View Full Version : Serious question - Men's health and unicycling.

2005-01-19, 01:42 PM
Last month I was taken ill with Prostatitis - An inflamation/infection of the Prostate Gland. I was pretty sick with this, fever/chills, headaches, contant dull pain in the lower back, difficulty taking a pee (very slow) and servere fatigue.

After tests doctors found I have a very high PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) reading of 15ng/mL over the normal level of 0-2ng/mL, or 0.5ng/mL for someone of my age, 30yrs old. A course of antibiotics was prescribed for a month and come the begining of this month I felt fine. My GP was very worried as a person of my age shouldn't have prostate issues and there's always the worry of the 'C' word so I was sent to a specialist. The latest PSA test still showed a level of 4.7ng/mL, which is still too high.

Now, could this be related to Unicycling? I've only been riding a unicycle 5 months, but it's a whole load of pressure in that area. I've read about cyclists having cases of Prostatitis, and recently motorcyclists, but suprisingly there's very little information (none) on the rare breed of us unicyclists!

The specialist told me to stop riding my unicycle for now, after finding it highly amusing! Though he would like me to find further info if a I can. This is where you guys come in.

Has anyone suffered from any of the following since they started unicycling -

Prostatitis, high PSA count?

Pains/ aches to the lower back? testicles? (this doesn't include suicide mounts!!)

Sweats - fever/chills? Headaches?

Fatigue? (not being tired from riding a heroic distance!)

Decreased urine flow? incontinence?

Any other info....

Thanks for you assistance. I do hope it's not the unicycling that's caused it as it's really good fun and learning new stuff is a great challenge.


*you may want to post as guest (is this possible?) or PM me your answers.

2005-01-19, 02:46 PM
When I started unicycling I weighed 107 kilos/235 pounds.
At first I had big problems with bruises and blisters at the very tops of my thighs where my weight sits. The bruises went away when I learned to balance and stopped doing the thighgrip of death on the seat. The blisters got lots better when I bought a Kris Holm seat.
My weight dropped to 93 kilos/ 204 pounds after three months or so, but I still had regular problems with bruising and strain in the prostate area.
Most of the incomplete solution for me was some of Andrew_Carter's advice, "keep one-third of your weight on the pedals". That's a *lot* more work than keeping my weight on the uni, maybe because I weight more than most unicyclists? Anyway, the bruising and strain has almost disappeared and my legs are *far* more muscular!
I've started gaining weight again, but now it's only muscle. My 22 years of programming experience is no longer obvious! :-)

As for the symptoms you asked about, I have had testicle pain when I rode more than two hours every day, no clue about my PSA count. I have had decreased urine flow during the two plus hours each day binge. Since then I decided to cut down on unicycling and practice keeping one-third of my weight on the pedals always. I still can't keep it up for more than 45 minutes or so, but I'm getting better.

2005-01-19, 03:11 PM
I'd love to have a commend of Kris Holm in here, he's one of the Unicyclists who rode like forever, and he's in the 'critical' age I would say (no offense on that, Kris).

I'm only riding about 8 Months now, and so far, no problems. Whereas I don't do long distance, so I get out of my saddle very often, which makes my blood flow...

Nevertheless: I'm concerned about fertility and health. I'm addicted, but I don't want to end up not being able to pee anymore...


2005-01-19, 04:26 PM
It sounds odd that you should develop a medical problem like that in only 5 months, but if cycling can cause prostatitis unicycling can too.
I haven't heard of any cases of prostatitis among unicyclists, but thanks for the warning.

I hope it goes away soon. Otherwise it's time for seat out skills and an ultimate- or bc-wheel.

2005-01-19, 05:23 PM
yes swollen ball not both but one. lots of the same symptems here. maybe a doctor visit is needed

2005-01-19, 05:25 PM
I'm in my early 40s, have ridden for about 10 years, though only the last 4 years for any distance/muni. I hadn't considered prostate problems as a result of unicycling and haven't noticed any of the symptoms you mention.

