The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Does riding a bike affect your prostate gland? I heard that if your prostate gland can't function properly then you become infertile. Is that possible and why is the prostate gland so important for being able to reproduce? Could you know if your prostate is functioning the way it should?

Sam (age 13)

The concern about bicycle riding is that the seats with a "nose" presses on the area just behind your scrotum. This area is where the blood for the genitals flow and where several nerves run. A study found that men who logged more than 3,000 miles per year found that 90% of the men were one-third as fertile as non-bike riding men. The study also measured a drop in sperm motility (the ability for sperm to move) and volume (the amount of semen produced).

You must remember that the number of miles is more than most of us ride, but it is still a concern. Therefore, when you adjust your seat, make sure it is tilted so the pressure is on your bottom and not between your legs. Or get a seat that doesn't have a "nose."

While the prostate isn't damaged by bicycling, it does have several important functions for reproduction:

  • The prostate contains the "switch" that closes off your bladder and opens the ejaculatory duct when you are sexually aroused.
  • The prostate produces several chemicals which are mixed into the semen. One thickens the semen, much like gelatin so that it can come out in a glob. The gelatin then dissolves shortly thereafter, releasing the sperm. A second chemical shocks the sperm out their suspended state so that they begin to swim.
  • The prostate also contains the muscles which squeeze on the ejaculatory duct making the semen shoot out the end of the penis.