Can’t figure out saddle sores. Get them frequently and getting worse

I’ve been putting in time in the saddle everyday for the past few months, and the chafing and the saddle sores are becoming unbearable. The chafing region in is in the groin on both sides of the perineum.

I get terrible rubbing there and saddle sores on both sides. I sweat A LOT there and notice my chamois is soaked. I will start to chafe within 20-30 minutes on a ride. Here is what I’ve tried

  • Seen two bike fitters. Tried S Works Toupe, ISM, Specialized Power

*New bibs

*Wash bibs after every ride. Take off immediately after riding. Wiping with alcohol. Using cream afterward.

*chamois cream every ride. Tried without the other day on a short ride and just about died from the chafe

Have you ever tried antiperspirant? Tried to stop the sweating? I’m running out of ideas.

Antiperspirant will block the pores and likely make the issue worse

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Kinda sounds like a saddle fit issue…it can take awhile to find one that works for you.

I would also suggest lowering your saddle a mm or two.

What chamois cream are you using? There are other options if one isn’t working for you. I have always been a fan of Enzo’s, but just got a tub of Gooch Guard and have been pretty impressed.

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If you sweat a lot a water based chamois cream will not work for you. Try a petroleum based one, a common substitute is bag balm, or petroleum jelly mixed with Neosporin. It makes the chamois harder to wash but it will not melt off

What kind of cream?

Exfoliate with an anti-acne facial cleanser (and if necessary, a loofah) and then spot treat with acne medicated cream or anti-bacterial healing ointment like neosporin.

If you use the acne cream, keep it away from the important bits…

Good stuff above, but a question for clarity. Is this an issue inside, outside or both?

it helps me to use a light lotion when I’m not on the bike, like right after I’m done showering. I like Udder Cream.

Try completely different bibs if there is chafing. Sometimes it’s the location of a seam etc. Less chafing = less inflammation/damaged skin so less likely to get folliculitis that creates sores. :crossed_fingers:

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I went through a period of them. It turned out I had an iron deficiency :confused:

I have had low ferritin for a while now and have been trying to get that up.

I haven’t been inside for a while. Just outside right now.

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Do the bibs you’re wearing fit you well? By that I mean, when the shoulder straps are on, do the bibs seem to offer ‘comfortable’ support around the groin? If the bibs themselves are loose and moving around, I could see that exacerbating the issue.

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In order,

  1. Take 2-3 days off the bike.
  2. Use Sudocrem to try and get rid of them when you’re having a few days off the bike to clear them.
  3. Make certain your saddle is not too high. If you’re not 100% certain, do not mess with a few mm. Drop it 2cm. Then slowly bring it up over a few weeks. This stops saddle sores for many riders. It may not be the issue in your case, as it tends to cause them on one side.
  4. Try new bibs.
  5. Experiment with new saddles.
  6. Swap to DZ Nuts chamois cream (It’s the best, from my experience)
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Lower saddle?

Be sure your culotte is very tight on your private parts. Maybe use a lower size… I have found out that KV Sport culottes (a family spanish company) are the biggest improvement for my confort and my long rides. Very compresive on legs and private parts especially. Carbon threads…I feel more fresh down that other culottes.
65€ and they are much better that a Mavic top quality… I’m very delicated with confort on my private parts during rides, and that was a salvation. I’ve bought 2 of these.

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Is there a reason you’re not taking a shower after? I wonder if the alcohol is just drying out your skin and creating an environment that encourages bacterial growth. I would skip the alcohol and just take a shower and then put a little neosporin or some antibacterial on there after.

Try Cavilon Durable Barrier Cream… (it’s made for incontinent people).
I’ve suffered quite badly from saddle sores in the past especially training in a TT position indoors (no issues outdoor or in races).
A physiotherapist friend recommended applying Cavilon, leaving it a minute & then using chamois cream on top. It works well for me and put an end to my issues. Takes a bit of getting off in the shower afterwards but shorts etc wash clean as normal.
I guess it is made to stay there & stop chaffing even when ‘wet’.

combination of things has helped me a lot:

chamois butter on the chamois (works just as well for me as dz nuts) AND petroleum product on the skin (vaseline or A&D ointment)

shower as soon as possible after the ride

i sweat a lot also so i noticed the biggest difference was from keeping the area dry when not on the bike – gold bond body powder helps with this – a couple shakes in the undershorts after the shower.

antibiotic ointment on any spots that seem like a sore could be starting

i have also heard that shaving the nether regions promotes saddle sores, so stop doing that if it is part of your grooming habits (no personal experience myself).

saddle sores are localized - skin infections that start with ingrown hairs. widespread inflammation/irritation can be a different problem - referred to as “crotchitis” somewhere i read (andy pruitt’s medical guide for cyclists, maybe) - its a fungal infection associated with heat/moisture in the area. “jock itch” sprays can be helpful.

as above, saddle height and unwanted rocking movements can be where these things start, but it sounds like you have explored that

I worked up to training rides of up to an hour out of the saddle. After a few bad saddle sores, it is a handy skill to keep up in the event of a sore and reduces trauma.

Prevention is better than cure … but after suffering from them badly for a while, I got recommended simple spot zapper … and was life changing, I know that it sounds weird, but the sure is basically a spot (well what I was suffering from was) and this stuff kills the bacteria, found that it would remove a large sore in 24hours, the only thing to not be put of by is that it can make it more pussy (when it kills the bacteria) but I just have it in the house now, and apply it to a hint of one

I know I sound crazy, but think about it, it does make sense … and it does work