Your Prostate and Cycling

I have a middle aged prostate…

While my prostate doesn’t seem to be bothering me, I know full well that some day it will.  Trouble like prostatitis, trouble starting and stopping my urine stream and, worse yet, getting up over-and-over in the middle of the night to pee.  On top of that, it seems that most men in my family figure out a way to get prostate cancer.  So I have taken an efforts to keep my prostate happy.

Truth be told, MOST men will have some sort of issue with their prostate.

Another truth: cycling isn’t exactly prostate friendly.

So I was excited when I ran across this news story: http://www.newsmax.com/fastfeatures/men-prostate-cycling-health-precautions/2015/03/19/id/631137/

The take home from that story:

  • Studies showing a link between high volume cycling and prostate cancer probably aren’t correct
  • In reality, cycling is so healthy it may DECREASE the risk of prostate cancer
  • The bad news is that cycling will in fact increase your risk of prostatitis (irritating inflammation of the prostate) BUT there are things you can do about that (see below)

What’s a prostate and how do I know if I have one?

Not even sure if you’ve got one?  Not sure what a prostate is or what it does?

The first question is easy.  If you’re a guy, you’ve got one.  No way around it.  The prostate is a small gland justCycling and Prostate below the bladder.  The urethra runs through it as it exits the bladder on its way to the penis.  The prostate is shockingly close to the skin of your perineum (see our article on wear to put on chamois cream to find details on what the perineum is, long story short it’s the area between your genitals and anus) and, as such, suffers through a ton of pressure on normal saddles.  The role of the prostate is to secrete fluid that helps expel and nourish sperm during sexual intercourse (i.e. it’s a reproductive organ).

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How to avoid trouble with your prostate as a cyclist

  • Bike fit – we say this for just about any cycling related comfort issue: fit is KING.  Saddle height, saddle tilt, and reach to the bars are the most important facets of fit with regard to the prostate
  • Rise up – if you live in flatter regions, it is not uncommon to get into a rut and find that you’ve not gotten out of the saddle for many hours.  Make it a habit to stand up out of the saddle every 15 to 30 minutes.  It’s not just good for your prostate, it’ll make everything feel better and it will likely decrease the risk of saddle sores
  • Get one of those new fangled saddles – some of you die hards probably cringe at the idea of a “prostate saddle” but hear me out.  I started riding an old fashioned Selle San Marco Regal saddle when I was a teenager.  I’ve ridden a Regal for 28 years or so.  I am convinced that my back side is permanently molded in the shape of a Regal.  Fortunately, the geniuses as Selle San Marco made a virtual cut out in the prostate area on the latest version.  It’s just a softer area in the shell covered by the usual leather and foam.  So I ride on with a nouveau Regal on my road bike.  Amazon has some good deals on Regals here.  Out of a necessity to get my time trial bike UCI legal (I am 6’2” and getting a big TT frame to fit within the UCI rig is tough while staying super aero), I came across an ISM Adamo Time Trial saddle.  I got it because it is very short so it keeps the nose of the saddle behind the UCI limit.  It also allows me to be very forward in the aero position since you naturally sit on front of the saddle.  The surprising benefit was that the saddle has a large cut out all the way to the front of the saddle so my prostate stays super happy.  Interestingly, pros are starting to use these unconventional ISM saddles.  In fact, the entire Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team rides them!  Here’s where I got my ISM Adamo TT saddle on Amazon.

If you’ve got a prostate, take care of it and ride on.

-Doc