I have no medical training, but if you were prescribed antibiotics Jonjon, then presumably that was because of a bacterial infection and I don't see how an infection could have resulted from sitting on a saddle, bruising maybe, but not infection - any insights or enlightenment from anyone with medical knowledge/experience of male problems would be welcome.

I have wondered about reduced infertility due to:

a) Damage to testes from accidental sitting on them or overheating on long rides (nut roast).

b) damage to blood vessels that feed the errectile function, which the cycling community seem to have taken on board with the design of male friendly saddles, i.e cutaway at the area of contact with the perineum and base of the pen1s.

Personally I discount a) because I have 4 fit & healthy kids and have been firing blanks for several years now anyway. You younger riders may want to bear it in mind i.e. suicide mount with care and take regular cooling breaks on long rides; I guess wearing padded cycle shorts may help with the former, but hinder the latter.

I also am not overly concerned about b) because I have been married for 20 years already and loss of errectile function, though it would be missed, I could live (and ride unicycles) without - there's always Viagra if one gets lucky ;). It hasn't happened yet, the loss of function :D or the getting lucky :(. I must try cutting away some of the front middle padding on the seat on my Coker uni, a la male friendly cycle saddle style, or it would be easy to leave a lengthwise gap between the folds of the innertube on an airseat - hmmmm, I feel a session in the workshop coming on.

Thanks Jonjon for raising the issue - those girlies have it easy, eh !


CRAZY legs
2005-01-19, 05:29 PM
I did a school report on this smae thing but on bikes. you shouldnt unicycle more than ten hours a day

2005-01-19, 05:48 PM
Originally posted by munidobs
suicide mount with care

what a brilliant quote! :P

2005-01-19, 06:01 PM
Originally posted by munidobs
I don't see how an infection could have resulted from sitting on a saddle, bruising maybe, but not infection

Actually, the rubbing, or, chaffing, from the seat, does create open wounds, although not any more then the first layer of skin, wounds none the less, which could get infected, and spread to the scrotum, or depending on how you sit start directly at the scrotum, as for infertility, I don't think pressure plays much of a role, I learned to sit in a position that was kind to my man package within the first day of ridding, although accidents do happen sometimes, no more often then other sports where you sit on a seat, motocross, bmx, but the heat could cause a infertility problem, I even read that men that use laptops often may have infertility problems, because of the emense heat on there laps, I live in a reletivly cold climent so I don't really have to worrie to much exept durring the summer I suppose, but I think the moral of this story, is to wear something that circulates air well, and will slide easily, along your legs to prevent chaffing, so once again we look the the bike shorts, although i'd never wear a pair, they make you look like a queer.

P.S. if you live in florida, use a laptop often, and ride a uni, your screwed. But for the rest of us, BE FREE AND PROPOGATE ON OUR UNI'S!

2005-01-19, 06:04 PM
This is the first I've heard of this medcal issue in relation to unicycling. For the most part, I think you're just unlucky, though the unicycle could have been a contributing factor.

For the people who have had actual erectile dysfunction and other medical issues from cycling, generally they are the ones putting in several hours a day in the saddle. If you haven't been riding several hours every day, you are unlikely to be susceptible there.

But as a relatively new rider (only 5 months) you are still learning lots of new things, which can mean lots of legs clamping the seat, high energy for low output, and general greater abuse to your body than when you get more set in your ways.

Tell us about your seat and riding habits. What kind of seat, what kind of riding do you do, hours per day, etc.?

None of us are medical professionals. But if I had to guess, it's possible the unicycle contributed to a bacterial infection that occurred through whatever means. Or, if you don't wash your shorts enough, unicycling could have contributed to that as well...

2005-01-19, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by shapr
I still can't keep it up for more than 45 minutes or so, but I'm getting better.

