As numbers of women cyclists dramatically increase very few are aware of the importance of taking care of their ‘under carriage’. Regular chaffing of genitalia can lead to tissue fibrosis (hardening), rashes and even thrush.
The number of women consulting me for advice about their protruding or hypertrophied labia has increased 20% year on year. The underlying trends are very interesting – before the Olympics in 2012 the majority of women I saw for labiaplasty were post pregnant or menopausal women seeking help for misshapen or enlarged genitals. Since 2012 I have noted that the majority are now women who enjoy physical sporting hobbies – most markedly cycling.
With 500,000 women already on bikes and British Cycling aiming to get one million more women on saddle by 2020 (with their campaigns #WeRide and Breeze), female cyclists are now a growing force.
As burgeoning numbers of women are taking to the saddle, I now offer non–surgical advice alongside the surgical as prevention is always better than the cure. Whilst surgical refashioning of the labia is a bone fide and safe way to help reduce cycling discomfort, it is not the only solution. I often suggest additional adjuncts such as finding the right saddle, wearing the right clothing and using a protective barrier cream with a chamois base.
Any tissue on the body when exposed to regular friction or knocking will develop fibrotic tissue – much like the way fingers and feet respond to long term abuse. It’s a natural protective mechanism. The skin on the labia is no different; if anything, due to its high blood content and many nerve endings this area is much more vulnerable to long term damage.
3 key ways to avoid saddle chaffing:
1. It’s all in the saddle!
Invest in the right saddle for your anatomy.
Four rules of saddle contentment:
Consider a cut out/T or pear shape?
There’s a lot more to cycling than meets the eye! I’m learning such a lot! Saddles can now be customed to one’s anatomy and a good, independent cycle retailer will have a saddle measurement device of some description. Bespoke saddles are a good investment as women have differing anatomical requirements.
2. What’s lies beneath?
3. Anti-chaff lubricant
Thank goodness the market now offers good alternatives to Vaseline! Try a silicone or chamois based product.
I love the fact that women are giving men a ‘run for their money’ in the cycling stakes! If hypertrophied (enlarged) labia are an issue for you then of course surgery can be considered and is very effective, but as always surgery is not the only solution.
Ms Angelica Kavouni MD FRCS EBOPRAS Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon
129 Harley Street London W1G 6BA t: 020 7486 9040
Ms Angelica Kavouni FRCS EBOPRAS Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon
On the UK’s specialist register and member of EBOPRAS, Angelica has become one of London’s most requested female cosmetic surgeons. A regular TV and print media contributor, an increasing number of women seek Angelica for female body contouring of all varieties from straight forward liposculpting to ‘Yummy Mummy’ combination surgery, involving any type of breast enhancement with tummy tuck and labiaplasty. Passionate about non-invasive anti-ageing, her ethos of “I practice what I preach” means women all over the country also trust her with all their skin rejuvenation needs.
GMC: 4002006 129 Harley Street London W1G 6BA t: 020 7486 9040 w: http://www.cosmetic-solutions.co.uk