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Old 04-07-13, 03:29 PM   #1
bikerj
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Groin numbness--should I see a doctor?

Hello,

I haven't ridden a bike in about 20 years, since I was 11 or 12. I recently decided to try a 45-min. Express Cycling class at my local YMCA.

The instructor helped adjust the seat to about handlebar height, and I sat and peddled for about 10 or 15 min. until she instructed everyone to rise from their seats and apply resistance to the bike. When I rose, I felt a numbness in my groin that was immediately accompanied by strong pulsations of blood rushing back to it. This lasted for maybe 8 or 10 seconds at most before the numbness disappeared. When we subsequently stood and sit, stood and sit, ad infinitum, until the end of the class, I did not experience this phenomenon at all. However, I was generally uncomfortable in the seat during the class, and for about a day afterwards my perineum area was slightly red and a tad sore. I am a bit overweight at about 206 lbs. and was wearing regular exercise shorts.

After doing several hours of Googling and reading about potential ED, impotence, permanent nerve damage, etc. from bike riding, I became very concerned and decided that I will not be going back to the class again, nor very possibly riding a bike again, save for a recumbent. I am also a bit put off by the instructor because after the class she had told me that this numbness was "normal" and I'll "get used to it." When I asked her about any permanent sexual dysfunction from the numbness, she paused and said jokingly, "well, you'll have to come back and let us know."

I had some almost unnoticeable tingling for brief instances in my groin that occurred intermittently during the 24-hour period after the class. And also I felt that my penis was very slightly less sensitive than I'm used to, but I was still able to get and sustain an adequate erection and perform normal sexual function within hours of finishing the class. It has been less than 48 hours since the class, but I expect that my body may need a few more days to completely "recover." If a week has gone by and I still feel less sensitive, I will be concerned.

I realize this is largely a forum of biking enthusiasts, so maybe this is the wrong place to ask this question. But what I'd really like to know is, based on the brief period of time my groin went numb, should I be concerned enough about any potential long-term issues (i.e. permanent nerve damage) that I should consult a doctor?

Thanks in advance,
Bikerj (who is not a biker)

Last edited by bikerj; 04-07-13 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 04-07-13, 04:20 PM   #2
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Old 04-07-13, 04:35 PM   #3
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You were sitting too long in one position on a saddle that was probably way too high, not wearing a chamois, not rising out of the saddle or moving around occasionally, and so your stuff went numb. It happens. It won't kill you or make your piece fall off. Think of it this way -- ever had your foot fall asleep? Yeah? But you recovered, right? Well, now you've had your wang fall asleep. New experiences all around.

Like any sport, bicycling can, if done incorrectly, cause injury -- and that can in rare cases include injury to your groin. But two things: First, you really do get "used to it" -- in the sense that you learn how to ride a bicycle, how not to let your junk go numb, and therefore how not to have this problem. Second, millions of men ride -- and I guarantee you that we're all perfectly capable of...entertaining...the millions of women who also ride. You didn't break anything, man.
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Old 04-07-13, 04:53 PM   #4
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I solved the same problem with a split saddle like the one listed below. It isn't perfect, and one needs to stand up periodically etc. but the numbness and pain are mostly gone.

http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-A-...addles+for+men
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Old 04-07-13, 05:08 PM   #5
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I'm not a doctor so this advice is worth what you paid for it.

If normal feeling returns to your gentleman areas within a short time then don't worry about it. Like someone already said it's just like your foot going to sleep, albeit more concerning when it actually happens. Since you described "normal sexual function" within hours of the class finishing it's clear that everything is still working down there. If things feel significantly less sensitive it might be cause for concern but be aware that the way things feel can often be subjective and it's very easy to convince yourself that you feel a certain way because you're looking out for it.

