Where Do You Put Your Balls When Cycling?!

If you’re a cyclist, you know the struggle of trying to find a comfortable spot for your “boys.”

I’ve been cycling for more than 10 years and I know very well that sitting on a bike seat for long periods of time can lead to serious genital issues.

So, where do you put your balls when cycling? Seriously.

When cycling, it is highly recommended to wear padded cycling shorts that provide support and cushioning for your balls. This helps to minimize discomfort and potential injuries. Moreover, adjusting your positioning on the saddle can also help in finding a comfortable and safe position for your balls while cycling.

Now, we’ll explore the various options for male cyclists and help you find the best solution for your comfort and safety.

Does Cycling Have Negative Effects On Genital Health?

So you heard that cycling can actually cause some serious health issues down there? Yes, you heard it right.

The constant pressure from the saddle on the area between your genitals and anus can result in erectile dysfunction, chafing, razor burn, genital numbness, and even infected hair follicles.

Scary, isn’t it? Research from Harvard shows that men who cycle more than 3 hours per week are at a higher risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction. However, the research also suggests that cycling does not pose a serious threat to infertility or erectile dysfunction. (1)

A survey result published in the Journal of Men’s Health found no correlation between cycling and infertility or erectile dysfunction even when riders clocked more than 8.5 hours or 200 miles per week.

But hold on, don’t get too excited just yet. While cycling is generally a safe and enjoyable exercise, it’s not completely risk-free.

Nerve injuries and numbness can occur, which can lead to a loss of sensation in the genital area.

And let’s not forget about those pesky saddle sores and jock itch which can cause inflammation and discomfort over time.

Now, don’t worry too much about these complications. They are relatively rare, and most cyclists don’t experience any issues.

But if you do feel some discomfort or pain while cycling, I have a few easy tips in the final section of this article.

Common Causes For Genital Pain Due To Cycling

Some of the most common causes of genital pain in male cyclists include twisted testicles, testis trauma, and improper saddle position.

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss these causes in more detail to help you understand the reasons behind genital pain and how to avoid it while cycling.

Twisted Testicles

While cycling, the twisting of the spermatic cord can put you at risk of testicular torsion which cuts off blood flow to the testicles, resulting in severe pain and swelling. (2)

If you’re an avid cyclist, it’s important to know that a twisted testicle is no joke. Even though it’s not a common injury in the cycling community, it can happen.

So, if you ever experience this excruciating pain down there, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention at the closest Emergency Room.

Testis Trauma

Testis trauma is a condition that can occur due to various reasons, including accidents, sports injuries, and excessive cycling.

The condition can range from mild to severe, with the possibility of long-term effects on the reproductive system. Testicular trauma is also one of the potential side effects of cycling.

Excessive cycling often experienced by long-distance cyclists can lead to testicular pain and testis trauma, as the continuous pressure on the perineum from the saddles and riding position can cut off the blood supply to the scrotum. (3)

Poor Saddle Position

Improper saddle position on your bike can lead to genital pain while cycling.

  • First things first, make sure your saddle is positioned correctly. You should be able to have your feet flat on the ground without any issues, so you have complete control over your bike.
  • Check if there’s a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This will prevent any unnecessary strain on your joints.
  • Whatever you do, don’t place your saddle too high or too low, or you might experience numbness. Trust me, pudendal neuralgia is not something you want to deal with.
  • Make sure your saddle is in top-notch condition. Tighten it up and make sure it doesn’t move around when you’re cycling. Your saddle is your best friend on the road, so treat it with the care it deserves.

Easy Tips To Protect Your Balls While Cycling

Now you know how uncomfortable it can be down there while riding, especially if you’re a man.

But fear not, because there are plenty of ways to protect your precious jewels. Let’s dive into some tips and tricks, shall we?

Use A Wider Saddle

Did you know that riding a saddle with a V-shaped nose and narrow width can lead to a major decrease in oxygen flow to the penis?

Yep, a European study found that V-shaped saddle resulted in an 82.4% reduction in oxygen down there. (4)

But don’t worry, the study also recommended opting for a broader saddle to help absorb those pesky bumps and keep things nice and comfortable on your next ride.

saddles of a group of bicycles on parking

This is confirmed by another study conducted by urologist Dr. Benjamin Breyer. He found that a broader saddle filled with gel can reduce genital pain and numbness in male cyclists. (5)

This is because the extra padding spreads the weight across a larger surface area, reducing pressure on the genitals.

