View Full Version : hygiene questions

01-13-2006, 12:01 PM
I visited my ob/gyn today and she advised me to apply a heavy coat of vasoline to my gential area whenever I ride to protect myself and reduce the irration and tearing that is taking place (one of those things that evidently happens as one ages). I've never used vasoline in my adult life for anything but I'm thinking this is going to be quite messy. I've already decided I need to invest in some additional bike shorts so that I'm not running the washing machine every other day to keep my 2 pair of shorts clean. Question #1 - how easy will I clean up after each application. (I've been advised to only use a baby soap to cleanse this area from this point forward). Question #2 - will the vasoline ruin the pad in my shorts and how easily will it come out in the wash.

Thanks in advance for any suggestion/answers you have to offer.

01-13-2006, 12:51 PM
Hmmmmmmmm, I just don't know if I'd use vaseline....:confused: It IS good to prevent chafing, but there are others products out there, specifically designed for cycling, that might not only perform better, but wash out of your shorts much more easily. I've used Chamois Butt'r, Assos Chamois creme, Butt Butt'r., and an old drugstore standby, Bag Balm. Stop in at an LBS and see what products they carry. None, except for the Bag Balm, are inexpensive, but depending on your needs, can be worth the cost.

As for clean-up of you - most of whatever balm you use will soak into both your shorts and you.......... there won't be much left to clean off. I think you'll be ok with the baby soap. I don't use soap at all, just a body wash. MUCH less drying. And I've never had any complaints....... :rolleyes: :eek:


01-13-2006, 12:58 PM
Thanks, Annie. Your response has generated some additional questions. My doctor does not want me to use anything that has perfumes or additives - strict petroleum jelly for things are pretty raw and irrated at this point in the game. She mentioned that perfumes/additives would only make the current situation worse. Do the products you mentioned contain perfumes or additives that might irrate already irrated skin?


01-13-2006, 01:10 PM
My husband and I just got a tin of Bag Balm to try out and I've looked at a the ingredients. Its mostly petroleum jelly with some lanolin and hydroxy quinoline sulfate (what ever that is), but in any case even being mosty pj it seems to wash out of our shorts just fine with no damage to the chamois. I've also not noticed it being particularly difficult to wash off of my body either. It has a very slight odor of lanolin, but no heavy perfumes

01-13-2006, 01:42 PM
Bag Balm works fine. It's a lot cheaper then Chamois Buttr, too.

Aint Doody
01-13-2006, 03:23 PM
You might want to read a thread from back last summer called Does Chamois Buttr really work. I started that one and after all the potions and lotions found that the answer is a good saddle and good shorts. I do think some of the things like Replens and the creams that are applied internally help, too. Is your doctor a cyclist? Is she about your age? I'm 57 and when I finally got the right saddle (I hope) all the problems ended. I'd had real soreness in the soft tissue, but it seems okay now. I'm not really riding that much in these winter months, but when I have been out I've noticed a marked improvement. Good luck!!!

01-13-2006, 03:27 PM
As far as I know, none of the cycling-specific products are scented. They're meant to be used down there, and cyclists being pretty close to each other when they ride, I'm sure no one would like the cyclist behind him/her to smell what kind of chamois cream they're using. :eek: "Oh, is that Chanel #10 Chamois cream?"

I've used zinc cream just like that used to prevent diaper rash (quite cheap) in multi-days rides with very hot and humid weather when my skin would go raw because the chamois couldn't evacuate the sweat anymore. Not sure what it would do for more intimate irritation, though, I was just hurting at the crease of the leg. Anyway, the stuff was white (as you know if you have a baby) and washed out perfectly. I always turn my shorts inside out when I wash them, no matter the circumstances in which they were worn. I kind of imagine vaseline as being more pleasant to apply, and less likely to leave marks on the OUTSIDE of your shorts!

01-13-2006, 04:54 PM
Unfortunately, the irration is both internally and externally. Internally, the thin layer of protective skin has been rubbed away resulting in a lot of discomfort (my doctor likened it to a fresh blister that has had the skin removed :eek: ). Externally, the skin is cracking, inflammed and equally as irrated. My doctor thinks it is a result of using birth control pills, my age (44), repeated use of antibiotics over the years and having too much fun with the BF. I've been given a drug called vagifem to use nightly (vaginally) for the next ten days in hopes of encouraging new skin growth, no fun with the BF for the next 20 days :( . I'm also to apply vitamin E ointment externally several times a day and I'm to douche with buttermilk every other day starting 11 days from today using the vagifem on the opposite days. In addition to all of that I'm to use the vasoline whenever I get on my bike in hopes of protecting the healing tissues as well as attempting to keep any moisture out. Sorry if this is too much information but I thought it might be helpful in answering the questions I posted earlier. I'm a bit hesitant to use anything that is scented or contains other additives given the sensitivity of the situation.

Thanks again!

01-13-2006, 05:13 PM
makbike - you might also try vitamin A&D ointment. It's usually sold where the baby stuff is. It helps me when I've developed sore spots.

Pedal Wench
01-13-2006, 09:08 PM
With the level of irritation you have, avoid the Assos Creme - I've never used it, but I've heard there's a bit of menthol in it --- ouch!

