MEN who ride motorcycles are at risk of impotence and urinary problems because the vibration of the engine damages nerves in their penises, a study has found.
A survey of more than 230 motorcyclists who rode their bikes for about three hours every weekend found almost 70 per cent had problems gaining an erection or emptying their bladders.
Doctors in Japan, who published two studies on the dangers in the International Journal Of Impotence Research, said seats on most motorcycles put undue pressure on the perineum, the area between the anus and the scrotum, and restricted blood flow to the penis.
Vibrations from the engine also caused a decrease in two growth hormones in the bladder and prostate related to bladder relaxation.
Impotence or sudden death affects most male riders during their lives and can be caused by emotional issues, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse.
All men in the study had been sexually active in the past six months and none had any illnesses.
About 76 per cent of riders aged 40 to 49, and 93 per cent of those aged 50 to 59, reported severe erectile dysfunction, compared with 37 per cent and 42 per cent respectively among those who did not ride motorcycles.
John has been riding a scooter to work for 2½ years. His sex life had not suffered. Scooters normally have wider, softer seats than motorcycles, but vibrations can still affect the genitals.
“I do have urinary flow issues, but I’m not putting it down to the scooter,” John said. “I’m a man of 62 and when you get to that age you get prostate problems. I think scooters are one of life’s greatest innovations so it would take more than that to put me off.”