Spending long periods of time perched a top a saddle make you susceptible to a number of issues around your nether regions. But, don’t despair, we share some simple preventative measures that will help alleviate these embarrassing afflictions.
It’s unsurprising your intimate area gets a rough deal as you cycle. Pressure from sitting in the saddle combined with friction caused by pedalling wreaks havoc. Add in moisture from sweating and you’ve created a lethal combination.
Numbness, swelling, urinary tract issues, ulcers and skin infections are all variants of saddle soreness. Follow these simple yet effective steps and you’ll be able to keep your nether regions healthy and comfortable.
- Well-fitted cycling shorts You'll know when you've got the right fit. The chamois pad will be flush with the saddle and they'll be no excess lumps and bumps. The legs of the shorts shouldn't ride up and everything should be snug and not move.
- Chamois cream Slather a good dollop of chamois cream on before you head out, to lubricate and reduce fiction. It's a good idea to seek out the female-friendly brands as they don't contain menthol which can be a tad tingly.
- No pants Cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear so leave your knickers at home. If you need any more convincing read why it's important not to wear pants under cycling shorts here.
- Intimate grooming It's probably best not to attack anything down there if you're about to tackle a long ride. If you have to, it's recommended to wax as opposed to shave as the hair is removed from the root so there's less chance of follicular irritation.
- Alleviate built up pressure If you've been sat in the same position for a while, stand on your pedals or gently slide to sit on another part of the saddle. This will prevent a build up of pressure on one particular spot.
- Saddle height It's incredibly important that your saddle is set up at the right height not just for your derriere, but also for your back. Focusing on the former, if your saddle is too high, constant friction from reaching for the pedals can cause horrific chafing. Flip the coin and have it too low you risk too much pressure on your crotch because your legs aren't supporting as much weight as they should.
- Toilet breaks Always remember to go to the loo before you head out for a ride. It lessens the chance of being caught short and ending up peeing in a bush at the side of the road. Unless you're 100% relaxed, which you're probably not cowering under a bush, you could cause a urinary tract infection as any remaining urine you're unable to release can stay in the tract and become stale.
- Post-ride hygiene It's always best to get changed out of your cycling shorts straight away and jump in a shower if you can. Showering helps you freshen up to prevent any bacteria breeding and removes any residual chamois cream. Wearing loose fitting, dry clothes after a ride will also let your intimate parts air out.
- Wash your cycling shorts It goes without saying that you should ensure you wear a fresh pair of shorts for each ride. Turn your cycling shorts inside out to wash to reveal the pad, and make sure the chamois is fully dry before you put back on.
- Build up your stamina The truth is, there will be a certain amount of pain when you first start riding. It's inevitable, as your bottom just isn't used to sitting perched a top a saddle for so many hours. When your bum becomes more accustomed to being in the saddle, you'll find the discomfort reducing more and more.
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Follow the guidance above and you should be able to avoid much of the discomfort associated with sitting for long periods in the saddle. If you do however end up with a serious saddle sore it may be wise to take a visit to your GP to ensure the infection doesn't spread.
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