Chafing

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by ethelred, May 28, 2008.

  1. ethelred

    ethelred New Member

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    Ah yes, kind of a delicate subject that I can't exactly ask my non-cycling friends about... I've been spending a lot of time on my road bike this spring (just bought it last September) and although the seat feels comfortable and I had an expert "fitting" when I purchased it, I have a little raw spot in a place where the sun doesn't shine. Not a saddle sore, which I haven't had, but understand they're more like pimples... this is just a tiny spot where the skin rubbed raw, and really hurts.

    Anyone else have this problem? Are there ointments or something I can put on it to help it heal? (I realize time is probably the best remedy, but hate to miss out on rides until it heals.) Also, are there ways to prevent this from happening?

    I'm in the U.S., if that makes a difference as far as over-the-counter remedies.

    Thanks for your help! (Even my husband didn't want to discuss this with me, and he's a marathon runner who has his own chafing issues!)
     
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  2. matagi

    matagi Well-Known Member

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    Ok, here goes .....

    I am assuming that you are wearing proper cycling knicks and not wearing underwear with them. If that is not the case, then you need to buy yourself a pair of good quality knicks and lose the underwear.

    Then you need to make sure that firstly your knicks fit properly ie. without excessive bunching and secondly that there are no high points in the stitching on the chamois. Either of these have the potential to create a "high spot" which will rub in the wrong place and cause chafe.

    The next thing you need is a barrier on the skin - my preference (because I'm cheap :p) is to use a zinc and castor oil diaper rash cream. You can even apply it to your chamois if needed. Although I should point out that you will need to wash your knicks in warm water to remove the stuff.

    To help the chafe point heal a little quicker, I'd suggest applying some triple antibiotic ointment (which you lucky people can buy over-the-counter, unlike us poor unfortunates down here in Australia)
     
  3. ethelred

    ethelred New Member

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    Thanks for your response! Yes, I have proper cycling shorts and don't wear them with underwear, so all is good there. I'll check the stitching to see if there's anything that's sticking out and potentially rubbing.

    I'll try the diaper cream remedy... come to think of it, I may have heard that idea before but didn't think about it until I read your response. So is it going to be OK to wash the shorts in warm water when their label says cold? I've been washing them in cold and hanging to dry, just to be safe, since they're so friggin expensive.

    Thanks again for helping a newbie! I really appreciate it, and so do my bits. :)
     
  4. matagi

    matagi Well-Known Member

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    Yes it should be fine - I wash all my cycling gear in warm water, in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, then I hang them out to dry.
     
  5. Aussie Steve

    Aussie Steve New Member

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    I washed my knicks once in warm water by accident- they stretched! so I have been super careful since then, to only use cold water. One thing I do, is put the knicks in an underwear bag- the mesh kind- only costs a few dollars, and prevents other clothes from wrapping around the knicks and stretching 'em. Dont like the idea of a jersey or shirt getting tangled in the knicks- with the centrifugal force added as well, knicks could get stretched to the max...:mad:
     
  6. matagi

    matagi Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I probably should have added that I have a very high tech European front loader (Asko brand) with a delicates cycle, which I use for washing my cycling gear (water temperature set to 40C/100F) and I haven't had a problem.

    A top-loader on the other hand can cause problems if your clothes wrap themselves around the agitator.
     
  7. C'dale Girl

    C'dale Girl New Member

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    If you don't want to mess with the home remedy, as a preventative measure Nashbar sells a chamois cream. Can't think of the name but I love it for longer rides. It's in a white bottle, that very simply has some black writing on it, with a pretty simple name too. I'll check at home later and post the name. It goes on very clean and you don't have to worry about it not coming out or being tough to get out. And a little bit goes a long way, just rubbing some into the chamois before heading out for the ride.

    Interesting about the shorts though. I've always washed my on warm, normal cycle and they do fine. Something about washing any workout clothes in cold . . . in my mind I prefer warm if at all possible because I think that gets them cleaner, so that's just what I've always done.

    I've never had any problems with them stretching or wrapping around anything. I don't even use a lingerie bag. I just throw them in. Now watch. Now that I've seen Steve's post, I'll be doomed and they'll get ruined. :rolleyes:
     
  8. C'dale Girl

    C'dale Girl New Member

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    Okay, so I'm a little late in getting back to you, but the product is Nashbar's Chamois Cream. Works good. Used it today, which is what reminded me that I said I would get back to you on the product.
     
  9. angmom

    angmom New Member

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    I've tried a product called Chamois Butter and it works great. I purchased it at my local bike shop.
     
  10. hod65

    hod65 New Member

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    i allways hand wash my gear for 5minutes warm water and soap .machine wash can over wash gear unesesarily ,wearing down fabrics etc..works for me gets them clean enough to wear..
     
  11. slowbutnotdead

    slowbutnotdead New Member

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    I use Assos Chamios Cream and have had no problems. I have a friend that uses butt butter when he has problems like this. The butt butter can be found by the diapers.
     
  12. swimmersara

    swimmersara New Member

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    Wow, that chafing sounds painful. I haven't had that but have had some ingrown hair irritation (swimmers gotta keep that bikini line smooth!) and butt butter/chamois cream has helped a lot with that, I bet it will solve your chafing issue!

