When Cycling Hurts Your Hoo-ha

Posted on: February 22nd, 2013 by Joy Niemack
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Any woman who has spent time on a bicycle seat knows the signature ache that accompanies it – and we’re not talking about burning quads. But your lady parts don’t have to suffer. These quick fixes will put the joy back in your ride – whether you’re hitting the road or sweating it out in spinning class.

For more cycling tips from a pro


  1. Pelvic Pressure
  2. Chafing
  3. Burning And Itching
  4. A Gentler Spin Cycle

Pelvic Pressure

Pelvic pressure Below-the-belt discomfort may seem like a guy’s sports gripe but 63 percent of female cyclists have reported genital pain, numbness or tingling while riding, according to a US study.

“Initial soreness is normal and can be expected during your first few times on a bike,” says spinning instructor Laurie Cole. “But things should feel better as your body adjusts.”

To prevent pain

DITCH THE CUSHIONED SEAT COVER

Counterintuitive but true: when your entire seat is squishy, all of your parts sink down into the saddle. A harder seat keeps you propped on your ischial (or “sit”) bones, which can support your weight.

WEAR PADDED SHORTS

The cushioning is strategically placed to reduce uncomfortable pressure. Try First Ascent Women’s Ignition Cycling Shorts (R550, Sportsmans Warehouse).

ENGAGE YOUR CORE

Pulling your belly button towards your spine as if you were wearing a girdle will “reduce howmuch you bounce around in the seat,” says Cole.

CHECK YOUR SET-UP

Improper seat and handlebar positioning can throw off your posture and cause ongoing pain.

THINK BIGGER

Women have wider sit bones than men, so your seat could be too narrow. Spinning saddles are pretty much one size fits all, but if you’re a road warrior, try a broader seat, like the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Saddle (R1 450, CW Cycles). Get help If pain, numbness, tingling or burning lasts longer than a week, head to the doctor, says urogynaecologist Dr Oscar Aguirre. Although not caused by cycling, a plugged gland, abscess, ovarian cyst or pinched nerve could be responsible.

Get help

If pain, numbness, tingling or burning lasts longer than a week, head to  the doctor, says urogynaecologist Dr Oscar Aguirre. Although not caused by cycling, a plugged gland, abscess, ovarian cyst or pinched nerve could be responsible.


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