Women-Only Cycling Issues Explained

If you’re suffering from problems “down under,” your motivation to ride can be at an all-time low. Whether it’s saddle sores or other groin issues, learn some of the ways you can not only treat but also prevent them from cropping up again.

Gentlemen, now is the time to bail. For more general advice on preventing saddle sores, click here.

Saddle Sores

Sores in the groin, upper leg and butt area can be a nuisance—or worse: force you to take time off from cycling. The best treatment for saddle sores is preventing them. The most common sores include blocked or infected glands, which show up as lumps, chafing problems and pain in the pelvic bone area where your weight may be resting.


  • Be certain your bike is set up correctly. A saddle that is too high can force the rider to reach for the pedals, causing either pressure or chafing. A saddle that is too low doesn't allow the legs to support the body and puts excess pressures on your crotch.
  • To help prevent chafing, slather your genital area and upper thigh with a good chamois creme or BodyGlide.
  • Wear padded cycling shorts without underwear. Cycling shorts are designed to reduce friction from seams, and the padding helps reduce pressure on sensitive areas.
  • Good hygiene is essential after the ride. Take off your dirty shorts, wash your crotch and don't wear those shorts again until they have been cleaned.
  • Don't suddenly increase weekly or daily mileage on the bike.
  • If you shave the upper leg and lower torso, a light application of antibiotic ointment after shaving may help prevent red spots and infected bumps.
  • Be certain the bike seat isn't tilted too far up or down. This creates pressure, causing you to constantly push back in the saddle.
  • If problems persist, a different saddle may help, especially one with a soft or cutout area near the nose.


  • Soak in comfortably-hot bath water one to three times per day to help boils surface and drain.
  • Use antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin to aid healing.
  • Apply moleskin with an area cut out around the sore to help keep pressure off the sore itself.
  • Gentlemen, last chance. This may be information you'd rather not know.
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