Girls, Raise Your Handlebars!

Female cyclists may lose some genital sensation based on how they sit in their bikes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Protect genital health by properly adjusting bicycle handlebars! If the handlebars are too low, too much pressure can rest on the genitals.  This pressure can lead to a loss of sensation. 

A recent study looked at the height of bicycle handlebars in relation to pressure on the female genitals.

Results showed that lower handlebars caused the ladies to sit in a position that put an unhealthy amount of pressure on the genitals.

"Sit on your bike properly."

Marsha K. Guess, MD, MS, from Yale University School of Medicine, led a study to investigate the effects of bicycle handlebar height on the female pelvic floor.

The study gathered 48 competitive female cyclists to measure the saddle pressure and sensation in the genital area in relation to different adjustments to the bicycle’s handlebars.

The results of the study showed that if the handlebar was lower than the seat, it created more pressure in the genital area. More pressure in the genital area resulted in less ability to detect sensation.

Dr. Guess said, “Modifying bicycle set-up may help prevent genital nerve damage in female cyclists. Chronic insult to the genital nerves from increased saddle pressures could potentially result in sexual dysfunction.”

Irwin Goldstein, MD, editor of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, said, “If women can minimize pressure application to the genital tissues merely by repositioning their handlebars higher, to increase sitting upright, and thereby maximize pressure application to the woman’s sit bones, then they are one step closer to maintaining their very important sexual health.”

Authors said that additional research was warranted after the results of this small study showed such a direct link between lower handlebars causing increased genital pressure and therefore lower genital sensation. 

This study was published in the May issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. No financial information was given and no conflicts of interest were found.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 24, 2012
Last Updated:
April 22, 2013