However, even with a gel-filled saddle, an improper saddle position can still lead to pudendal neuralgia. This painful condition occurs when the pudendal nerve, which supplies sensation to the genitals, becomes compressed.

Adjust Your Saddle Height

To determine the correct saddle height, start by sitting on your saddle with your foot on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke.

Your leg should have just a slight bend in the knee, not too straight or too bent. Adjust the saddle height until you find that sweet spot of comfort.

Now, for all my male riders out there participating in long-distance races (and short), I highly recommend trying out the Prologo Dimension Tirox Road Saddle. I’ve been using this for the past few years and really like it.

bicycle mechanic adjusts with tools bike seat

This saddle has a wider shape, providing better comfort and taking pressure off your groin and sensitive areas. My post-ride numbness was gone after using this saddle.

Finding the perfect saddle is a personal journey. Don’t be afraid to try out different options until you find the one that works best for you.

Adjust Your Handlebar Height

Adjusting the height of your handlebar is probably the easiest yet most crucial fix you can make.

It’s not just about looking cool, it can actually affect your posture and even your blood flow down there.

If you’re in doubt, I highly recommend consulting with a bike fitter to get personalized advice on how to position your handlebar and other aspect of your bike fit.

They can take into account your unique body dimensions and riding style to determine the best height for you.

Regular Screening and Check-ups for Men over 40

One of the best ways to prevent or detect prostate problems early is to have regular screening and check-ups with your doctor.

Screening tests can include a digital rectal exam (DRE), where the doctor inserts a finger into your rectum to feel for any abnormalities in the prostate gland, and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, where the level of a protein produced by the prostate gland is measured.

These tests can help diagnose prostatitis, BPH, or prostate cancer, or rule them out.

However, according to Cancer.gov and Hopkins Medicine, they are not perfect and may have false positives or negatives, so you should discuss the benefits and risks of screening with your doctor before deciding whether to have them or not.

Generally, men over 40 years old or with high risk factors such as family history, African American ethnicity, or exposure to certain chemicals or radiation should have more frequent screening and check-ups than men with lower risk factors.

Keep Your Private Part Clean

Another way to protect your balls and prostate health when cycling is to keep the area clean and dry after riding.

Bacterial growth and infection can occur in the perineum and prostate gland due to the increased pressure, friction, and sweat from the saddle and shorts. It can also cause jock itch if left untreated.

According to Urology Group, this can also lead to prostatitis, which is inflammation or infection of the prostate gland that can cause pain, fever, urinary problems, and sexual dysfunction.

handsome young guy standing with antibacterial soap

To prevent this, you should wash the area with mild soap and water as soon as possible after riding, and change into clean and dry underwear or clothing.

You should also drink plenty of water and fluids to flush out toxins and bacteria from the urinary tract.

If you have symptoms of prostatitis, you should avoid riding until they are resolved or treated by a doctor.

Consider Changing Your Bike

If you are new to cycling or looking to switch up your current bike, it’s essential to consider what type of bike will best suit your needs.

One popular option is the stationary bike, which is an excellent choice for those seeking to alleviate pain due to reclined seated position.

Stationary bikes allow for a comfortable indoor workout, making them an ideal choice for those living in areas with extreme weather conditions.

sportsman with artificial leg working out on stationary bike

Road bikes are a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking to experience the thrill of speed and endurance.

These bikes are characterized by their narrow and firm seats, which can lead to discomfort or even genital numbness.

However, the sporty design of road bikes can offer a sleek and efficient ride, ideal for experienced cyclists seeking the ultimate challenge.

For those looking for an adventure with a sturdier design, mountain bikes are the way to go.

Featuring rugged tires and suspensions, these bikes are built to handle a variety of off-road terrain.

A mountain bike’s wide and cushioned seat can offer more comfort and support, making it a great choice for those seeking a more leisurely ride.

Start Slow And Short

If you’re just starting out or haven’t ridden in a while, it’s important to take it slow and start with shorter rides.

Your body needs time to adjust to the constant pressure caused by the saddle, which can lead to some pretty unpleasant sensations down there.

But don’t worry, gradually increasing your ride duration give your body time to adjust to the saddle and build up endurance, reducing the risk of issues in the genital and sensitive areas.

Change Your Position While Riding

sportsman standing on bike on hill

Regularly shifting and moving around on the saddle keeps your body from getting too sore in one spot which can really impact your performance over time.

Intermittently changing your riding positions, such as standing on the pedals or shifting your weight from side to side help relieve pressure points on the perineum and groin.

