Cycling, and Male Sexual and Urinary Function: Results from a Large, Multinational, Cross-Sectional Study

Mohannad A. Awad, Thomas W. Gaither, Gregory P. Murphy, Thanabhudee Chumnarnsongkhroh, Ian Metzler, Thomas Sanford, Siobhan Sutcliffe, Michael L. Eisenberg, Peter R. Carroll, E. Charles Osterberg, Benjamin N. Breyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: We explored the relation of cycling to urinary and sexual function in a large multinational sample of men. Materials and Methods: Cyclists were recruited to complete a survey through Facebook® advertisements and outreach to sporting clubs. Swimmers and runners were recruited as a comparison group. Cyclists were categorized into low and high intensity cyclists. Participants were queried using validated questionnaires, including SHIM (Sexual Health Inventory for Men), I-PSS (International Prostate Symptom Score) and NIH-CPSI (National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index), in addition to questions about urinary tract infections, urethral stricture, genital numbness and saddle sores. Results: Of 5,488 complete survey responses 3,932 (72%) were included in our analysis. On multivariate analysis swimmers/runners had a lower mean SHIM score than low and high intensity cyclists (19.5 vs 19.9 and 20.7, p = 0.02 and <0.001, respectively). No significant differences were found in I-PSS or NIH-CPSI scores, or urinary tract infection history. Cyclists had statistically higher odds of urethral stricture compared to swimmers/runners (OR 2.5, p = 0.042). Standing more than 20% of the time while cycling significantly reduced the odds of genital numbness (OR 0.4, p = 0.006). Adjusting the handlebar higher or even with the saddle had lower odds of genital numbness and saddle sores (OR 0.8, p = 0.005 and 0.6, p <0.001, respectively). Conclusions: Cyclists had no worse sexual or urinary functions than swimmers or runners but cyclists were more prone to urethral stricture. Increased time standing while cycling and a higher handlebar height were associated with lower odds of genital sores and numbness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-804
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • bicycling
  • erectile dysfunction
  • genitalia
  • lower urinary tract symptoms
  • male
  • urethral stricture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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