IN 2008 A RESEARCH conducted by doctors from Japan brought out grim findings vis-a-vis motorcycle riding. The research findings that were published in the International Journal of Impotence Research indicated that motorbike riding causes impotence to some degree.
In the research, it was found that vibrations and the electromagnetic waves emanating from the bike in motion could lead to one contracting prostate cancer and also becoming impotent over time. The studies further explained that the men who rode motorcycles at least three times a week were seven times more susceptible to falling victims to the conditions.
Despite these gloomy generation-threatening findings, most riders especially in Kenya are oblivious. In fact, day by day more and more youths are taking to the roads to make a few bucks. In Kenya, motorcycle taxi, in common parlance referred to as boda boda, is a major income generating activity. More interestingly, younger and younger youths are doing this business, totally oblivious of the possible dangers that they are exposing themselves to.
In 2018, the motorbike operators in the rural Nyamira banned unmarried men from operating the business. Whether the move was taken to safeguard posterity and to preserve the future generation or for other reasons remains an issue of debate.
To get a clearer picture of the issue that is, I talked to Dr Samson Misango, who has practised medicine for 27 years. He has also been a urologist for seven years now. In addition, he specialises in the male reproductive system. Moreover, he is the head doctor and head of surgery at Kiambu Level 5 hospital.
He says that the findings are true, but quickly points out the health benefits of riding motorcycles first.
“Riding bikes is not all that bad. It helps to increase air circulation in the body and boosts one psyche. In addition riding motorbike is a good health exercise and the rider gains much more in comparison with one who does not do anything,” he says.
However, he adds that the vibrations from a motorcycle interfere with nerves in the body, especially the ones in the perineum area.
“One you interfere with the nerves around the reproductive system, the whole system is affected and over time, one can develop erectile dysfunction. The electromagnetic waves from the bike also affect the body part and interfere with the production of the testosterone hormone. This interference can result to prostate cancer, if it persists over a long time,” he adds.
However, most riders are unaware of this.
Francis Kemuma has been riding boda boda for eight years now and says that his health is intact.
“It’s true I feel the vibrations, especially when am riding uphill but that is normal. Again, I do feel the heat from the engine because the engine is just below the seat and you sit above it always when riding. But I have a family with children and am pretty normal,” he says.
Geoffrey Onchieku, a rider also says that he has been riding for seven years and the only thing that he feels is cold.
“When we were young, we used to ride bicycles and people warned us that if we did that for long, we could not have families. But we grew and got children. Now that the era of motorbikes has come, they are telling us the same thing that we will not sire kids,” he says.
However, Wilfred Ogato says that he has felt the effects somewhat ever since he started riding motorbikes three years ago.
“I strain a lot when carrying a heavy load. My back aches so much, and you know there is a connection between sex performance and the back strength. And by the way before I started doing boda boda business I was quite well in bed. Nowadays am not as strong as before yet am only 28 years old,” he says.
On his part, Evans Ngoko, the chairman of boda boda operators in one of the station in Nyamira County says that his men are pretty fine save for a few issues.
“Majority of us have children and we have no cancer. The only problem that we face is high pneumonia, because Kisii is quite cold and we wake up very early and take to the road. Again it’s quite a challenge when one of us is involved in an accident as we all don’t have helmets,” he says.
Dr Misango says most of the patients who get motorcycle accidents are affected in the reproductive system and it necessitates that they undergo surgery.
“Such men can’t urinate well, and they also cannot perform sex as their penises can’t erect well, In fact the biggest risk is fatal accidents involving motorbikes,” he says. He says that the risks can be reduced.
Story and Photos by Steve Mokaya
A cancer of the prostate gland, a part of the male reproductive system
Very common (More than 3 million cases per year in US)
Often requires lab test or imaging
Treatment from medical professional advised
Can last several years or be lifelong
Prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that helps in semen production. Prostate cancer develops when the prostate cells undergo genetic changes. Changes in urination, painful ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction are the main symptoms. Treatments include chemotherapy, medications to stop hormone activity, radiation therapy, and surgery. These can be used alone or in combinations to treat cancer.
Early stage prostate cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms. Symptoms commonly noted during the advanced stage include:
- Trouble urinating
- Frequent urination
- Decreased force of urination
- Difficulty starting or stopping urine stream
- Blood in semen
- Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area
- Bone pain
The choice of treatment is based on type and stage of cancer, and the overall health of the patient. Low-risk prostate cancer may not need immediate treatment, but regular follow-up is advised.
- Hormone therapy – Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists: Drugs to prevent production of the hormone testosterone.
Leuprorelin · Goserelin · Triptorelin
- Anti-androgens: Drugs to prevent testosterone from reaching cancer cells.
Bicalutamide · Nilutamide
- Chemotherapy: Drugs to kill cancer cells.
Taxotere · Cabazitaxel
Medical procedures: Radical prostatectomy · Orchiectomy · Cryoablation
Therapies: Radiation therapy
A prostate cell becomes cancerous due to a change in its gene. The exact cause for this change is unknown. The following are risk factors:
- Increasing age
- Race: black men are at increased risk
- Family history