Not Bad!;) Of course he was asking about your prostrate, not your sex life.:D

Just curious, what kind of shape is your doctor in? Every out of shape, overweight, poor excuse for a "Health Proffesional" that I have ever seen makes the suggestion that some exercise I am doing should be eliminated. I chalk it up to misery loves company. I then tell them "That's not what my Pharmasist say's to do." or something like "On the internet it say's..."

2005-01-19, 07:24 PM
Originally posted by cyberpunk
...bike shorts, although i'd never wear a pair, they make you look like a queer.
Huh?!? How do they do that? They may make it easier to tell if you've been circumcised, but that's more related to religious affiliation than sexual orientation.

2005-01-19, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by cyberpunk
bike shorts, although i'd never wear a pair, they make you look like a queer.I wear bike shorts under normal shorts. You don't see them, and they're very comfortable.


2005-01-19, 09:09 PM
i had a pair that were made shoddily and wore through where my junk was resting(just above the pad) when the light hit it just right it was about invisible. my girlfriend and rideing partners don't let me wear those shorts anymore for biking or uni.

i think you must just be unlucky, especially after only 5 months. i doubt the unicycle is much of a factor if at all. i think its similar to cycling in that if you have a good seat and know how to sit on it so you don't go numb/get really sore in the package area you should be fine. i mean, greg lemond his soemthing like 4 kids and he's spent more time on the bike in his life than most of us put together.

2005-01-20, 05:11 AM
If it was something bacterial then you just gotta change your shorts and underwear more frequently and wash them well.

But for the other issues, I guess some people are more prone to these problems than others i.e. some sort of genetic predisposition. I do get a bit of pain once in a while but nothing serious yet.

Some people recomend taking more breaks when you ride but I find that hard especially when you're chasing down a PB. But since I've started riding longer distances I've switched to boxers for the rest of the day. Plus for people worried about becoming sterile I would suggest making a donation in a sperm bank, just in case........

Klaas Bil
2005-01-20, 08:23 AM
There have been threads about this serious issue before. Some of them
are listed at
Not all of them are specifically on this topic (e.g. the first one)
but some carry appropriate information.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
It's impossible to get old when you ride a unicycle - John (what's in a name) Childs

2005-01-20, 10:05 AM
I am in a process of prostate cancer scare.My medical colleague stuck fingre in my behind and INSTANTLY ordered all investigations including prostate biopsy.I had a grant to became urologist and did 6 moths intensive training as already qualified general surgeon./ I did try it (urology) to please my father as he was prominent urologist./ I could not develope affinity to this specialty so I left and continued to do trouma-orthopeadics.

The above did not prevent me from experiencing (manually only) numerous male rectums- prostate included. Some of them(prostates) loaded with abnormal additions(cancer lumps).

It was why I have instructed my lady friend to examine me ,having given her istructions...........The prostate was smooth.

So far all other examination results came negative BUT biopsy, results of which I will get on 27.01.05.

The biopsy involves some 8-10 punch-stub wounds in the prostate some 4mm in diameter delivered by 'air gun'under ultra sound inspection.I HAVE BEEN ON UNI 8 DAYS AFTER THE ABOVE- NO PROBLEMS AND NO AGGRAVATION. So I have my doubts about,
moderate, uniing doing a lot of bad to the prostate.
Certainly excessive weight of rider and long distaces may cause agro.('Nature agrees with moderation')
I hope my biopsy will be OK.;)

2005-01-20, 01:12 PM
I still don't see how a skin infection might spread to the prostate gland ! The original postee didn't mention saddle abrasion or any resulting skin infection.

I would have thought the prostate gland is pretty well padded up there, with quite a bit of pelvic floor muscle, colon etc. between it and the saddle. Those of us who's 9 to 5 require us to sit 8hrs a day on our arses must put at least as much pressure on the prostate as a few hours unicycling a week.

