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Desperate Help Needed With Saddle Sores

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Desperate Help Needed With Saddle Sores

Old 06-08-19, 06:21 PM
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Sojodave
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Desperate Help Needed With Saddle Sores

I've got a 140 mile charity ride on June 15th and I've recently developed saddle sores on any distance over 50 miles. I'm desperate for a solution so that long of a ride doesn't cause me an incredible amount of pain.

Backstory:
I spent 2.5 blissful years on the Specialized Power Expert, but I thought I could do better. I went through 6 saddles and decided to go back to the Power Expert saddle. All was well until three weeks ago. While training for the 140 mile ride, I've developed saddle sores on any ride over 50 miles. The saddle sores are the rash kind. I don't feel this pain on my 20 to 30 training rides mid-week. I only feel them on the long rides on the weekends that are over 50 miles.

Pre-Cautions:
I use good quality bibs with a good chamois. I use Chamois Butt'r on my skin and on my bibs. I did have a fit from a Specialized dealer two years ago and my fit is the same as it was last year. I try and get off my saddle every 10 minutes during rides. I try and jump into a shower after every ride and I try and be as clean as possible.

Options:
  1. Reapply Chamois Butt'r every 25 miles?
  2. I did try out the Pro Stealth saddle which I still have. I could switch my saddle to the Pro Stealth, but with only a week until a huge ride, that could be a giant mistake.
  3. Going nuclear would mean I go buy another saddle such as the Brooks Cambium Carve C17, but that could also be a giant mistake.
  4. Buy new bibs and hope they work.
Does anyone have any other suggestions to save my bum?
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Old 06-08-19, 07:19 PM
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Have your WBC checked.
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Old 06-08-19, 07:27 PM
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It depends. What might work for you might be the exact opposite result for someone else. For example, I went a totally different direction to reduce my sores. Stopped wearing padded bike shorts and went to lighter athletic underwear and regular shorts. My guess is the moisture reduction and increased airflow was the benefit. On really long repeated days I occasionally wipe hand sanitizer around down there. Seems to help.
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Old 06-08-19, 07:30 PM
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Try lowering your saddle a few millimeters. I had a similar situation and lowering the saddle a little did it for me.
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Old 06-08-19, 07:49 PM
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Also try something other than Butt'r. Bodyglide or the Gold Bond version is what I like. Something about what you are doing is wrong, you shouldn't have issues with a 50 mile ride.
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Old 06-08-19, 07:55 PM
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Have you talked to your doctor about this?
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Old 06-08-19, 07:56 PM
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So, my current unproven thinking is that the specific inflamed painful sores are basically butt acne.

On that basis, perhaps shower before and after rides with a salicyclic acid facial wash, make sure your shorts are insanely clean (consider all of machine, vinegar soak, and hand wash) and get out of them ASAP after each ride.

That said, every idea I could think of hasn't quite eliminated the one that developed over the past few weeks. Tomorrow's metric+ ride may be... interesting.

If you just mean general rawness and irritation that heals in the following days, that's not saddle sores but merely saddle soreness - for that, yes, bring chamois cream to re-apply. You can get the foil packets, I personally squeeze the big tube into emptied out and carefully washed 1oz hand lotion sample tubes (gold bond, etc) to bring on rides. And consider something like hand lotion, bag balm, A&D or whatever after your post-ride shower.
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Old 06-08-19, 09:36 PM
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I'm willing to bet 90% of saddle issues stem from bike fit issues and not the saddle shape or level of padding itself.
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Old 06-08-19, 09:57 PM
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Two thoughts - I started using a beard trimmer at the closest setting for my pubic hair that can contact the seat. Wow! What an improvement. (I;m in my sixties. Those hairs are a lot longer than when I was young. The get tugged. And, if you have to ride when you have issues or think you might - Bag Balm. Not sexy, chic or expensive. It just works. Use lots.
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Old 06-09-19, 12:00 AM
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Hand sanitizer like Purell on the rear, before and after riding. It's basically alcohol in a gel form. Don't get it near the middle, of course.

Then a tiny bit of bag balm over the Purell. Hardly any at all.

Wash your shorts in warm water, add a tablespoon of chlorine bleach to the water and let it agitate before adding clothes. It won't bleach them or affect the lycra but does control odor and whatever might be stubborn in the chamois.

Also, a certain magnesium supplement really gave me sores until I stopped. Not sure why.

Finally, I was still having an occasional sore until I rode a rented bike with saddle further back than normal for a week (my saddle on rented bike). No sores after I modified the saddle location on my own bike. Yes, I did have a professional fit, but I guess it wasn't optimal.
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Old 06-09-19, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
Have you talked to your doctor about this?
This is one possibility to check out. For me, the same or similar problem turned out to be a fungal infection, the same as athletes foot. This despite my obsessive hygiene of frequent washing of the area and washing bike shorts the instant I get home from a ride. The Doc prescribed an ointment containing Terbinafine Hydrochloride, the same ingredient as Lamisil which is available over the counter in the USA.
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Old 06-09-19, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Also try something other than Butt'r. Bodyglide or the Gold Bond version is what I like. Something about what you are doing is wrong, you shouldn't have issues with a 50 mile ride.
At this point, I haven't found a need to apply any salve. I wear jeans for most of my daily riding, and use basic padded cycling shorts or tights for some of the longer rides (but I have done century rides in jeans in the past).

Perhaps mix up the training a bit. Running, Recumbent riding, Exercise machines, etc.

