Avid Cyclists Could Have Higher Prostate Cancer Risk
A new study fuels the ongoing debate over the health risks of bicycle riding for men: Researchers found that cyclists who bike more may face a higher risk of prostate cancer, but not a greater chance of infertility or erectile dysfunction.
The findings aren’t definitive, and they conflict with previous research on impotence and infertility. Other experts pointed to the study’s weaknesses, and lead author Dr. Milo Hollingworth, a research associate at University College London, acknowledged that the findings are “difficult to interpret.”
“Men shouldn’t worry about increasing their risk of prostate cancer by cycling,” he stressed. “Men should cycle as much as they did before. The benefits for your heart, lungs, whole body and mental health are much more important.”
Previous research has suggested that bike riding for more than three hours a week boosts the risk of mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, said Dr. Chris Oliver, a consultant orthopedic surgeon with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in Scotland. Other studies have also linked bike riding to infertility in men.
In the new study, researchers surveyed more than 5,000 male cyclists from 2012 to 2013.
Eight percent of the men reported erectile dysfunction problems, although they weren’t more common in men who biked more. The investigators did find links between erectile dysfunction and three factors — high blood pressure, smoking and older age.
Symptoms Of Prostate Problems
The moment you start experiencing pain or difficulty urinating it could be a sign of an inflamed prostate. You might also experience discomfort riding your bike. Once you experience any of these, it might be time to consult with a doctor, or at the very least, lower your bike riding activity. An enlarged prostate can put pressure on the urethra which makes expelling urine quite difficult and even painful. If left unchecked, this can lead to more serious conditions such as urinary tract infections , kidney stones, bladder damage, and kidney damage. It is vital for men to take the necessary preventive measures against prostate problems early on.
Essential Guide To Prostate Health For Cyclists
Responding to reports that cycling increases the risk of prostate cancer, oncologist Professor Robert Thomas provides some reassurance
The debate about prostate health and cycling has taken on renewed vigour recently following the publication of a study involving 5,000 cyclists.
It reported a six-fold increase in prostate cancer among cyclists who trained for eight hours or more per week, compared to men who trained for less than 3.75hr.
Of course, association does not prove causation. Men with cancer were more likely to volunteer for the study, and we know that intense cycling can increase levels of prostate-specific antigen in the blood for 24 hours meaning cyclists are more likely to be referred for investigation.
Not highlighted in the study was that the male subjects had a cancer rate three times lower than that observed in the general population.
This is most likely because there are over 180 beneficial biochemical changes that occur after exercise that reduce the risk of cancer by protecting our DNA, blocking cancer growth and spread .
Even so, we must take seriously the suggestion that cycling increases risk by elevating levels of reactive oxygen species .
Above all, its important to consume plenty of polyphenol-rich vegetables, spices, herbs, teas, berries and fruits.
Are Riding Bicycles Linked To Prostate Problems
Men who are having issues with prostate health heed this warning: bicycle riding can aggravate your current condition. Take into account the basic design of the seat and you will see that it can deliver pressure to the prostate area which can exacerbate the condition. While we are not saying to completely stop riding a bicycle, it is important to lessen any activity that would put strain around the lower part of the body for those with prostate problems.
Cycling And Prostate Health: Risks And Benefits
How cycling may reduce the risk of prostate cancer:
- Indirect mechanisms: Reduces obesity, improves psychological health and vitamin D levels
- Direct mechanisms: Improved insulin sensitivity, lowering growth cytokines such as insulin-like growth factor increases natural killer cells and lymphocytes, which improve immune recognition of cancer cells reduces markers of inflammation such as prostaglandin 2.
How cycling may increase the risk of prostate cancer:
- Prostatic inflammation: Repetitive compression and trauma to the perineum, leading to recurrent inflammation of the prostate, has been reported to be higher in cyclists. Chronic inflammation is known to be a risk factor for malignancy.
- Testosterone: Levels increase immediately after intense exercise, which could encourage early prostate cancer cells to grow. This increase, however, occurs only in the first 15-60 minutes and rarely occurs in men over 55 years. Over time, testosterone levels actually drop below normal among elite athletes unless banned anabolic steroids are taken.
- Generation of free radicals: Strenuous exercise, particularly in untrained people, produces reactive oxidative species that can damage DNA, the first stage in cancer initiation and progression.
Don’t let age slow you down
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Reducing Negative Effects Of Cycling On The Prostate
Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid or seriously reduce negative effects cycling can have on the prostate and that entire area.
For example, you can stand up on the pedals regularly while you are undertaking your cycling commute or long bike ride.
