Date: Sun, 13 May 2001

From: Larry King <lking@teleport.com>

Subject: Ouch!

Mike,

You've probably already seen this. Hope it helps your cause. Keep up the

good work.

http://www.healthcentral.com/drdean/deanfulltexttopics.cfm?ID=52057&storytype=DeanTopics

The Hazards of Mountain Biking

By Dr. Dean Edell

April 26, 2001

This is news for you serious mountain bikers out there. Itís from a major

radiology journal and itís serious enough that it may just get you off your

bike. This is a sonographic investigation of mountain biking men and

scrotal abnormalities.

Researchers looked at 85 serious, off-road bikers. (This study was not

based on people who use an exercise bike at home, mind you ≠- these

subjects were serious mountain bikers.) The mountain bikers were compared

to 31 healthy nonbikers, with both groups having an average age of 24 to 25

years.

Ninety-four percent of these mountain bikers had abnormal findings with

scrotal ultrasound. Thatís almost all. This means, if you ride a mountain

bike youíll have an abnormal scrotum through ultrasound.

Some of the findings arenít that bad. Forty-six percent had histories of

intermittent scrotal tenderness or discomfort. No severe trauma. Eight-one

percent had scrotal calculi. (A calculus is not a mathematics course; itís

a calcified little nugget. Women get these in their breasts and they show

up on mammograms.)

Forty-six percent of the bikers had epididymal cysts. An epididymis is the

structure behind the testicle. Most men will feel the epididymis when they

start examining their own testicles, which is the easiest organ to feel ≠-

you can feel all the way around it, 360 degrees. Most men will discover

their epididymis at that point and think itís a lump on their testicle, but

itís not; itís a little structure behind the back of the testicle.

Researchers also found 32 percent of cyclists had testicular

calcifications, 28 percent had hydroceles (an accumulation of fluid in the

scrotum), and 11 percent had varicoceles (enlarged veins in the spermatic

cord which suspends the testis within the scrotum). One percent had

testicular microlithiasis -- those are little tiny stones in the testicles.

In the control group, abnormal findings were noted in a total of 16

percent. All of the nonbikers with scrotal abnormalities had epididymal

cysts. This is remarkable. What does it mean for the function? Are these

men not having little bikers someday? I donít think itís sterilizing. I

donít know how pathological some of these things are. Once again, these are

simply sonographic findings.

Source: Radiology, 2001;219:427-431