Take several days off before the big event.
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Old 06-09-19, 05:55 AM
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How often do you ride over 50 miles?
What brand of shorts are you wearing?
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Old 06-09-19, 06:33 AM
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One small piece of professional advice: Figure out what sort of pathology you’ve got down there before treating it. To wit, are these open sores or abrasions? Abscessed follicles? A rash of some sort? Some entity previously unknown to crotch medicine?

The best diagnostic tools for this are a set of eyeballs, a bright light, and a gloved hand, preferably belonging to someone with some basic knowledge. Simply feeling around and soliciting advice from blinded, remote, people, however smart, experienced, and well-intentioned, is unlikely to help much.
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Old 06-09-19, 06:48 AM
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Cleaning skin and shorts well

A lot of the posts have good advice. One specific solution I found to a similar problem, was to use a gentle, but good quality antibacterial cleanser on my skin and shorts when I started having saddle sores, to disinfect my skin, but also the shorts. If I develop saddle sores, I start using Hibiclens which is an effective but fairly gentle antibacterial cleanser commonly found in physicians offices for hand washing. I keep a bottle in the shower, and wash my nether regions with it after every ride (if I have saddle sores). I also wash the Chamois pad in my shorts with it to disinfect them as well. Also, if you can, lay your shorts inside out, out in the sun to dry, or after they are dry, with the chamois pad getting good direct sunlight. The UV from the sun is good to kill bacteria as well. I like Hibiclens the best, you can find it at many pharmacies, but my back up to that is Phisoderm. I hope that helps.
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Old 06-09-19, 08:48 AM
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Baby powder or similar talc helps me prevent saddles sores.
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Old 06-09-19, 09:05 AM
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If you had a bike fit, and then changed the saddle. look closely at the saddles, they can vary in height. The distance from the rails to the top of the saddles might be different.
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Old 06-09-19, 09:56 AM
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I think your post a little too late for your charity ride.

Sounds more like an irritation. Maybe chemical, fungal or bacterial something or other that gets into overdrive when you provide it the tropical conditions of your sweat soaked body parts.

To keep from getting a chemical irritation, I wash my riding shorts twice. First time with just a very little amount of detergent if any, and a scoop of Oxyclean. Just the original oxyclean as they now make something with perfumes that has a title that makes it sound more powerful but it isn't. Then wash a second time in just plain water, no additions. Hang to dry. Oxyclean is also a fairly good sanitizer so any beasties that might be taking up residence in your chamois will be destroyed or at least reduced in population.

I seldom get any type of chaffing or saddle sore. I think it's because of the way I take care of my shorts/bibs and paying attention to promoting a way for moisture to be wicked away from my skin quickly.

I don't use any chamois butter or creams of any sort. Just my bare butt in the bike shorts and no underwear. I do shave my body hair fairly short. I have lots of it, everywhere but the top of my head. Seems to help keep me cooler in the summer and I dry faster. I think it's because the fabric can get next to my skin and do the wicking thing they designed it to do. Hair seems to get in the way of that and trap moisture.
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Old 06-09-19, 02:37 PM
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If this is a new issue, figure out what you changed recently and then go back to the old setup. Don’t just start randomly changing things, you won’t what is and isn’t working.
Saddle sores are caused by bacteria. Try using Hibacleanse . It is a soap that kills microbes and other germs. It also works for several hours after using it.
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Old 06-09-19, 02:47 PM
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For prevention I suggest baby wipes at about mile 50.
For solution I suggest baths instead of showers.
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Old 06-09-19, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
The best diagnostic tools for this are a set of eyeballs, a bright light, and a gloved hand, preferably belonging to someone with some basic knowledge. Simply feeling around and soliciting advice from blinded, remote, people, however smart, experienced, and well-intentioned, is unlikely to help much.
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Old 06-09-19, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
One small piece of professional advice: Figure out what sort of pathology you’ve got down there before treating it. To wit, are these open sores or abrasions? Abscessed follicles? A rash of some sort? Some entity previously unknown to crotch medicine?
This. If you treat the wrong cause, it won't be effective.

In my case, saddle sores turned out to be all about keeping things clean and getting plenty of air. Getting rid of all products, shaving clean, and then just making show there was always airflow reduced the problem from really bad to zero.
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Old 06-09-19, 04:44 PM
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One small piece of professional advice: Figure out what sort of pathology you’ve got down there before treating it. To wit, are these open sores or abrasions? Abscessed follicles? A rash of some sort? Some entity previously unknown to crotch medicine?
Absolutely.

At the same time, it looks like Chamois Butt'r may be too like petroleum jelly. Some sources say petroleum jelly/Vaseline can clog pores and trap bacteria next to skin if the jelly is rubbed skin that isn't scrupulously clean.
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Old 06-09-19, 04:48 PM
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For me, the damaged tissue just needed to completely heal before sitting on a saddle again. Epsom salt baths and several weeks of not using a seatpost-i.e. standing the whole ride. Once the sores healed, all was well again, and they haven’t returned since.
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Old 06-09-19, 04:59 PM
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I am 76 and until two years ago could use any shorts with chamois and no chamois butter. But I sarted to get raw areas after anything over 30 mi. I researched all the forums and got a bike fit (the bike fitter said my position was already perfect); I found a few solutions: Assos skin conditioner on the affected areas after a shower with anti bacterial soap allowed me to ride again the next day; I now use Giordana and Assos higher quality bibs and the fitter who was an Olympic cycling coach recommended a saddle made by SQ Labs which worked for me. I did a 105 mi. ride last September with 7000 feet of climbing and mostly above 7000 feet elevation. Result - NO sadle sores or raw spots. Also, I use Chamois Butter before every ride.
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