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Cycling not linked to infertility

21 July 2014
Appeared in BioNews 763

Men who cycle regularly are not more likely to be infertile, an observational study on British cycling habits has found.

The research, by scientists at University College London (UCL), also debunks the popular myth that spending more time in the saddle increases the risk of erectile dysfunction.

'This is good news for male cyclists, there is no association between cycling time and erectile dysfunction and infertility', Dr Mark Hamer, of the Department of Epidemiology at UCL, told the Telegraph.

The research involved an online survey of 5,282 male cyclists and was designed to investigate links between cycling and urogenital abnormalities and disorders. The researchers found no correlation between cycling and infertility, even for men who spend more than 8.5 hours a week on their bike.

Eighty percent of cyclists in the UK are male, and there have been concerns that long periods of cycling can restrict blood flow and increase pressure on the prostate.

'In the modern era cycling saddles are much better now so there is nothing like the pressure that there once was', said Dr Hamer. 'This study demonstrates that concerns regarding male infertility and cycling has not been borne out'.

However, the study did find an unexpected link between increased levels of cycling and prostate cancer, particularly in men over the age of 50. But the authors were keen to stress that the study only shows a correlation and that cycling does not necessarily cause prostate cancer.

Dr Hamer says that that the results are 'tricky to interpret'. 'Obviously the men who are cycling for the most amount of time are more health aware so they may be just more likely to be diagnosed', he said. 'Or there could be a genuine biological link between trauma in the area of the prostate associated with bike riding'.


This link between prostate cancer and cycling has not been reported before, and the authors suggest more research should be done to discover if there is a genuine risk for regular cyclists.

3 April 2017 - by Emma Laycock 
Men with erectile dysfunction following prostate surgery were able to have intercourse again after receiving an experimental stem cell therapy using cells taken from their own abdomen, a Danish study has shown...
14 December 2015 - by Ayala Ochert 
Men who have been diagnosed with infertility have a higher risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as other general health problems, including alcohol abuse and drug abuse...
22 November 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard 
High frequency and high intensity exercise can triple a woman's chances of experiencing fertility problems, say Norwegian researchers...
6 July 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey 
New research presented at the 25th annual conference of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), held in Amsterdam last week, points towards factors affecting sperm quality and male fertility. Frequent sex and avoiding extreme levels of cycling training have both been indicated as playing a key role in maintaining healthy sperm....
1 October 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
Researchers have found that women who continue to exercise while they are trying to conceive using IVF may reduce their chances of conception. The research, published in the October issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that women who regularly exercised for more than four hours...
23 October 2000 - by BioNews 
Regular mountain biking can cause testicular injuries, according to a study published in last week's issue of the Lancet. The authors, based at the University Hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, say that 96 per cent of the 45 male mountain bikers in the study had scrotal abnormalities, compared to only 16...
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