Long term trauma to the vulva in female pro cyclists.

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
An interesting article showed on my FB feed today https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/mar/26/hannah-dines-saddle-research-pain-swelling-female-cyclists
It is by Hannah Dines, a formidable lass I have met before she became a world champ.
I had no idea female pros had to battle with such discomfort on the saddle.
Being blessed with an iron undercarriage, I also had no idea that it was so difficult to get treatment.
A sore bum is common, but saddle sores is something I don't hear of in my women's cycling group.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Interesting article. I wonder how many women suffer long-term saddle pain? Does this explain why so few women take up cycling?

Maybe the reversal of this is horse riding - having endured the agony of having my legs wedged apart by saddles on a couple of occasions I can say with certainty that my pelvis is not suited to the shape of a horse. Women's generally wider pelvises might explain the preponderance of women horse riders.
 

SpokeyDokey

Into my 64th
Moderator
An interesting article showed on my FB feed today https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/mar/26/hannah-dines-saddle-research-pain-swelling-female-cyclists
It is by Hannah Dines, a formidable lass I have met before she became a world champ.
I had no idea female pros had to battle with such discomfort on the saddle.
Being blessed with an iron undercarriage, I also had no idea that it was so difficult to get treatment.
A sore bum is common, but saddle sores is something I don't hear of in my women's cycling group.
Thanks for sharing, ^_^

Seriously - that was a yukky article to read but very interesting. I didn't realise so much damage could be inflicted in this manner. Got to hand it to some athletes - the way they cope with suffering for the love of their sport is amazing.

Definitely sounds like there is more scope for better options for female saddles.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Different saddles definitely. I can't say no more than my experience with my wife on her saddle that is from a female hybrid bike of a good quality. Most saddles are very person specific - what suits you, isn't the same for the person next to you. My wife is an occasional cyclist, her female saddle works OK for the rides we do (she does wear padded shorts at my insistence).

My wife would like an MTB to go with her 'fast' hybrid, but there is a different ball game with saddles. As a 'bloke'I use the same saddle 'style' I've used on road bikes, but what do you introduce your partner too on a MTB...and someone that isn't that experienced... - you ride a bike lots, you don't actually sit your full weight that often... ???
 
OP
Pat "5mph"

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
you ride a bike lots, you don't actually sit your full weight that often
Well, Hannah says in the article that female racing cyclists have the full weight of their vulva on the saddle, to get into an aero position.
They don't sit on their sit bones.
It must be sore racing like that.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
An interesting article showed on my FB feed today https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/mar/26/hannah-dines-saddle-research-pain-swelling-female-cyclists
It is by Hannah Dines, a formidable lass I have met before she became a world champ.
I had no idea female pros had to battle with such discomfort on the saddle.
Being blessed with an iron undercarriage, I also had no idea that it was so difficult to get treatment.
A sore bum is common, but saddle sores is something I don't hear of in my women's cycling group.
That article came up on my news feed as well, I didn't realize people suffered so much discomfort from their saddles. I'm male and have a cast iron under carridge so can't comment or give advice but she sounds one tough lady.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Well, Hannah says in the article that female racing cyclists have the full weight of their vulva on the saddle, to get into an aero position.
They don't sit on their sit bones.
It must be sore racing like that.
When racing, it's more extreme pressure, RR and more with TT (as a fella) and must be much worse as a woman. I can only comment as a fella that TT's usually caused numb bits due to the aero position - it would cause more problems with a woman on a similar saddle.
 

theclaud

It's teeceegawnmaaaad
Location
Swansea
Interesting article. I wonder how many women suffer long-term saddle pain? Does this explain why so few women take up cycling?

Maybe the reversal of this is horse riding - having endured the agony of having my legs wedged apart by saddles on a couple of occasions I can say with certainty that my pelvis is not suited to the shape of a horse. Women's generally wider pelvises might explain the preponderance of women horse riders.
Is it Half-Baked Theory O'Clock again?
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I shall bail out here only knowing my own wife's issues, as a keen cyclist myself, and making sure my wife and daughter are 'comfy', I shall duck out for being a male idiot.....

