Bicycling. Bicycling has been linked to impotence in men and also may affect fertility. Pressure from the bike seat may damage blood vessels and nerves that are responsible for erections. Mountain biking, which involves riding on off-road terrain, exposes the perineum (the region between the scrotum and the anus) to more extreme shocks and vibrations and increases the risk for injuries to the scrotum. One study found that men who mountain bike are far more likely to have scrotal abnormalities, including calcium deposits, cysts, and twisted veins. Men who cycle can reduce such risks by:
- Taking frequent rests while biking
- Wearing padded bike shorts
- Using a padded or specially contoured bike seat that is raised high enough and sits at the proper angle
In another Austrian study: Sometimes a man's hobbies can interfere with infertility. According to a small study conducted in Austria, frequent mountain biking may contribute to a man's infertility. The study looked at 55 avid mountain bikers and found that nearly 90 percent had low sperm counts and abnormalities in their scrotums. In contrast only 26 percent of 35 non-bike riders had similar damage. The study, presented in December 2002 at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, suggests that the frequent jolts and vibration associated with riding over rough terrain may be to blame. Infertility problems were most common in frequent bike riders who rode about 60 miles a week.