There are also more mechanical steps which you can take. Most of them relate to your seat.
- Wear padded cycling shorts
- Do not tilt your bicycle seat upward
- Use a curved nose, slotted or grooved or split bicycle seat decreases the pressure on the nerves the the whole genitals area
- The height of your seat should mean that your legs are almost fully extended when the pedal is at the lowest point
- The handlebars should be raised to keep your torso somewhat upright
Following all or some of these things can lower the odds of cycling affecting your prostate .
In any case, the physical and mental health benefits of cycling are much greater than any possible issues resulting from a badly adjusted bicycle.
Study Finds Link Between Mens Biking And Prostate Cancer Erectile Issues Not Found
THE QUESTION Cycling on a regular basis can have numerous physical benefits, improved cardiovascular health and muscle development among them. But for men, might time spent on a bike also raise risks for erectile dysfunction, fertility and prostate cancer?
THIS STUDY analyzed data on 5,282 male cyclists, 16 to 88 years old . All were described as habitual cyclists some commuted to work on their bikes, some raced as amateurs and others cycled recreationally. About 8 percent reported having erectile dysfunction, 1 percent had an infertility diagnosis and 1 percent had prostate cancer. .
The more hours a week a man spent cycling, the more likely he was to have prostate cancer. Among men 50 and older, those who biked four to 81/2 hours a week were three times as likely to have prostate cancer as were those who biked less than four hours a week. They were six times as likely if they biked more than 81/2 hours a week. However, time spent cycling was not linked to erectile dysfunction or infertility.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Men who ride bikes more than occasionally. Complaints of discomfort and health concerns usually focus on the design of the standard bicycle seat, which can put pressure on the prostate/groin area. Men who cycle a lot are often urged to replace the seat with a more comfortable one, to change positions frequently while on long rides and to wear padded bike shorts.
FIND THIS STUDY June issue of the Journal of Mens Health.
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Frequent Cycling And Prostate Risks
This post is available in: Spanish
Is there a link between frequent cycling and the risk of developing prostate cancer?
A new study has raised concerns for long-distance male cyclists. Researchers found that cyclists who ride the mostseveral hours a week may face a higher risk of prostate cancer. But the studys results are not conclusive and mostly add fuel to an ongoing debate.
As part of the study, more than 5,000 male cyclists from 2012 to 2013 were surveyed. Just under 1 percent of the men reported being diagnosed with prostate cancer. But those who cycled mostmore than 8.5 hours a week were more likely to have prostate cancer than the other men.
Of the 498 men who cycled the most, 17 said they had prostate cancer. Of those who biked the least, three out of 511 said they had prostate cancer, the findings showed.
Difficult to InterpretHowever, serious cyclists should not be concerned, critics of the study say, because the research involved a relatively small number of participants, and it was based on anonymous online responses. Whats more, the study does not prove theres an actual connection between cycling and prostrate cancer.
Since the study was Internet-based, there was no opportunity for interview or physical examination, which limits the ability to explore the reported diagnoses further, the study itself says.
Does Cycling Affect Your Prostate
The prostate gland, as a topic, unfolds many reactions in men. Most of them do not know precisely what it does.
But they are still afraid of what it may represent in their future. However, it may concern their present to a greater extent.
The prostate gland is an organ located below the bladder, beside the rectum. It embodies a fundamental role in mens life and health. It secretes fluids into the urethra during orgasm and intervenes in the ejaculation volume.
We usually start to think about the prostate later in life. But what if the practice of a younger man influences prostate health? For example, does cycling harm your prostate?
Ask The Doctor: Biking And The Prostate
Q.I’m planning a cross-state bike trip. Can long rides hurt my prostate? I have an enlarged prostate and take medication for it.
A. A bicycle seat is perfectly positioned to place pressure on the perineum, the area behind your scrotum. The prostate is also in this same area, which has raised questions about prostate issues with bicycling.
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How Cycling Affects The Prostate
Based on what I learned, your long cycling commute doesnt mean theres a bigger chance youll have prostate problems like prostatitis or prostate cancer. And there isnt any hard proof that bicycling makes the symptoms of an enlarged prostate worse.
Some studies recommend that men avoid cycling during episodes of prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. This is something you should absolutely speak to your doctor about.
That said, its been documented that there is in men an increase of prostate-specific antigen levels right after a long bike ride.
The higher PSA levels are temporary and any PSA-related cancer test would have to wait a few days.
Something else I was not aware of is that, along with higher PSA numbers, long bicycle rides can also experience genital numbness .
