Author Topic: Post op cyclists, help!  (Read 2109 times)

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Offline SadieBlake

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Post op cyclists, help!
« on: August 18, 2017, 11:05:49 am »
After my 6 mile ride yesterday (4 months post-op now, longest ride to date), things didn't feel too bad until the end of the day by which time the left side of my labia was in intense pain and I clearly wasn't riding back home.

On inspection this morning, I found that the labia majora on that side had been abraded and the top layer of skin is gone from an area about ½" square near the top of the junction between inner and outer labia.

Ouch!
I
I was wearing street clothes and panties that I'd ridden plenty of miles in pre-op and with a panty shield because I'm still seeing exudate from the granulation tissue. What I don't understand is that the area that's abraded isn't exposed to my clothing not visible until I spread labia.

So what do I do? I can't really figure the source of the friction/abrasion, seems like it must be skin against skin. I could maybe lube up before riding (cyclists will know that's called chamois cream).

Other ideas? I guess I could try commando with cycling shorts and just know I'll need to wash out exudate. Don't really want to do that, my experience has been exudate really likes to bind to fabric.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 03:09:53 pm by SadieBlake »
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Offline Dena

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2017, 04:11:32 pm »
The only thing I can suggest is that you wear cotton panties, a pad and cover the whole thing up with tight fitting shorts or possibly leggings. The idea is to make sure the fabric will not move on your skin and any rubbing take place on the outside of the garment.

Body glide also makes a product for bikers to deal with skin rubbing against things. We sold it to shooters to keep the gun stock from working their face over but it can be used for many other issues.
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Offline SadieBlake

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 04:04:38 pm »
 okay so here I am answering my own question,  I've nailed multiple 6-mile rides and  one of 25 miles and what I found is pads are absolutely a bad idea they increase friction so  underwear if in street clothes and I'm wearing bike shorts Commando is definitely the way to go for longer rides. Unfortunately most of the irritation seem to be between the two labia rubbing against each other not so much against fabric and so I've been using chamois butter which is the right thing for the purpose but you have to find one that's female-bits friendly.

Riding with an old ridig girlfriend and getting tips on what works and what won't was really helpful.

I'm feeling obviously great about being able to ride at all and I suppose 4 months is a reasonable target.
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Offline luna nyan

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 07:59:57 am »
Time to change saddle?
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Offline Megan.

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 08:39:34 am »
Thanks for the tips.  I'm just  building up my cycling,  and although it would be some time away,  I'm already getting worried about how GCS would impact it.

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Offline SadieBlake

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 11:13:09 am »
Luna, nope, even if I could afford a new saddle just now the one I ride now is a Brooks that's really good for putting all my weight right on the sit bones so there's minimal pressure on the perineum or lady bits. My female riding partners have never said much good about the cutout saddles. I also have a fizik that has good geometry but needs new rails before I can use it.

Megan, of course you're welcome. Here's the other things I've done

My bike setup has been a 3.5" drop saddle to bars which is great for speed and where my body is most comfortable however it's hard at that position not to have the hops rotating forward a bit. Then I have a very specific saddle - cranks height of 31" and I notice changes of as little as 1/4".

Since I had very little room to adjust bars higher, for now I've dropped the saddle ¾". I notice the drop in power but it's definitely worth the extra room.

And before I was able to come up with the chamois cream I substituted cream rinse that seemed to work just as well, albeit more expensive (I use shikari).
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Offline luna nyan

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 06:57:49 am »
Pity about having to change saddle height, as always keep an eye on the knees.  Might be worth doing more off bike exercises for hamstrings and glutes if you're going to have to keep the lower height for a while.

I can't think of anything else off hand that might help your situation except for time.  :(
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Offline doll89

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2017, 01:13:50 pm »
maybe it is your position or the saddle? I was back on my bike after 4 weeks for short distances... never had any discomfort really..

Offline SadieBlake

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2017, 01:39:59 pm »
@luna actually I was able to put saddle back to something pretty close to my old setting about a week ago, my knees are fine, but yes I'm being sure not to stress things.

