Regular mountain biking can cause testicular injuries, according to a study published in last week's issue of the Lancet. The authors, based at the University Hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, say that 96 per cent of the 45 male mountain bikers in the study had scrotal abnormalities, compared to only 16 per cent of 31 men who had never cycled.
The cyclists' problems included swelling, benign tumours, cysts and twisted veins, which could mean that many have fertility problems, according to team leader Dr Ferdinand Frauscher. The men spent an average of two hours a day, six days a week cycling on rough terrain. Frauscher thinks that the damage is caused by excessive vibration of the testicles against the seat, a problem that does not affect cyclists who stick to roads.
The authors advise mountain bikers to take frequent rests while biking, and to use full suspension bikes with shock-absorbent saddles. A spokesman for the British Cycling Federation said: 'We would support everything this study says about making sure all cyclists get a bike and equipment that fits them, wear padded shorts, and see their GP if they experience any problems.'
Sources and References
Mountain bike enthusiasts prone to faulty equipment
Mountain biking could impair men's fertility