When they happen (and for most of us, if you’re riding a lot, it’s nearly unavoidable), deal with saddle sores the right way.
Gynecologist Kristi Angevine explains, “Saddle sores start when friction breaks the surface of the skin enough for bacteria that normally lives on our skin’s surface, to get underneath. This defect plus bacteria forms a sore that can be difficult to care for given its location.”
Prevention of sores is best, but if you get one, here’s how to care for it:
- When off the bike, keep it clean and dry. Wash it with plain soap and water. Let the area breathe by avoiding underwear made of satin or silk. Opt for cotton, wool, any breathable fabrics or no underwear at all.
- Warm baths and hot compresses can be soothing.
- Don’t squeeze it! That prolongs healing and increases the chances of a larger infection.
- If it gets really irritated or is very painful when riding, take a few days off the saddle.
- For general perineal and vaginal health and not just when there is a saddle sore: wear only clean shorts, not ones that have been worn on a ride before and haven’t been washed. Also, after doing any exercise, change out of your workout clothing and get clean soon. This means, get out of that chamois before you drive home!
- See a doctor if the skin around the area gets red, hot, or swollen or if you get a fever.
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