Can riding a motorcycle cause testicular pain? (Ouch!)

Yes riding a motorcycle can cause testicular pain under certain conditions.

These conditions can vary widely for example the type of motorcycle, the suspension used, the riding terrain, indirect causes such as previously unknown\known medical issues, or more commonly direct causes like injury or trauma.

In this article, I will explain the major risk factors to consider, how different types of motorcycles put more risk of causing testicular pain than others, and how suspensions fit into all of this.

I will explore which riding terrain aggravates testicles the most and give you a little information on indirect and direct causes of testicular pain while riding a motorcycle.

Main risk factors to testicular pain from riding a motorcycle

As discussed earlier there are many factors that contribute to testicular pain when riding a motorcycle such as the type of motorcycle, the suspension used, the riding terrain, indirect causes, and direct causes.

However, there are 2 main risk factors to consider, how much vibration will reach the testicles and how much of a risk of injury or trauma to the testicles does the motorcycle have?

With vibration, it can be a bit tricky, one study showed that 20 minutes of vibration can actually reduce testicular pain but we have to keep in mind the study was limited to 10 participants.

On the other hand, we have a larger study with humans and animals where we see that vibration can cause damage to the reproductive system including the size of testicles, low sperm counts, and sexual disorders.

That study shows us that vibration can cause testicular pain however in the short term, it seems more likely that it will aggravate any previous conditions rather than cause immediate pain.

In the long run, it seems clear that it may lead to conditions that in the future will cause testicular pain and reproductive issues.

This leaves us with the perhaps more concerning factor which is how much risk of injury or trauma to the testicles themselves.

How much this risk will affect a person comes down to what type of motorcycle is being ridden, the suspension type and how it is set up, and the terrain driven on and how the motorcycle is used.

It all breaks down to how exposed the testicles are and how vulnerable to twisting, direct blows, or pressure placed on them.

How the type of motorcycle contributes to testicle pain

The type of motorcycle driven can have a wide range in risk in how it can cause testicular pain. The main ones are seat height, riding position, how you use the motorcycle, and the amount of vibration felt by the rider.

Seat height can have a huge impact on the risk of injury or trauma because when the rider comes to a stop a foot must be placed on the ground to avoid falling over.

If during this procedure the rider has to shift position or move in any way to accomplish this, the potential for injury or trauma to the testicles increases with the amount of movement necessary to place a foot on the ground.

This is most prevalent in the case of dirtbikes which can have extremely large seat heights, especially when compared to motorcycles designed for street use only.

The riding position can have a dramatic effect on the risk of testicular trauma or injury as well depending on where a rider places their arms, hands, and feet.

Motorcycles such as bobbers require the rider to hunch forward which can place more pressure on the testicles putting them at greater risk of injury and trauma.

How a motorcycle is used also has its effect on the risks as well. If a motorcycle is driven down the highway there is less risk of injury or trauma than one that is taking hard corners or driving in heavy traffic with lots of stops and starts.

With sportbikes, for example, cornering can involve the rider shifting their riding position drastically, especially in hard corners where the motorcycle becomes almost parallel with the ground.

This can put the rider’s testicles in a compromised position where more pressure may be placed on them, increase the chance of being bumped or squished, or allow them to be twisted all of which can result in testicular pain.

The amount of vibration a motorcycle produces can aggravate any current medical issues as well as lead to further complications of testicular issues that cause pain especially when riding.

Motorcycles like the Honda Goldwing with its 180-degree opposable cylinder engine helps to reduce vibration whereas a big V-twin engine of a custom chopper has the opposite effect of increasing vibration.

How the suspension contributes to testicular pain

Most motorcycles use a fluid-filled fork suspension on the front which more or less acts the same in contributing to possible testicular pain.

However, there are 2 main types of suspension used on the rear of motorcycles and both contribute in their own way to testicular pain while riding a motorcycle.

The first is a mono-shock suspension that is really good at absorbing large bumps it has a tendency to be bouncy on smaller bumps and this can lead to trauma and injury to the testicles.

The other is a dual-shock suspension similar to an automotive strut, which helps with smaller bumps but can be problematic with bigger bumps and in turn, cause the rider to slip and cause damage to the testicles.

Another thing to consider with suspension is the setup. If a motorcycle suspension is set up for a lighter weight than the rider it can bottom out causing conditions that can lead to injury or trauma.

On the other hand, if the suspension is set up for a weight heavier than the rider the suspension might not absorb impacts correctly and that may put the rider’s testicles in a vulnerable position.

How riding terrain contributes to testicular pain

Riding terrain will likely have the biggest impact on the testicles because riding on rough terrain increases the chances of needing to perform unexpected maneuvers which leave the testicles exposed to injury or trauma.

With street bikes, potholes, train track crossings, and manhole covers are the most likely sources of rough terrain faced. Either one can cause a rider to slip and injure their testicles.

Dirtbikes are constantly exposed to rough terrain from logs, dirt mounds, and holes. This can lead to unexpected maneuvers, jumps, and quick stops which all expose the testicles to potential injury or trauma.

On top of that many dirtbike riders use their feet frequently when riding either to help turn corners or to help absorb the shock of the rough terrain.

This allows the testicles to move around and all it takes is one slip or miscalculated maneuver and their testicles can be sat on, squeezed between the legs and seat, or even twisted.

Direct causes of testicular pain while riding a motorcycle

Direct causes of testicular pain while riding are due to injury or trauma to the testicles.

The major injuries or traumas are epididymitis (testicle inflammation), hydrocele (fluid buildup that causes swelling of the scrotum), orchitis (inflamed testicle), spermatocele (fluid buildup in the testicle), and testicular torsion (twisted testicle).

Indirect causes of testicular pain while riding a motorcycle

Indirect causes are preexisting medical conditions whether known or unknown to the rider.

The leading preexisting conditions leading to testicular pain while riding a motorcycle are varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum), inguinal hernia, or kidney stones.

Final thoughts

Although there are not many studies relating specifically to motorcycle riding causing testicular pain there is a large number of studies showing riding a bicycle does cause testicular pain.

My argument here is that if it happens on a bicycle it isn’t that far of a reach saying the same can happen when riding a motorcycle.

Anyone who has had a foot slip during the landing of a jump with a dirtbike, perhaps shited their body position wrong on a hard corner with a sportbike, or had to unexpectedly brake heavy will certainly tell you motorcycles can cause testicular pain.

As always feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or topics you want to be covered

Links

https://urology.stanford.edu/content/dam/sm/urology/JJimages/publications/Evaluation-of-external-vibratory-stimulation-as-a-treatment-for-chronic-scrotal-pain-in-adult-men-A-single-center-open-label-pilot-study.pdf

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10499149/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/testicle-pain/basics/causes/sym-20050942

https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/t/testicular-trauma

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/16292-testicular-pain

https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/e/epididymitis-and-orchitis

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