This year, on 8th August 2019, National Cycle to Work Day, the UK’s biggest cycle commuting event, is encouraging thousands of enthusiastic riders to hit the streets to celebrate everyday cycling.
Cycling has seen an increase in popularity over the last few years with great local events like the Velo South and triathlons across the county. Cycling is a fun and effective form of exercise, but some worry that pressure from a bicycle saddle can cause urinary, sexual, prostate problems and can even increase your risk of prostate cancer.
Although some clinical studies show that side effects of bicycle riding in men can include genital numbness and in rare cases infertility, impotence, blood in the urine, inflammation of the prostate, and elevated PSA levels, do the pros of an active lifestyle outweigh the risks?
As a keen cyclist, Simon Woodhams, Consultant Urologist joined his colleagues last year to raise over £30,000 for local urology services, taking part in their own version of the cancelled Velo South.
Cycling can reduce chances of prostate cancer
Woodhams explains, ‘The prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test is the current gold
standard for identifying prostate cancer. Although studies are mixed about the effects of cycling on the PSA test, a few have linked bicycling riding to temporary elevated PSA levels, which could lead to a false screening. If you are concerned about the possibility and have an upcoming PSA test, you may consider avoiding cycling before blood sampling. Regular bicycle riding does not cause prostate cancer, and it may even reduce your risk for developing it.’
‘If you have a chronic prostate problem that’s provoked by using a conventional seat, you can switch to a recumbent seat. ‘Noseless’ bicycle saddles can reduce numbness, pressure and genital discomfort in male cyclists. A traditional bike saddle puts 25% to 40% of your body’s weight on the nerves and blood vessels down there, but a no-nose saddle shifts that weight toward the sit bones.’
A lack of exercise and eating a high-fat diet are two risk factors for developing prostate cancer that you can control. Other risk factors include your age, race, genetics and family history.
Mr Woodhams concludes that, ‘Men who get the most exercise have a lower incidence of prostate cancer when compared with men who get little or no exercise. Exercising on most days of the week can help you lower your risk of developing prostate cancer. Bicycle riding is an excellent form of exercise and will not increase your risk of prostate cancer. Other ways to reduce your risk of prostate cancer are staying at a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced, healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.’
For more information visit www.westsussexurology.co.uk/