Research in the US has shown that women who cycle regularly experience reduced genital sensation and are more likely to complain of pain in the genitals.
Researchers in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine and The Albert Einstein College of medicine undertook a comparative study between 48 women competitive cyclists and 22 women runners.
They studied the possible implication of cycling on genital sensation and sexual health, and participants in the study were women cyclists who consistently rode at least 10 miles per week, four weeks per month.
Women who ran at least one mile a day or five miles a week were chosen as a control group, representing an active group of women who were not exposed to direct pressure in the perineal region.
Lead author Marsha K. Guess MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale reported: “We found that competitive women cyclists have a decrease in genital sensation, but there were no negative effects on sexual function and quality of life in our young, healthy premenopausal study participants.
While there are many health benefits of cycling the activity has also been linked to injuries such as neck and back pain, chafing, and other ailments that affect both sexes.
Indeed past studies have found an association between cycling and erectile disfunction and genital numbness in men.
Guess added: “This is the first study to evaluate the effects of prolonged or frequent cycling on neurological and sexual function in women.
“While seated on a bicycle the external genital nerve and artery are directly compressed. It is possible that chronic compression of the female genital area may lead to compromised blood flow and nerve injury due to disruption of the blood-nerve barrier.”