Research leader Marsha K. Guess, MD, MS, from Yale University School of Medicine and her team examined the way in which the seat of a bicycle is positioned in relationship to the handlebars. Their study included 48 competitive female cyclists.
The team measured the pressure on the saddle and the women's sensation in the genital region to establish whether positioning the handlebars differently would affect the pressure and sensation in the genital region. According to the results, by positioning the handlebar lower than the seat the women felt increased pressure on their genital region with a decrease in sensation in their genital region due to the reduced ability to detect vibration.
"Modifying bicycle set-up may help prevent genital nerve damage in female cyclists. Chronic insult to the genital nerves from increased saddle pressures could potentially result in sexual dysfunction."
Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, adds:
"There are a myriad of factors affecting women's sexual function. If women can minimize pressure application to the genital tissues merely by repositioning their handlebars higher, to increase sitting upright, and thereby maximize pressure application to the woman's sit bones, then they are one step closer to maintaining their very important sexual health."
Written by Petra Rattue