For those women who ride their bicycle a little further than the corner store, you might have come across an issue that those of us with cruisers don’t usually worry about (unless you’re one of the really “lucky” ones). There’s been studies and research done on the effects of long distance and regular riding in men, but little done on women until recently. We asked Dr Patrick Briggs from Subiaco, WA to weigh in on this sensitive issue. “Chronic labial irritation can sometimes develop in women who wear tight clothing. Discomfort can occur with sex, sports or other physical activities, including bike riding”.
Some of the problems associated with having a vagina when partaking in serious bike riding might surprise you.
What might surprise you even further, is that there are now women all over the world taking quite drastic steps to fix the issue. Labiaplasty is not an overly new procedure, however it is gaining momentum amongst women who are serious about their bike riding and have tried everything else to deal with the several issues associated with having a vagina on a bike. Of course, all labias are shaped differently, and some women’s issues may be more prominent than others; all the same here are some of the issues women might experience:
- Rashes, irritation
- Bacterial and yeast infections
- Bumps, cuts or sores
- Skin peeling
- Discomfort during sex
Of course, there are several things you can try before finding a surgeon and going under the knife. These might include: wearing padded underwear or bike shorts (there are special padded bike pants made for women); wearing more breathable materials that might not irritate; keeping lubricated (again, there are products on the market that are made specifically for bike riding, or we came across coconut oil being suggested a few times); some medical professionals recommend shaving, others suggest having hair helps!; wearing deodorant down there; changing your posture or positioning on the bike; or, getting your bike seat/saddle designed and made specifically to fit your shape, among other things. This last suggestion makes a lot of sense and we agree with the opinion that perhaps not enough has been done to look at bike seat design adjustments as a more realistic solution. Designing bikes around comfort, especially for serious bike riders who can often spend in the thousands getting all their gear, is something that needs to be looked at specifically keeping women and their often more padded butts and vaginas in mind!
However, it seems that despite some women attempting many or all of these suggestions, and more, sometimes nothing helps and it can become so painful that to ride a bike for anything more than 10 minutes becomes excruciating. Women in this position might find that they might have a larger amount of labia tissue than “average” and hence the irritation/pain. It might also be an issue of a stretched or saggy labia/vulva after childbirth. Or, it might just be that your perfectly normal vagina is not holding up to the amount of bike riding you are partaking in. This is where a labiaplasty is being thrown into the options equation.
There’s a surgeon in England who claims she sees between two and nine women each week wanting a labiaplasty to make cycling more comfortable or even bearable! Whilst that seems a lot, riding a bike: to work; for fitness or fun on the weekend; taking part in triathlons; or simply as part of a lifestyle, is becoming a more and more popular activity for women.
The actual labiaplasty procedure usually involves cutting excess tissue with a scalpel and shaping the area to be a less obtrusive or protruding shape, then sewing it back up with dissolvable stitches. However, Dr Briggs says, “it might also be a case for an oversized mons pubis causing the irritation and in these cases liposuction might be suitable. Your surgeon will be able to identify the best procedure for you”.
We published a story last year about a lady named Katie* who underwent a labiaplasty with her sister who had the same issue in order to make life more comfortable. She was so happy to have no more discomfort during exercise, among several other benefits.
So, if you are in a position where you have tried everything else, but feel as though you are a candidate for wanting a more permanent solution to your bike riding vagina woes, find a qualified plastic surgeon that performs labiaplasty and arrange a consult. Your surgeon will be able to give you all the information you need to make an informed choice to see if the procedure is right for you.
Of course, if you need help to find a surgeon, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like more information on the awesome and well-reviewed Dr Briggs go here, or phone his office directly on 08 9381 9300 to find out more about labiaplasty or any other surgery.