I'm about your age, and I usually use either Chamois Butt'r or A&D ointment, with no side effects or irritation

01-14-2006, 07:02 AM
If you're still on the BC pills, it might be worth talking to your doc about changing the pill slightly. I was on one and started having a significant amount of dryness. My doc switched me to a different pill with a slightly different hormone balance (sorry I can't tell you the details) and it made a *huge* difference. I also have to make sure I drink plenty of water. As an aside, I was also having dryness issues as a result of tampons - I switched to a diva cup which took care of that part of it.

Ouch - you have my sympathy:( That certainly doesn't sound like any fun. Perhaps take some time off from the bike to let things heal??

01-14-2006, 09:20 AM
With the level of irritation you have, avoid the Assos Creme - I've never used it, but I've heard there's a bit of menthol in it --- ouch!

I'm about your age, and I usually use either Chamois Butt'r or A&D ointment, with no side effects or irritation

What Pedal Wrench said!!! Do NOT use the Assos creme. It definitely has menthol in it. Very cooling, but would not in your case. Major pain.

Bag Balm is actually formulated to use on cow's udders, to keep them from drying and cracking. It's very mild. No perfumes - the cow's don't care how they smell.;) It is a bit thicker in texture than vaseline, and lasts a bit longer while on the bike. I guess that's why I would recommend at least trying it. It's very soothing, too. Good luck in healing. It all sounds so very uncomfortable!!


01-14-2006, 10:44 AM
I wonder at vaseline - it is petroleum based and as a petrol product has the potential to dry skin...

As with the other women here, I recommend a sports designed anti-chafe cream. I use something called "3B action cream" but only find I need to put it on if I am going to be more than an hour and a quarter on a bike...

I am not sure how well vaseline washes out of Chamois and other bike pads, but when I used it on my babies' bottoms it washed out fine in a med-hot wash.

If you are going to use vaseline, I suggest a zinc based cream used in conjunction... this you will find in baby sections at the supermarket or chemist. Look for Zinc and Castor Oil cream. When you get home from a ride, apply it as a salve to any sore, grazed or potentially infected or lumpy bits. The coolness feels great, the zinc has HUGE healing properties and it washes out well.

The other thing I recommend, particularly for anything that seems remotely infected or is def infected, is a dab of "tea tree oil". It is a great healthy/natural alternative with antiseptic/antibiotic properties for use on grazes, pimples, boils and other infections... It will sting slightly but will help with healing infection.

Good luck with the combination that suits you...

01-20-2006, 07:02 PM
You can try Aquaphor, too. It's completely hypoallergenic and I've had to use it several times to protect several areas on my body and on my baby girl who is very sensitive to fragrances and dyes. It's made by the makers of Eucerin and stays on for a long time. My hubby uses it for cycling too (it's his Death Ride ointment of choice). It's always washed out of his shorts.

Good luck - if there's one area we need to have stay healthy - that's it!

01-21-2006, 03:52 AM
I think all the above suggestions are good ones. Aquaphor is good, A&D is good, chamois buttr, bag balm etc. You can even use eucerin creme (not lotion, the creme). But I wonder about the douching. In general, all those products sold for douching are completely unnecessary and disturbing to the natural, fine, pH and microbiologic balance of the vagina. Eating yogurt with live active culture (bryers has one they call probiotic) will increase the number of good bacteria in the vagina. But douching every other day with anything sounds a little suspect to me. Once maybe. Maybe. Plus, you don't mention infection, you mention irritation. In which case, why is your doc suggesting you irritate the area more with a douche? I'd ask for lots of explanation. Lots.
Good luck on the healing. I'm sure you will. The body is amazing at taking care of itself given half the chance.

01-21-2006, 04:22 AM
If you do end up using Vaseline, it will wash out of your shorts just fine. I've used it over last summer and, yes, it wears off as you ride, so you don't have much to clean off yourself at the end. But I also heard what RoadRaven said - petroleum molecules actually draw moisture out of the skin, so it's functioning more as a protective barrier and lubricant against what the chamois can do to you than sealing in whatever natural lubricant your skin has. You'll probably have to plan several "slather" stops on long rides! ;) You poor girl - ouch!!

01-21-2006, 08:21 AM
Thanks Doc your your views. My doctor has suggested I douche with straight buttermilk, nothing else, in an attempt to replace the "good" bacteria in my vaginal canal. when she did a cytology of the flora in my canal she found none as a result of my use of antibiotics over time for lung and sinus infections. I eat yogurt on a daily basis as well as take acidolophilus tablets every day. When I asked why these were not working my doctor told me they do great things for my digestive tract but the "good" bacteria never leaves my gut and makes it way to my vaginal canal. She feels that two things will hopefully come from this treatment, one the repleshiment of the good stuff as well as keeping the pH balanced thus warding off future yeast infections. I've not started this course of my treatment for I still have a coupld of days left to use the Vagifem tablets in an attempt to prompt the regrowth of healthier/thicker tissues within the canal.

I have an appointment to see her next week to see how things are progressing and to ask a lot of questions about using my birth control pills in conjunction with the estrogen tablets.