Prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate gland, is a common problem for men and there is evidence that longer distance cycling may be a possible cause.
The constant prolonged pressure from the saddle and the jarring forces felt through the bike seat when riding over rough terrain may be the source of cycling-associated prostatitis. The close proximity of the prostate gland to the seat can cause prostate swelling. This swelling clamps down on the urethra, resulting in urinary symptoms that include incomplete emptying of the bladder, urinary dribbling and frequent urination. Other symptoms may include pain and tenderness in the genital area.
Saddles have evolved accordingly over the years. In fact, there are noseless saddles that eliminate any possible pressure but these have not been well received by the cycling community despite success in several trials. The saddle on my commuter is pictured above. I wasn’t thinking of my prostate when I purchased it. It was comfortable and the price was right. Little did I know that the design purposely relieves pressure on the prostate. I have other saddles on my road and touring bike – a fi’zi:k Antares and Brooks B17. They are both comfortable and seen many miles. But I have to admit the selle italia is the most comfortable and I seldom feel any pressure or numbness as a result of longer rides. The recessed area at the back and cut-out in the nose minimizes pressure in that area.
If you suffer from cycling-associated prostatitis there are several things to consider:
- Find a saddle like the selle italia;
- Tilt the saddle forward slightly to relieve pressure in the area;
- Stand on the pedals from time to time on long rides to take pressure off the prostate; and,
- Get cushioned cycling pants (along with a cushioned saddle) to lesson the constant pressure and jarring when riding.