    What I'm wondering is, anyone gotten an irritation more like a long lump rather than chafing? It has built up over a few months. At first I thought it was just the mythical "butt callous" but it doesn't feel rough like callouses on your hands. Sorry if I'm being an idiot. It's disconcerting,:( but for sure showed up as I've increased my weekly miles a lot this spring/summer. Thanks!
     
  13. bicycledick

    bicycledick New Member

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    You could get crotchless underwear. Some women the way their labias are might cause a problem. Maybe you could apply some jelly if the problem is rubbing. What exactly is the area and what exactly is the problem? Is the problem the inner or outer labia or on the crease next to the outer labia? You women could have named specific parts we're all mature in here.
     
  14. DRk

    DRk New Member

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    I came across this blog, and she put it well... Save the kitty :)
    Cycle Goddess
     
  15. Tamryn

    Tamryn New Member

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    Are seamless knickers okay. A friend of mine swears by them. It means you can wear your cycle shorts without the chafe. I have never been on a long enough ride for it to matter to me but I will soon.
     
  16. Square Wheel

    Square Wheel New Member

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    Wow. This thread started almost 1 and a half years ago. Anyway, the shorts may not be right for the wearer. Actually, it's the chamois that may not fit quite right. Try shorts (different model or brand) with a different chamois. Also size can be a problem. A size too small causes the chamois not to align with the body as intended. Also, it may be stretched too far to perform it job properly leading to unwanted friction. A size too large can cause the chamois to bunch in places causing exactly the problems the wearer is trying to avoid. You might try a gel chamois. Some people love them. Others hate them. I consider the butters and other lubricants a last resort. They do work for a lot of people.
     
  17. lunamander

    lunamander New Member

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    so glad you brought up this important topic. Chafing is a real problem, and probably is not gettging solved because its hard to talk about. There are a number factors involved in really solving this problem, and depending on your anatomy and riding style. So here goes ......

    As far as I can tell, this is more pf a problem for women who are bony on the pelvic floor, do not have a lot of labia majora fleshiness, or who whose labia minora or clitoris are not smallish and tucked away. If you have all 3 of these ts a tough problem.

    This can be compounded by the seat: you can spend lots of $ on seats, and women specific seats are often not the answer since they are focused on hip width but not on the width of the pelvic floor where the "tender bits" sit. Usually a cut out or indentation helps as of course does the "right" amount of seat padding specific to you.

    Shorts are a factor, padding is needed but too much is about as bad as too little in that it can bunch up and pinch (womens' shorts often have one gigunda bunchy pad whereas the better men's shorts will have some channels in the padding that might work better for you). Again whatever worked for you works for you...recommend not worrying about the "gender" of clothing: be confident you are a REAL WOMAN no matter how some piece of fabric is cut!

    Bicycle fit (including a) seat fore-to-aft placement, length of top tube / stem, and b) the reach to the handle bars, as well as c) height from shoulder to the handlebars are factors.
    Today's cycling wisdom has drop bars placed lower than in the past when the top of the stem was considered a good height if it aligned with top of the seat nose. This is more of an issue for women than men becaseu even with equivalent torso length , on average women's arms will be proportionally shorter than men's. This has to be solved at the head tube and steerer lengths which is what give the vertical rise to how high teh handlebar stem can be attached. If your bars are too low to reach when you shift into a more upright position, some women will always be forward on the pelvic floor than back on the "sits" bones.
    BTW, this is made infruriating to fix because steerers are cut short at the factory and with today's threadless headsets cannot be simply adjusted up as they were with earlier technologies. Make sure to look at these factors when bike shopping. Caveat emptor: stem with more rise may or may not help the problem. (They also tend to be clunkier and heavier)

    Anti-chafing creams can help as well, although many are water-based and some folks find this means it just gets absorbed by the shorts. Vaseline is goopy but another option. It get's in the shorts too, but a lot more stays on the skin.

    So to some extent chafing is a symptom and fixing any the root problems of position fit and saddle fit are key. These still might not make it completely go away, even when combined with the right padded shorts for your anatomy, so lube to protest the fragile tissues may still be important too.

    I suppose the increasingly common labiaplasty (yes again even in this "enlightened" era, our culture forgets normal women come in all shapes and configuration and do not look like air-brushed women in "those" magazines!) is another option for those who hang out a tad more, but gee who wants to go through that!
     
  18. DancenMacabre

    DancenMacabre New Member

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    WTF - labiaplasty to ride a darn bike????? That's insane!!!

    I have a friend thats tall, super leggy, short arms, short torso, you know, model type build. I asked her about bike sizes and she says she the only way to get a proper fit for her was to have a custom frame with personalized angles and dimensions.

    Thats hella better than cosmetic surgery.
     
  19. Spindrift_ME

    Spindrift_ME New Member

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    This post may be a year-and-a-half old but it's obviously a perennial problem, indeed, the very one that drove me to searching through cycling forums! Thanks for your advice - off to buy barrier cream now! :D
     
  20. Spindrift_ME

    Spindrift_ME New Member

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    You've got a lot of interesting information there lunamander - thanks, very helpful. A new saddle is on my birthday wish-list but in the meantime, I'm off to buy the barrier cream, as I suspect my anatomy will give me probs no matter what saddle and knicks I purchase (I've tried lots of different knicks), and, the longer the ride, the worse the problem. :p
     
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