Experienced cyclists know that getting up out of the saddle can be a great way to help prevent this as well as activate different muscle groups and force them to work in new ways.

Wear Comfortable Bib Shorts

Whenever I slip into my bib shorts, my friend can’t help but burst out laughing. But let me tell you, without that cushioning, cycling on a road bike would be excruciating.

If you’re shopping for bib shorts, the fit is crucial. You want them to be snug enough to prevent chafing, but not so tight that they restrict your movement or circulation.

Another essential feature to look for is chamois padding. The thicker the padding, the better the shock absorption and pressure relief on your sit bones and perineum.

Gel padding is a fantastic option as it conforms to your body and provides extra cushioning.

Don’t forget about breathability! Moisture-wicking fabric that lets air flow through is your best bet for staying dry and comfortable, especially on longer rides or in hotter weather.

And finally, always wash your bib shorts after each ride. Not only does this keep bacteria at bay, but it also helps maintain the chamois’s softness and prolongs the life of your beloved shorts.

Adding Glide And Lubricate With Chamois Cream

Apply chamois cream to prevent skin irritation caused by rubbing against bike shorts. For optimal protection, apply it to both your skin and the chamois before putting on your shorts.

Check out our dedicated article on how to apply chamois cream.

Triathletes, who are particularly vulnerable to chafing due to their wet clothing, often use anti-chafing cream like Gooch Guard Chamois Cream.

These cream/balm create a silky protective layer on the skin, preventing skin-to-skin or skin-to-clothing friction.

But what if you already have a sore from chafing? Don’t worry, there’s still hope. You can soothe and protect the affected area with a gentle ointment at home.

And if you really need some relief, try using moleskin with a cutout around the sore to alleviate pressure and discomfort.

Get Anti-Inflammatory Drugs From Your Doctor

If you experience genital pain while cycling, it is imperative to consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs to help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.

Anti-inflammatory drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used as an oral medication option for the management of pudendal neuralgia caused by cycling. (6)

However, it is crucial to follow their advice on the appropriate dosage and duration of the medication for safe and effective results.

Final Thoughts

There is no one “correct” answer to the question of where to put your balls when cycling. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what feels comfortable for you.

Experiment with different types of cycling shorts, adjust your saddle position, and find what works best for your body. Most importantly, prioritize your comfort and safety while cycling.

Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor if having trouble urinating, experiencing sexual difficulties, have open sores that are causing you pain, or if your symptoms are not improved after applying all these recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cyclists can take several measures to protect their testicles while cycling. Here are some tips from the search results:

  • Use the right equipment: Soft saddles, padded pants, and full suspension bikes can reduce pressure and shaking that hurts your testicles. A saddle that cushions your pelvis and relieves the surrounding soft tissue, such as the Body Geometry seat by Specialized, can help eliminate most direct nerve pressure.
  • Wear padded bicycle shorts: Padded shorts can protect your testicles and prevent microtrauma-induced impotence through nerve and vascular damage. Chamois and lubricants can also be used for added protection.
  • Balance your weight on your “sit bone”: According to the CDC, the best posture for protecting your genitalia from cycle-induced damage is to balance your weight on your “sit bone”
  • Stand out of the saddle and pedal regularly: This allows blood flow to resume to the testes and genitalia.
  • Don’t shave your pubes: Doing so can result in razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and infected follicles, which can be made worse by the constant friction that comes with cycling.
  • Don’t wear underwear: Bike shorts are designed to be worn commando, so wearing underwear underneath them is not recommended.
  • Treat saddle sores with a healing, protective ointment: If a sore appears, you can treat it yourself with a healing, protective ointment such as Doc’s Saddle Sore Ointment, which contains tea tree oil and other natural ingredients.

Yes, cycling may have an impact on sperm. Prolonged and intense cycling can lead to increased scrotal temperature, which in turn can affect sperm production and quality.

Research indicates that cycling may reduce semen volume and sperm count, motility, concentration, and morphology.

A 16-week low-to-intensive cycling training may have deleterious consequences for spermatozoa and hence may have an impact on male fertility among cyclists. However, the studies are not conclusive, and more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between cycling and sperm (Source: GiveLegacy, NIH, Orlando Health)

Yes, cycling is generally considered safe and beneficial for prostate health. Cycling does not directly cause prostate cancer, but according to Byram Healthcare it can increase inflammation, which may increase the risk of prostate problems.

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