@doll, clearly you had a completely different recovery experience from what I did. I'd had a suture line open up at 3 weeks post op just from walking and at 4 weeks I was still unable to be on my feet for an hour at a time, couple hours a day max. My surgeon generically wouldn't permit patients to be biking in less than 3 months. I waited til just shy of 4 months because that had been how long it took the problem area to heal.

And as I said above, my saddle is quite good at keeping weight isolated to my sit bones, on the other hand all my bikes are road setup and with bars running about 3" below saddle height so even with a relatively flexible body the hips are prone to rotate forward. I'm not gonna completely refit for healing and happily now riding gets easier on the lady bits every week.
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Offline Anne Blake

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2017, 06:39:50 pm »
Hi Sadie,

Thanks for posting this thread, I am only one week post but really want to get back on my bike as soon as possible.

I had to give up on my Brooks years ago (just plain wore it out, hard to believe). My shoulders forced me to raise my bars a bit and that put my wt back on my sit bones and did not force much of a saddle nose drop. My current saddle fits my bones so I expect no saddle change, I do expect to drop the nose a bit. I ride commando with riding shorts and chamois cream as do most of my cis gal riding friends so I would not be worried about compatibility with cis girl parts and I don't know why trans girl parts would react differently (probably way too much ignorance on my part). Dr. Meltzer is quite a avid cyclist and has had many of his gcs patients return to riding. You might want to send him a query on this. If you do find an answer, please share it.

Tia Anne

Offline SadieBlake

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2017, 08:21:26 pm »
Oh yeah Anne, most chamois creams have glycerin - which I've always been told to avoid in lube because it is food for yeast / yeast infections.

Today I was out on the bike a fair bit and everything felt fine, yay!
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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2017, 09:13:49 am »
I'm an avid cyclist and I finally found a saddle and bike shorts that give me great comfort.  Mind you, I'm not one of those spandex clad roadies. I'm a daily commuter and long distance touring cyclist. So you'll find me wearing average street clothes.

Terry Bicycle clothing for women have padded shorts where the pad is not too thick. I wear them under street clothes.  I have never found wearing panties to be comfortable due to the edge trim.  If your riding to-and-from work, you can change in the restroom if need be.

-Saddle- They can be frikin' expensive but once you find one that fits well, price is not a consideration.  After all how much do we spend on our bodies?  Some bike shops will let you try out saddles.  My fav is the Selle Anitomica brand with the split down the middle.  These saddles flex with your sit bones as you pedal, and the leather is soft, conforming to your shape.   

Offline SadieBlake

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2018, 08:08:33 am »
@megan @anne Blake @luna Ryan & any other cyclists out there.

I'm working on a new challenge; building my mileage back up ... This has been enabled by finally being able to afford new tires for my good road bike (tubulars, they're expensive but I so love riding in them). Anyway it seems that repeat long-distance riding represents a very different challenge than the isolated 20-25 miles distance I'd been doing between last fall and summer -- all fixed-gear riding on a relatively heavy frame.

On the plus side, my road frame is a perfect fit and while I've got it setup for significant saddle-bars drop, it's a comfortable riding position, it's a quite short frame so my forward reach is less than on the commuter bike. On the down side, this week has shown I was suffering significant false hubris, up to now on balance I had been feeling riding post-op has been easier than pre-op. I hope to get back to that happier place!

Saturday I did 40 miles commando if course in good quality riding shorts, not at any sort of fast pace, however a hilly and therefore strenuous route. I switched to pantirs and a work skirt and spent the rest of the day working. My labia were sore and there was a 2"x1" blood spot in the gusset of my underwear. I didn't think a lot about it and while very sure that night, by Sunday morning things felt relatively normal. I took the next three days without riding and then had a longer than usual Wednesday riding a total of 16 miles but spread across the entire day. I was in street clothes and perhaps didn't choose the best underwear for a relatively active day. Anyway by the time I got home late, I was just a bit sore down there.

