Cycling does not adversely affect sexual, urinary function in females
Female cyclists do not have significantly worse urinary or sexual function compared with other athletes, a recent study has shown. However, other genitourinary conditions, such as saddle sores and genital numbness, are associated with cycling and may lead to sexual dysfunction.
Using Facebook advertisements and outreach to sporting clubs, researchers recruited 1,656 low-intensity cyclists and 409 high-intensity cyclists, who were asked to accomplish a survey. Swimmers and runners (n=1,053) were recruited as noncyclist controls. Study outcomes included responses to different validated questionnaires, such as the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and the American Urological Association Symptom Index.
Interestingly, both high-intensity (mean score, 23.1 points; p<0.001) and low-intensity (mean score, 22.6 points; p<0.001) cyclists had significantly higher mean FSFI scores than noncyclists (mean score, 20.8). Results in the arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction domains were significantly better for both cyclist groups.
The high-intensity and low-intensity cyclist groups also had significantly lower odds of reporting sexual dysfunction than controls (odds ratio [OR], 0.6; 0.5–0.8; p<0.001 and OR, 0.8; 0.6–0.9; p<0.001, respectively).
After multivariable adjustment, statistical significance was attenuated such that low-intensity and high-intensity cyclists had mean FSFI scores similar to noncyclist controls. High-intensity cyclists remained significantly less likely to report sexual dysfunction than controls (OR, 0.7; 0.6–0.95; p=0.02).
In contrast, both cyclist respondent groups showed significantly higher odds of reporting previous urinary tract infection, perineal numbness and saddle sores, as compared with swimmers or runners.
Across all analyses performed, no significant differences in urinary symptoms were reported across all groups.