I do not know what the 'f' to do now my wife fancies an MTB - I'm at give up stage, as any saddle on my bike fit's a bike on a FS or a road bike... I do know my wife's hydrid saddle won't do a FS bike, but as someone who knows bikes, I'm fubared as a cycling partner...
 
OP
Pat "5mph"

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
@theclaud no need to be confrontational :smile:
What I would like to know is:
Have you ever experienced something like Hannah?
What did the docs say?
Is the condition mainly experienced by female racing cyclists?
What about female Audax/long distance riders?
Do us occasional riders not get the condition or do we not talk about it, or do we just say "sore undercarriage"?
Is anybody inventing a new saddle for women racers, if not, why not?
I'm on the bike most days, as I said I must have an iron undercarriage because in almost 8 years of riding I only got a boil once - which I pierced :eek:
 

theclaud

It's teeceegawnmaaaad
Location
Swansea
@theclaud no need to be confrontational :smile:
What I would like to know is:
Have you ever experienced something like Hannah?
What did the docs say?
Is the condition mainly experienced by female racing cyclists?
What about female Audax/long distance riders?
Do us occasional riders not get the condition or do we not talk about it, or do we just say "sore undercarriage"?
Is anybody inventing a new saddle for women racers, if not, why not?
I'm on the bike most days, as I said I must have an iron undercarriage because in almost 8 years of riding I only got a boil once - which I pierced :eek:
Sometimes there is every need, actually, but we'll let that go.

I've never experienced a similar problem of anything like the severity described, but then I'm not a pro cyclist, an extreme endurance cyclist, or anything close. I am, however, most comfortable riding in a position which seems to be regarded by non-racers as on the racy side, and it's crucial to my comfort to have the saddle tilted slightly forward to avoid excessive pressure. This, if I were offering it as advice, would be contrary to the advice often given to women about an upright position being more comfortable - for me this creates problems with reach, and lower back issues. I favour lean, flexible, lightly-padded saddles with a channel or cut-out, and I think it's worth doing the arse-bone measuring thing to get an idea of the right saddle width.
 

dan_bo

How much does it cost to Oldham?
Location
Failsworth
I shall bail out here only knowing my own wife's issues, as a keen cyclist myself, and making sure my wife and daughter are 'comfy', I shall duck out for being a male idiot.....

I do not know what the 'f' to do now my wife fancies an MTB - I'm at give up stage, as any saddle on my bike fit's a bike on a FS or a road bike... I do know my wife's hydrid saddle won't do a FS bike, but as someone who knows bikes, I'm fubared as a cycling partner...
On one 'big nose' style?
 

LeetleGreyCells

Cycliste en formation
We bought a new saddle for my wife early autumn last year after she couldn't get on with the one that came with the bike. We got the Sella Italia Donna female-specific saddle to see if that would help with pain where the top of her legs meet her behind. She only rode the bike once more in Autumn and then again for the first time this year on Sunday. Hopefully, the saddle will break in and/or my wife will get used to riding on the saddle. If no improvement, it's off to the shops to get a different style of saddle.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
I believe lots of cyclists, men and women, make the mistake of thinking a fat padded saddle is more comfortable. That may be the case for the first few miles but my belief is that the sit bones sink into the padding transferring weight to soft tissue that's not supposed to be weight-bearing, causing pain, sweating and chafing. A correctly-shaped saddle may hurt at first but the body soon gets accustomed and pain diminishes. For me the correct shape is something like a Charge Spoon, which cups the sit bones.
 

LeetleGreyCells

Cycliste en formation
I believe lots of cyclists, men and women, make the mistake of thinking a fat padded saddle is more comfortable. That may be the case for the first few miles but my belief is that the sit bones sink into the padding transferring weight to soft tissue that's not supposed to be weight-bearing, causing pain, sweating and chafing. A correctly-shaped saddle may hurt at first but the body soon gets accustomed and pain diminishes. For me the correct shape is something like a Charge Spoon, which cups the sit bones.
I have two Charge Spoon saddles and they are very comfortable. I tried to get a Charge Ladle for my wife last year, but couldn’t get one for love or money.
 
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