Try lowering your saddle a little and tilting it so the nose is slightly lower than it currently is (when tilting it you don't want to be lowering the nose by more than about 1/4" at a time) and you'll probably find things get better. If you're sitting on the narrow part of the saddle your man parts will be taking your weight, which isn't supposed to happen. If that happens move your weight backwards, and if that's uncomfortable move your saddle forwards.
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Old 04-07-13, 06:33 PM   #6
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That's not your groin that you are talking about. Although you did finally mention Mr. Johnson.
Never heard of one ride causing any permanent damage.
I can testify that recumbent riding will not result in NPS (Numb Pecker Syndrome.)
I would imagine, however, that you could ride an upright bike without issues if you can find a saddle that is compatible with you and if you can adjust the bike/saddle to your needs.
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Old 04-07-13, 08:01 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for replying and setting my mind at ease! I feel a lot better now. I saw the instructor again and told her that I won't be trying the class again, and she was very understanding and supportive. I bear her no ill will (hey, I made the decision to try the class!). I think I will stick with recumbent bikes for the time being.

I believe I am more or less back to normal sensitivity, so I'm not going to worry about it anymore.

Thanks again for everyone's input!
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Old 04-07-13, 08:23 PM   #8
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your junk isnt gonna work forever anyway bro.
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Old 04-07-13, 08:38 PM   #9
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Some of those exercise bikes are miserable to set up comfortably. I wouldn't let that put you off of "real" bikes in any form.
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Old 04-07-13, 08:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bikerj View Post
Thanks everyone for replying and setting my mind at ease! I feel a lot better now. I saw the instructor again and told her that I won't be trying the class again, and she was very understanding and supportive. I bear her no ill will (hey, I made the decision to try the class!). I think I will stick with recumbent bikes for the time being.

I believe I am more or less back to normal sensitivity, so I'm not going to worry about it anymore.

Thanks again for everyone's input!
Do you ever ride bicycles? Quite different than using exercise machines. Much more fun.
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Old 04-07-13, 09:01 PM   #11
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Do you ever ride bicycles? Quite different than using exercise machines. Much more fun.
I used to ride when I was younger, but I don't anymore. I don't recall having any problems with numbness on my old mountain bike, but then again I was a lot less heavy as a kid, which probably helped not to put much pressure on the area.

I agree that actual bikes are much more fun! The good that's come out of this recent experience at the Y is that, were I now to go shopping for a new bike, I would pay much closer attention to the design and feel of the seat.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerj View Post
I used to ride when I was younger, but I don't anymore. I don't recall having any problems with numbness on my old mountain bike, but then again I was a lot less heavy as a kid, which probably helped not to put much pressure on the area.

I agree that actual bikes are much more fun! The good that's come out of this recent experience at the Y is that, were I now to go shopping for a new bike, I would pay much closer attention to the design and feel of the seat.
Don't write off an otherwise perfect bike because of the saddle it comes with - you can always change the saddle.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:35 AM   #13
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Don't write off an otherwise perfect bike because of the saddle it comes with - you can always change the saddle.
Good point. All the same, I'm glad that I'm now more aware of the critical importance of saddle design in making biking safe and comfortable. I learned from the instructor that the exercise bikes at the Y have fixed saddles that can't be swapped, otherwise I would've considered swapping the saddle for one that didn't cause numbness. Oh well. I've lived and learned.
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Old 04-08-13, 07:52 AM   #14
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Good point. All the same, I'm glad that I'm now more aware of the critical importance of saddle design in making biking safe and comfortable. I learned from the instructor that the exercise bikes at the Y have fixed saddles that can't be swapped, otherwise I would've considered swapping the saddle for one that didn't cause numbness. Oh well. I've lived and learned.
Seat covers do exist (if you can find one that works for you)
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Old 04-08-13, 08:41 AM   #15
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Alternate, standing and seated, pedaling..


Quote:
I haven't ridden a bike in about 20 years, since I was 11 or 12. I recently decided to try a 45-min. Express Cycling class at my local YMCA.
I expect you also wouldn't know one saddle from another, (so won't ask)
or the adjustments that the Stationary bike you use at the Y, may have..

arrive early next time and ask the spinning class teacher to help adjust that one better..

Perhaps a BYO saddle or adding a gel saddle pad will be practical..

know what make & model the gymnasium gear is?

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Old 04-08-13, 11:24 AM   #16
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Since you already mentioned it, I'm gonna go with recumbent. Love mine, wouldn't go back to an upright for commuting again. I still have an upright mtn bike, but I don't spend a lot of time sitting when I'm riding the trails...
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