Recent scientific studies, reported in New Scientist among others, but I don't have the references to hand ( appropriately phrased, though I say so myself ), recommend regular evacuation of the prostate to help maintain prostate health - I'm all for that approach rather than give up or cut down on unicycling :D


2005-01-20, 05:41 PM
Originally posted by munidobs
I still don't see how a skin infection might spread to the prostate gland ! The original postee didn't mention saddle abrasion or any resulting skin infection. ............................................END OF QUOTE.

True it is slightly fare fetched association. All I can say 'In the cinema and the medicine everything is possible'. :D

2005-01-21, 01:48 AM
Ive been riding over 4 1/2 yrs. I did long distance and all the types of riding and have never had a problem (exept for the rare nutting of missing a trick). although my friend accross the street who started 9 mo. ago had a similar problem, but got it from landing whrong on my mountain bike. I Don't think many people get the problem from unicyclig cause the saddles are a lot softer and better shaped tahn the cruel bike saddles.

2005-01-21, 11:44 AM
Thanks for your feedback everyone! A tricky subject I know, but I really do appreciate it.

We're looking at what could have caused my Prostatitis from all angles, the unicycling could have been one of them, a contributing factor, or nothing to do with it at all....... and let's get this cleared up, I have no open wounds in my crotch area!

'Acute' Prostatitis can be caused by a number of things, some are initially ruled out for me (STDs and 'uncleanliness'), others could be likely - diet, stress, trauma, or as my GP said "you can just get it". I have a stressful job and didn't rest enough, which I've tried to change since the scare. I drank way too much coffee and have been caffine free for 6 weeks now, otherwise I eat very healthily anyway. The trauma could be looked at in two ways - internally (errr, nope) or to the region, and that's where the unicycling could come in. Once you've had 'acute' prostatitis there is a chance it will be recurrant and/or will develop into cronic prostatitis - let's hope not.

It's possible that a slower flow and possible retained urine could have caused infection, and it is possible that the unicycling may have caused this. Then again it may not have and I could have just been unlucky.

I wear a 'sports support' to keep my balls out of harms way, and on longer rides I wear cycling shorts. Both my unis have Kris Holm saddles. My uni-ing is a mix of off-road messing about for upto 5miles (no major rides for me!) or practising my skils in a carpark (backwards, seat out, kerbs, steps, riding on walls etc.).

I've been fine for a few weeks and ventured out last weekend for a few miles through the woods. I felt fine, though I will admit that my pee was a little slower a day after and I'd had the sweats at night again, but no full blown fever or illness. I'm fine now though.

I have to see a uroligist next week so hopefully all will be well.

Pwood - get yourself checked out if you have these symptoms
Uniwitold - best of luck with your results.


Ken Cline
2005-01-21, 09:43 PM
"jonjon" <jonjon@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:

> I drank way too much coffee and have been caffine free for 6 weeks
> now, otherwise I eat very healthily anyway.

Lots of people like to demonize coffee, but I have yet to see credible
support for the claim that its consumption is detrimental to one's
health. At least for American style filtered coffee (when brewed in a
french press, coffee is reported to adversly affect cholesteral).

I know you can find tons of web sites out there filled with scary
claims about the dangers of coffee, but they don't really hold up
under scrutiny. I blame American puritanism for the anti-coffee bias:
Drugs are bad, coffee is a drug, coffee is bad, Q.E.D.

That said, I'm not a coffee drinker and I think it is dandy if you,
too, choose not to drink coffee.


2005-01-22, 10:40 AM
The reason to see urologist to start with, in my case, was frequency amounting to few night calls.
At that stage I have drunk red wine over the week end.
The appointment came some 6 weeks after I have drastically reduced amount of wine cosumed.
Two weeks down to reducing of the amount I WAS SYMPTOMLESS.
So I had considerable doubts whether I should keep the appointment......assuming I have found the cause of the symptoms.
Happy MODERATE drinking!:D