largest female cycling association in The Netherlands.

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was sent to 350 members of the largest female Dutch cycling association and 350 female members of a Dutch athletics association (runners).

Main outcome measures: The prevalence and duration of urogenital overuse injuries and sexual complaints were assessed using predefined international definitions.

Results: Questionnaire results of 114 cyclists (32.6%) and 33 runners (9.4%) were analyzed. After at least 2 hours of cycling, dysuria, stranguria, genital numbness, and vulvar discomfort were present in 8.8%, 22.2%, 34.9%, and 40.0%, respectively (maximum duration 48 hours). These complaints are not present in the controls (P < .001). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, increased saddle width was significantly associated with the presence of dysuria and stranguria. Older age was significantly associated to the presence of vulvar discomfort. Of the cyclists, 50.9% has at least one urogenital overuse injury. Insertional dyspareunia was present in 40.0% of cyclists and lasted until 48 hours after the effort. The latter complaint was not present in runners (P < .001). Uni- or bilateral vulvar edema was reported by 35.1% of cyclists. As for general complaints, 18.4% of cyclists reported a change in sexual sensations and 12.8% reported difficulties in reaching orgasm owing to cycling-related complaints. Limitations include population size and the use of non-validated questionnaires.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that urogenital overuse injuries and sexual complaints are highly prevalent in female cyclists who are active participants in riding groups.

Keywords: Cycling; Female; Female Sexual Dysfunction; Urogenital Overuse Injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / injuries*
  • Genitalia, Female / innervation
  • Humans
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Perineum / injuries*
  • Perineum / innervation
  • Pressure
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires