Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist as well as being a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.
Sore testicles and erectile problems are some of the main cycling problems experienced by men.
Some men experience sore testicles or simply a dull ache or sensitive feeling in their testicles post cycling. Many men actually believe that cycling can cause further erectile problems in the form of impotence and infertility. Nevertheless, with the right steps and action it's possible for a male cyclist to guard against such problems and assure comfort while cycling.
Sore testes can be unbearable and be detrimental to your life away from the bicycle.
So if you're getting sore or painful balls from biking, below is information to help you.
A Common Misconception About Cycling and Fertility
In the past, many men have steered away from cycling. Whether on the road, path, or a spinning class at the gym. This has been mainly been due to fears regarding their sexual health as it has previously been widely reported in a number of scientific studies that cycling can cause impotence.
Can cycling cause impotence? In fact, many studies have disproved that information. Certain aspects of cycling and its nature can have a detrimental effect, however, with the right riding clothing and position, a rider can protect their testicles. It's true that cycling can initially be uncomfortable on the nether regions however with a little preparation that can be avoided in the medium term.
With a few simple changes and a little additional knowledge, you can avoid pain and discomfort on your next rides.
How Can Cycling Cause Testicular Pain?
Factors that can cause pain in the testicles from cycling.
- Poor Saddle Position
An incorrectly positioned bicycle saddle can be extremely uncomfortable for a rider. A saddle that is too high or too low can lead to a sensation of numbness which is often as a result of pudendal neuralgia—the trapping of the pudendal nerve. Pudendal neuralgia is also known as Alcock canal syndrome.
How high should your bicycle saddle be? Your saddle should initially be horizontal (or close to) and when fully extended at the base of your pedal stroke there should be a small amount of flex in your knee when your foot is parallel to the ground.
- Testis Trauma
If you consider how many times you turn your cranks each minute and hour you start to realise just how many crank revolutions you achieve on a ride. Unfortunately, there is a high possibility you may catch your testicles at a point either while normally pedaling, or while sitting back onto the saddle after a period of standing up pedaling. Also while riding can cause pressure trauma due to nerve compression which can lead to a sensation of temporary numbness.
- Testicular Torsion
Testicular torsion occurs when your testicle rotates around the scrotum which leads to restrictions in blood flow, therefore leading to swelling and very intense pain. Though not often associated with cycling if you do have issues with testicular torsion from cycling it's recommended to visit Accident and Emergency Ward of your local Hospital very quickly after the problems arise.
- Fluid Accumulation in the Testes
The testes are a very complex area of the male body. Varicoceles, spermatoceles and hydroceles within the organ can be affected by non-cycling related problems and can lead to infections and fluid accumulation. Tiredness from cycling can weaken the immune system giving rise to such problems.
Address these issues and you're well on the way to preventing sore balls from cycling.
Identifying Sore Testicles From Cycling
If you have sore testicles as a man you generally know about it (and your partner likely does too!). Identification of a sore testicle is relatively straightforward as there will be a generally feeling of soreness or torsion in the area and on inspection you may also be able to feel additional warmth radiated from the sacks or be visibly able to see redness and inflammation.
It's recommended that for any problems with testis pain to go and see your doctor or physician as you may have an infection as a result of your cycling activity—do not assume the issue will just clear up as these are your reproductive organs and could potentially have long-term consequences.
There are a number of things you can consider doing to prevent cycling related testis problems.
- Stand out of the saddle and pedal regularly to allow blood flow to resume to the testes and genitalia.
- Choose a pair of padded bicycle shorts which will provide protection to your undercarriage while cycling.
- If you have had problems with your testicles from cycling you could consider one of the specialist cycling saddles from companies featured right that remove the nose section of the saddle and remove the testes from the seating area of a cyclist.
- Set up your saddle height correctly to alleviate any excess pressure on your testes.
Bill on October 31, 2018:
I have a really good bicycle seat and it is great. They make ergonomic seats with the gap in the middle and shorter nose. They also have it wear the seat pads in the back where you sit are up higher,so your buttocks area has more of the weight on it and less weight on your groin area. There is also a small indentation in the middle of the seat that goes down lower as you get towards that open area that keeps pressure off of the genital region. The seats are high quality durable dura tek that has gel and foam No testicle pain with those seats.
Joe on January 22, 2018:
I had a woman's orthopedic seat that worked better than the mens. It's wider, bigger and has more cushion. Your ass, balls and Gooch will thank you for it.
Gordon on September 25, 2017:
I get a sore arse also soar bollocks,I wear padded shorts to stop this but my bollocks are a little larger than most ...should I stop cycling....
Andy on September 10, 2017:
A guy on youtube explained how to run faster by practicing cadence on your bike. Last Sunday, I rode a long ride up the hill on bigger back gear, I guess that was too much for fist attempt. I've been feeling some pain in my right ball for a week but doesn't feel like stabbing pain when I rub or roll my hand around my ball. I hope it will clear out soon. I don't get too over reacted like some health freaks to see doctor for every little thing. I will tilt the seat. Who wants to use his balls as part of the cushion?
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on September 25, 2016:
Thanks for your feedback Bernard. I'd actually argue against extra padding- If you sink into the padding you increase the friction against your skin. People seem to think padding is the answer- yet It's rare you'll see a professional cyclist with an armchair for a saddle. Also tilting the saddle down forces you to have to stabilise your body in position which often puts more stress onto your hip flexors which can lead to other problems.
bernard on January 01, 2016:
A good trick to reduce the pressure on your balls is by adjusting the tilt of the seat.
Just undo the bolt screw of your bicycle seat and tilt it down (forward direction) slightly. That way the point of gravity is in your buttcheeks rather than the base your balls. Because most bikes require you to slightly lean forward which automatically make you lean on your balls while sitting down.
Getting a better seat would be great, but I would try the trick above first, it might save you $40.
Another trick is to buy soft gell seat cover which you can place on top of your currect seat. You can even add foam or sponge underneat the cover, sandwich in between the cover and your seat.
parkournut on March 22, 2013:
Wow, never knew this was a problem as I've never encountered it myself. Now I'm scared to get back on the bike! ;) But not really.
Liam Hallam (author) from Nottingham UK on May 18, 2012:
Thanks for your feedback chrissie.
chrissieklinger from Pennsylvania on May 17, 2012:
very informative hub!