Myths in urology: what's right and what's not?

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Many popular wisdom do not stand up to closer examination

Numerous myths circulate around urology: “Riding a bike makes you impotent” or “Cold bladder infections” are classics. But in which of these statements is there really a spark of truth and which are the results of an expert review? Dr. Reinhold Schaefer, urologist and managing director of the medical network Uro-GmbH North Rhine, an association of resident urologists, explains five common legends in urology.

Do laptops, cell phones etc. make you impotent? Common topic: male potency and fertility. Technical devices in particular are repeatedly suspected of endangering masculinity. According to popular belief, heat from seat heating or when using a laptop on the lap affects the fertility of the man. "It is true that testicles cannot tolerate strong heat and the optimal temperature for unrestricted semen production is below body temperature," explains Dr. Schaefer, "for permanent damage, however, it would be necessary to overheat for weeks or months." However, it is possible that long exposure to heat briefly reduces sperm quality.

Mobile phones, on the other hand, are considered to be damaging to fertility, primarily due to the radiation they emit. According to the current state of science, however, this fear seems largely unfounded. Here too, heat, which cell phones give off when they are carried in trouser pockets, is at most the cause of a temporarily restricted sperm quality.

The rumor also persists that cycling makes you impotent. However, urologists also contradict this frequently expressed assumption. Even those who cycle a lot and for a long time do not suffer any damage. Experts attribute any pain after longer tours to a misalignment of the saddle. "However, even these painful irritations do not indicate any restrictions in potency," emphasizes Dr. Shepherd. He recommends wide, softly padded saddles and an inclination of the tip down.

Women's suffering and insider tips under scrutiny But not only men are confronted with half and untruths in urology. When it comes to female gender, folk wisdom is often about a disease that many women really suffer from: a bladder infection. According to popular belief, hypothermia causes so-called cystitis. In fact, wetness and cold favor the development of a bladder infection at best. The cause is bacteria that enter the bladder in a variety of ways. With a lot of drinking and keeping the feet and abdomen warm, however, those affected in some cases prevent the irritation of the bladder from causing inflammation.

As a gentle means of preventing or even fighting a urinary tract infection, many recommend the consumption of cranberry juice, capsules or the dried fruit. But here too it can be seen that myth and reality often do not match. "Studies have shown that a substance contained in the berry makes bacteria difficult to attach to the walls of the bladder, but it does not provide reliable protection or an effective remedy for inflammation," says Dr. Schaefer clear. (pm)

Picture: Dr. Klaus-Uwe Gerhardt /

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