(HealthDay) -- Low handlebar positioning relative to the bicycle saddle is associated with increased perineal saddle pressure and decreased sensation in critical pelvic floor structures, according to research published online March 5 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Sarah N. Partin, M.S.P.H., of the Texas A&M Health Science Center in College Station, and colleagues performed a sub-analysis on a group of 48 previously-studied competitive female cyclists who were nonpregnant, premenopausal women who rode at least 10 miles per week, four weeks per month. Genital sensation was measured in microns using biosthesiometry measures of vibratory thresholds. Perineal and total saddle pressures were determined using a specialized pressure map and recorded in kilopascals (kPA).
The researchers found that handlebars positioned lower than the saddle correlated with significantly increased perineum saddle pressures and decreased anterior vaginal and left labial genital sensation. No association was found between low handlebars and total saddle pressures or altered genital sensation in other areas. After adjusting for variables of age and saddle type, low handlebars were linked with significant increases in mean perineum saddle pressures (3.47 kPA) and anterior vagina vibratory threshold (0.86 microns).
"Handlebars positioned lower than the saddle were significantly associated with increased perineum saddle pressures and decreased genital sensation in female cyclists," the authors write.
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