I really wanted to name this post My Poor Vagina but I went for a more U rated title. A couple of weekends ago I did an 80km bike ride, I felt uncomfortable during the ride but when I got home and looked down there let’s just say it looked a bit swollen, especially on one side! In all fairness the ride was longer than the rides I have been doing recently which of course has been a factor in feeling saddle sore however I had never seen it like this so I thought I would do a bit of research.
Saddle sore is a bit of an umbrella term and doesn’t specifically mean just pain on the front or or back of your downstairs region. Saddle sore can include chaffing, soreness/numbness, it can cause UTI infections or yeast infections the lot. Due to cycling historically being a more male dominated sport and sometimes women not speaking out on this subject that there hasn’t been a lot of research into saddle sore in females. A few days after starting this post I read an article from Emma Dines a GB cyclist which felt very fitting and shows the extremes that woman have to go to….surgery.
So what things can you do to help prevent saddle sore?
Chaffing – for both women and men get some Chamois cream.
Saddle – Depending on the area where you are feeling pain you may choose a different type of saddle. Although the cut out have been made to relieve pressure they can also create an area for swelling. So depending on where you get sore and how you sit on your saddle this may or may not be the best option for you.
Bike fit – Getting a bike fit and ensuring your bike is set up properly for your body is beneficial for a whole host of reasons not just saddle sore. Every body is different and this will help in making sure you have done everything you can to ride comfortable and safely.
Hygiene – As soon as you get off the bike shower or use a biodegradable wet wipe. This helps to reduce the spread of infection, especially after being on a bike and getting rather sweaty down there.
Hair Removal – So removing your hair may be a contributing factor to sores when cycling. Think ingrowing hairs and the fact that your hair is a layer of protection for your soft tissues. However if all off is the way you roll then make sure you have a nice clean shave and use cream post shaving or have a wax!
Padding – Getting good padded shorts or tights is an absolute must for cycling.
Don’t be Embarrassed – if you have a very swollen labia go to the doctors. The same is when you go and get a bike fit or advice for a new saddle, say “I need a saddle and a bike fit that isn’t going inflame my vagina”.
Ladies let me know whether this is something that effects you or any other advice you may have. If there are any men out there reading this, good on you for getting this far and educating yourself on what women go through!