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Riding Bicycle Does Not Increase Risk of Infertility in Men

Adapted from Journal of Men’s Health.

Despite the health benefits of bicycle riding (reduction in the risk of type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke), fears have been raised regarding its effects on male fertility and erectile dysfunction.

In a British study of 5,282 male cyclists data were analyzed for risk of physician-diagnosed infertility, self-reported erectile dysfunction, and prostate cancer in relation to weekly riding time, categorized as less than 3.75, 3.75–5.75, 5.76–8.5, and more than 8.5 hours/week.

There was no association between cycling time and infertility or erectile dysfunction, disputing the existence of a simple causal relationship. However, there was an increasing risk of prostate cancer in men aged over 50 years with increasing time of riding for 3.75–5.75, 5.76–8.5, and more than 8.5 hours of riding per week but not for less than 3.75 hours of riding per week.

The positive association between prostate cancer and increasing bike riding time provides a new perspective on the causes of prostate cancer and warrants further investigation.

As stated above, there was no association between bicycle riding and the likelihood of male infertility. The probability of being infertile was actually decreased for men riding 3.75-5.75 hours per week.

The strongest predictors of erectile dysfunction in this study were high blood pressure followed by smoking and being older than 60 years of age.

The association between bicycle riding and the risk of prostate cancer among men aged over 50 years was statistically significant even after controlling for key confounding variables, including age. Perineal trauma may represent the underlying cause since in other studies, testicular cancer has been linked to bicycle riding because of repetitive trauma to scrotal contents.

August 2014

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