Introduction. The average bicycle police officer spends 24 hours a week on his bicycle and previous studies have shown riding a bicycle with a traditional (nosed) saddle has been associated with urogenital paresthesia and sexual dysfunction.
Aim. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the no-nose bicycle saddle as an ergonomic intervention and their acceptance among male bicycle police officers.
Methods. Bicycle police officers from five U.S. metropolitan areas were recruited for this study. Officers completed: (i) the International Index of Erectile Function Questionnaire (IIEF); (ii) computerized pressure measurements at the points of contact on the bicycle; the handlebars, the pedals, and the saddle; (iii) one night of nocturnal Rigiscan® assessment; (iv) penile vibrotactile sensitivity threshold assessed by computerized biothesiometery. Officers selected a no-nose saddle for their bicycles and were asked to use the intervention saddle exclusively for 6 months, at which point they were retested.
Main Outcome Measures. Perineal pressure, urogenital numbness, penile vibrotactile sensitivity threshold, erectile function as measure by International Index of Erectile Function Questionnaire (IIEF) and Rigiscan.
Results. After 6 months, 90 men were reassessed. Only three men had returned to a traditional saddle. The results are presented for those who used the no-nose saddle continuously for 6 months. There was a 66% reduction in saddle contact pressure in the perineal region (P < 0.001). There was a significant improvement in penis tactile sensation (P = 0.015). There was a significant improvement in erectile function assessed by IIEF (P = 0.015). There were no changes noted in the Rigiscan® measures. The number of men indicating they had not experienced urogential paresthesia while cycling for the preceding 6 months, rose from 27% to 82% using no-nose saddles.
Conclusions. (i) With few exceptions, bicycle police officers were able to effectively use no-nose saddles in their police work. (ii) Use of no-nose saddles reduced most perineal pressure. (iii) Penile health improved after 6 month using no-nose saddles as measured by biothesiometry and IIEF. There was no improvement in Rigiscan® measure after 6 months of using no nose saddles, suggesting that a longer recovery time may be needed. Schrader SM, Breitenstein MJ, and Lowe BD. Cutting off the nose to save the penis. J Sex Med 2008;5:1932–1940.