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  1. #1
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    Can cycling cause an enlarged prostate?

    As I was talking to my LBS earlier today, the salesperson was telling me that a seat not fitted properly can cause a prostate to enlarge. Is that true? Are cyclists more at risk at developing cancer?

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    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    I'm not a doctor...but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!

    Actually, I don't know. That's a good question. Hopefully a medical expert will chime in, but until one does...

    I've heard lots of cycling medical risks connected with saddles, and most of them turn out to be...um...not true. However, I've never heard this one before, so I'll wait to hear the replies.
    Good night...and good luck

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    Depending on your age... there are a lot of physical conditions out there that can cause prostate problems. I've never heard of bicycling being one of them.

    But I'm not a medical professional, so I'll be curious to see what a professional says about it.

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    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Saddle fitment and ED have been linked for ages. The ED, however, isn't related to an enlarged prostate specifically; to the best of my knowledge it is of neurological and vascular origin, not endocrine.
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    Riding without a seat is hell on the prostate--especially when you jump curbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
    As I was talking to my LBS earlier today, the salesperson was telling me that a seat not fitted properly can cause a prostate to enlarge. Is that true? Are cyclists more at risk at developing cancer?
    #1- I'm NOT a doctor.

    but- an enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia is not always indicative nor even necessarily related to cancer. And yet- if you have any concerns about your prostate get checked by having a PSA test. If you're over 50 (and male, of course) you should be getting this test by your doctor regularly.

    enlargement of the prostate (prostatitis) can lead to urinary tract infections. If the prostate is now infected pressure on the area (ie from a bike seat) can exacerbate that condition and cause it to worsen. Basically, you're pumping the infection into the urinary tract and potentially the kidneys (not a good thing) when you're putting pressure on the enlarged and inflamed prostate.

    My completely uneducated and layman-like guess is that bicycling may not necessarily be the cause of prostate problems but it can make symptoms worse once an inflammation develops. If your prostate is sensitive to infection and prone to BPH you'll probably want to take your seat choice and adjustment even more seriously in order to prevent triggering the BPH.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jpatkinson's Avatar
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    Nope

    Well, I am a physician, and I would suggest your LBS 'advice' is a load of crap. You sit on your 'sit bones' and -- depending on your seat -- put pressure on the blood supply to your penis or labia [leading to ED, for example], but you certainly aren't putting any pressure on your prostate, and definitely aren't making it enlarged. Period.

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    jpatkinson,

    Thanks for the tips. When he told me that, i just kept thinking of the millions of chinese and thousands of dutch who cycle and have been cycling for generations and they are not that much more healthier than we are when it comes to medical problems.

    By the way i'm 30.

  9. #9
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    Not riding is more likely to give you far more serious issues.

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    2nd opinion...

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatkinson View Post
    Well, I am a physician, and I would suggest your LBS 'advice' is a load of crap. You sit on your 'sit bones' and -- depending on your seat -- put pressure on the blood supply to your penis or labia [leading to ED, for example], but you certainly aren't putting any pressure on your prostate, and definitely aren't making it enlarged. Period.
    jpatkinson,
    I agree that the sales person at the LBS was spreading false medical information, probably to sell a specific product. But I think a quick review of the anatomy of the male pelvis will reveal that sitting on a bike seat could most certainly put pressure on the prostate, especially if the seat is not the right size or is not positioned correctly. If I can stick my finger into the rectum just a couple inches and feel the prostate how can the prostate be immune to the physical pressure of sitting on a bike seat? This type of pressure can also put pressure on the urethra (which passes through the prostate) and can lead to "prostatitis" or "epididymitis" both of which can be characterized by urinary symptoms.

    Most importantly, we both agree that riding a bike does NOT cause prostatic hypertrophy or prostate cancer.

    The "big picture" is that while riding a bike will always cause some wear-and-tear to certain body parts due to the inherent design of the machine, the health benefits by far outweigh any problems that MOST people will endure.

    Ride on.

    Respectfully,
    pedal.there

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    #1- I'm NOT a doctor.

    but- an enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia is not always indicative nor even necessarily related to cancer. And yet- if you have any concerns about your prostate get checked by having a PSA test. If you're over 50 (and male, of course) you should be getting this test by your doctor regularly.

    enlargement of the prostate (prostatitis) can lead to urinary tract infections. If the prostate is now infected pressure on the area (ie from a bike seat) can exacerbate that condition and cause it to worsen. Basically, you're pumping the infection into the urinary tract and potentially the kidneys (not a good thing) when you're putting pressure on the enlarged and inflamed prostate.

    My completely uneducated and layman-like guess is that bicycling may not necessarily be the cause of prostate problems but it can make symptoms worse once an inflammation develops. If your prostate is sensitive to infection and prone to BPH you'll probably want to take your seat choice and adjustment even more seriously in order to prevent triggering the BPH.
    I am not a doctor, am in my mid-50s, averaged 10000km annually on the bike in my mid to late 40s, have only averaged about 1000k/year since then, and have had the PSA test done almost every year for the past 8 years with all normal results --- until last fall when the test results jumped up to almost 10 -- not good. Ended up at a urologist who did a PSA Ratio test (free PSA/Total PSA) which is a better indicator of cancer being present. The result (.28) indicates that the likelyhood of cancer is less than 10%. Good news. However, the prostate WAS enlarged, and the urologist definitely believes that cycling exacerbates the problem. I stopped cycling, made some significant life style changes, lost 25 lb, and am now looking for a recumbent so that I can continue getting out on the road.

    Someone above suggested that the benefits of cycling out weigh a "potential" problem with the prostate. Philosophically, I tend to agree but getting through the problems that I had last fall was not fun. I stopped cycling on an upright bike because I do not want to be in that state (or worse) again. But I love cycling and am really hoping that a recumbent works for me -- I will find out next week as I am renting one for seven days.