Thats due to the compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the perineal area. And well, it is connected to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction.
Personally, I was glad to learn that a lot of this is temporary and / or can be reversed. There are steps you can take to make things better.
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Are Recumbent Bikes Bad For The Prostate
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But Is This A Scientific Fact Or Is It Only An Assumption
Theres a particular link between cycling and prostate health. Some urologic studies show that cyclists have a higher index of sexual health issues. This risk is higher than that of swimmers and runners, for example.
The prostatic disease index, on the other hand, shows no differences. If we take this type of study as an isolated fact, it appears that the prostate is not affected by cycling. But let us review more evidence.
Researchers in the United Kingdom took a sample of more than five thousand cyclists. The study suggests no higher incidence of lower urinary tract problems in this group. However, there was a clear distinction between those who rode for a longer time. 3.5% of cyclists who ride for a long time developed prostate cancer.
In comparison, only 0.5% of the cyclists who ride shorter distances had the same problem. They did notice a higher predisposition to numbness and sores in the perineum area, too.
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Is Biking A Prostate Cancer Risk
I bicycle for exercise almost every day, weather permitting. Now Ive heard that biking increases the risk of prostate cancer. If thats true, Im wondering how much I can safely bike or if I should give it up.
Andrew Weil, M.D. | June 2, 2016
Originally published on August 21, 2014.
You may be referring to the findings of a British study published in July 2014. It reported a possible link between cycling and the risk of prostate cancer, an issue that has fueled medical debate for some time without any definitive evidence of a connection. The same study also looked for associations between biking and erectile dysfunction and infertility seen in some earlier studies, but found none.
From 2012 to 2013 the researchers surveyed 5,282 male cyclists age 16-88. All the men were described as habitual cyclists. Some commuted to work by bike some had participated in amateur bike races other cycled recreationally. Overall, less than one percent of the men in the study said they had been diagnosed with prostate cancer . The study also showed that the men age 50 and older who biked four to 8.5 hours a week were three times as likely to have prostate cancer as those who biked less than four hours per week. Those who biked more than 8.5 hours a week were six times more likely to have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
If you can avoid the dangers encountered by sharing the roadway with cars, biking is far more likely to benefit your health than harm it.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Your Sofa Is A Much Greater Cause For Concern
Men who spend a lot of time watching TV or playing video games have twice the risk of an enlarged prostate than those who spend less than five hours a week doing so. Whats even more alarming is that if you spend a lot of time on the couch, your risks go up regardless of the amount of time you practice sports.3
Your best bet is to go for a bike ride or find a pastime thats more active than watching TV! Your family surely has a number of ideas for things you can do that are good for your prostate. Even renovating the basement can be good for you!
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Does Cycling Affect The Prostate
Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. One way of preventing or reducing the risks of prostate cancer is by exercising regularly.
If youre bicycling a lot or riding to and from work every day then youve got the exercise part more-or-less covered. But you might wonder whether the activity is harming you.
Afterall, it does involve a lot of sitting.
Cycling may cause an increase in prostate-specific antigen levels in men and could irritate the prostate to possibly lead to prostatitis. Yet, there is no data to show that cycling leads to prostate cancer, enlargement or even worsen existing prostate enlargement symptoms.
So, if youve been fretting over the thought that cycling is tied to prostate cancer you should stop now. The thought, not the cycling.
Your long cycling commute has way more benefits than drawbacks.
Still, I understand why you might want to know a bit more about how cycling affects the prostate. So, I hope this post helps.
I am absolutely not an expert but I did do a little research and what comes next is what Ive managed to learn.
Best For Performance And Racing: Specialized Romin Evo Comp Gel
Jakub Novak, head coach at ProCyclingCoaching and former World Tour cyclist, recommends checking out the saddles from top bike seat brand Specialized. “Most of the saddles are focused on blood flow,” he says.
While this saddle ranks as one of the more expensive prostate bike seats options in our list, it’s worth every penny if you plan on racing. It features an aerodynamic profile designed with speed in mind, as well as supportive foam and gel inserts to maximize comfort. Best of all, its patented design has been lab-tested to ensure blood flow to sensitive arteries.
Buy it:BackCountry.com Price:$130
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Check Out Multiple Brands
Once you’ve figured out the best bike seat style for your prostate, sit on seats from several brands. From company to company, there’s a lot of variation out there between similar-style seats.
Look for a prostate bike seat that supports your sit bones without putting pressure on soft tissue, Novak says. “This way, you protect blood flow and nerves,” he adds.