Yesterday I got up at christ o'clock in the AM (a few minutes before sunrise) and rode off to join some old friends for my first official training ride in about 6 years. I only logged 22 miles and I guess the nature of those miles was harder -- pushing moderately hard so I didn't have a lot of time for sitting up to ease saddle-pressure.

However the degree of pain was decidedly disproportionate, my labia are still really sore and all yesterday was torture just walking around. This morning things are still intensely sore, hence this missive.

I'm hoping that things will simply toughen up some. I'm certainly considering investing in a new saddle .. still riding my trusty Brooks which I love, however my sense is that the Fizik it replaced would be an improvement for these longer & harder distances. Also I'll be obtaining a jar of chamois cream. I think getting by with my ad-hoc solution of cream rinse is no longer working.  I may also cave and increase my bar height a bit.

So any experiences with building up miles will be appreciated, have others seen similar issues? I know lots of women who ride in the same position I do and I will be consulting with some close riding friends next week.

And finally, my confirming feelings about riding as a chick. When I ride in full kit, pre-op was horrible, that bulge being so obvious in bike shorts. Also riding now engages nice sensual feelings in my clitoris, I hadn't anticipated that, can't say I mind :-).
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Offline Denise

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2018, 08:29:38 am »
Great advice. 
My commute is 10 miles each way and a shower waits at the end.  I never sit on my road or commuter bike in street clothes. 

With surgery in December I'm anxious about training for my summer 500 mile Appalachian ride.  We'll see.

Thanks for the thread.

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Offline Denise

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2018, 08:02:57 am »
Meet with my surgeon yesterday to finalize stuff for December's surgery.  I asked about biking which he responded that I can do pretty much anything I want after 10 weeks but you won't want to sit on a bike seat very long.  There months should be okay but you will be sore. If you put up with the pain and there are no issues at four months you should be better.  It will still be painful so build up slowly. 

Bottom line (YMMV) training is going to be tough, the 500 Mike ride in July will be okay but listen to and look at the surgical area to make sure things are okay.  Have a nice ride.

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Offline Violet

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2018, 06:50:39 pm »
I am almost 4 months post-op, but I can only ride my bike 1/4 mile before it hurts too bad. I miss cycling and I have gotten terribly out of shape, but eventually I am sure that I can ride again. Probably next year though for me.

Offline Denise

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2018, 09:05:18 pm »
I am almost 4 months post-op, but I can only ride my bike 1/4 mile before it hurts too bad. I miss cycling and I have gotten terribly out of shape, but eventually I am sure that I can ride again. Probably next year though for me.
Did you do any training on a stationary bike before trying to ride out on the road?

My plan is to just sit on my trainer without much peddling to build up.

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Offline Violet

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2018, 09:31:27 pm »
No training. I just hopped on and rode. Didn't get very far! LOL! I will try a stationary though when I go to Planet Fitness. Thanks!
Did you do any training on a stationary bike before trying to ride out on the road?

My plan is to just sit on my trainer without much peddling to build up.

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Offline CynthiaAnn

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2019, 01:18:10 pm »

-Saddle- They can be frikin' expensive but once you find one that fits well, price is not a consideration.  After all how much do we spend on our bodies?  Some bike shops will let you try out saddles.  My fav is the Selle Anitomica brand with the split down the middle.  These saddles flex with your sit bones as you pedal, and the leather is soft, conforming to your shape.

Thanks for this tip and this thread, I enjoyed reading this.

I am currently researching new saddles here and want to be more comfortable on the 20 + mile rides

I rode bicycle first at 4 months post op, and took it easy then on a beach trip.

Today at almost 3 years post op have no issues, just want a better seat...

Cynthia -

it's like totally.....

Offline Denise

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Re: Post op cyclists, help!
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2019, 01:31:35 pm »
My plan, with surgeon's approval, is to do a few minutes this weekend on the trainer.  I'm 3 months and 2 days (13 weeks) post op.

If you're looking for a road bike saddle, I saw an ad for Bisaddle.  It looks interesting

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A haiku in honor of my grandmother who loved them.
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