  12. #12
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    If you ride with your seat adjusted like this it might cause prostate problems:

    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
    As I was talking to my LBS earlier today, the salesperson was telling me that a seat not fitted properly can cause a prostate to enlarge. Is that true? Are cyclists more at risk at developing cancer?

    What was the salesperson trying to sell you when they said that?
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
    As I was talking to my LBS earlier today, the salesperson was telling me that a seat not fitted properly can cause a prostate to enlarge. Is that true? Are cyclists more at risk at developing cancer?
    I'm 37 years old and never had prostate problems until 2006, and I've been cycling seriously for 25 years. My doctor, as well as my brother (who is also a doctor), said cycling didn't cause it... but I can tell you that it did make cycling for long periods a little less comfortable. Of greater concern were the other symptoms that showed up first: Strange pains that at first my doctor suggested might be kidney stones. Then he thought I might have an infection. After an exam and some tests it turned out to be prostatitis. I was on antibiotics for a long time... something like six or eight weeks. This cleared up the other symptoms, but my prostate was still slightly enlarged for a long time after that. All told I think I had problems for a total of one year or more. Fortunately everything has seemed normal for many months (knock on wood).

    So cycling won't cause prostatitis, but prostatitis can make cycling a pain in the a**

  15. #15
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    I'm not a doctor either, but I am interested in the question. A few observations that may be relevant:

    I read recently that in most men the prostate tends to enlarge over time; cycling was not mentioned as a cause.

    I asked my urologist about it a few years ago, and his opinion was that cycling is not harmful to the prostate. He said some cyclists get pinched nerves or other nerve damage from the way they sit on the saddle, which can be a serious problem; but most of us don't even have that. On the other hand, my father's urologist advised him to get one of those saddles that has the big hole in the center of the top, to reduce pressure on the prostate. I believe this was a non-cyclist doctor's suggestion for how to reduce discomfort, rather than the risk of damage.

    My wife recently read a book that mentioned, among other things, that eating animal protein (meat, eggs, dairy) probably causes prostate cancer. That's not to say this is generally accepted, of course.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    If you ride with your seat adjusted like this it might cause prostate problems:

    That or an intense desire to start a home decorating business.......

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    OMG. x 10^23

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
    As I was talking to my LBS earlier today, the salesperson was telling me that a seat not fitted properly can cause a prostate to enlarge. Is that true? Are cyclists more at risk at developing cancer?
    Im not a doctor, but no, I don't believe that a bike can cause "cancer"... however an uncomfortable seat with a "nose" can cause nerve damage which could lead to ED...
    If a seat causes you "numbness" during a ride and pain later, then you might really want to find a different
    seat... another strategy that you should do anyway, is to get up out of the saddle periodically, as well as change your hand positon periodically to prevent numbness there too...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by crtreedude View Post
    Not riding is more likely to give you far more serious issues.
    Exactly what I thought when I read the title
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    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e0richt View Post
    however an uncomfortable seat with a "nose" can cause nerve damage which could lead to ED...
    .
    Please don't try to sell us on those ridiculous noseless saddles.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post

    My wife recently read a book that mentioned, among other things, that eating animal protein (meat, eggs, dairy) probably causes prostate cancer. That's not to say this is generally accepted, of course.
    wow... what a way to revive an a thread...lol. By any chance did your wife read THE CHINA STUDY? Great book (if that was it). Since reading it, i've reduced my animal intake to 2 servings a week, where at one point, it used to be almost 7 days. I've never felt better since I made the change to primarily veggie!!!!
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  22. #22
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpatkinson View Post
    Well...I would suggest your LBS 'advice' is a load of crap...Period.
    +1
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  23. #23
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    I was getting sore in my "inguinal area" (sp?) after several months of frequent bicycle commuting. I spend hours and hours in web research on bicycle seats. I believe that if you ride with a seat which puts pressure between your lets rather than on your sits bones you can get at least temporary swelling of your prostate. There are many bicycle seats designed to reduce this problem. Some are incredibly expensive. I decided to start buying seats one at a time to see if any solved the problem. I first bought a Terry saddle. Very expensive, but little improvement. I then changed seats to a very cheap, but uniquely designed UK seat called the "Rido" and it has solved the problem for me. I also wear bicycle pants with a chamois pad. If I am going more than 25 miles or so I also use Pace Chamois Butt'r.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedal.there View Post
    jpatkinson,
    I agree that the sales person at the LBS was spreading false medical information, probably to sell a specific product. But I think a quick review of the anatomy of the male pelvis will reveal that sitting on a bike seat could most certainly put pressure on the prostate, especially if the seat is not the right size or is not positioned correctly. If I can stick my finger into the rectum just a couple inches and feel the prostate how can the prostate be immune to the physical pressure of sitting on a bike seat? This type of pressure can also put pressure on the urethra (which passes through the prostate) and can lead to "prostatitis" or "epididymitis" both of which can be characterized by urinary symptoms.

    Most importantly, we both agree that riding a bike does NOT cause prostatic hypertrophy or prostate cancer.

    The "big picture" is that while riding a bike will always cause some wear-and-tear to certain body parts due to the inherent design of the machine, the health benefits by far outweigh any problems that MOST people will endure.

    Ride on.

    Respectfully,
    pedal.there
    Sorry to hear you're sticking your finger in your rectum. Thats very unfortunate.

  25. #25
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Am 75 years old. Pedaled over a quarter million miles. Definitely do not have ED. Yup, got prostate cancer and told doctor I was not interested in surgery; had brachytheraphy (seed implants). Am fine and no ED.
    So pedal on!

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