Whether it’s chafing, itching or even bruising, working out can take its toll on your lady parts. While there is no doubt that working out is beneficial for your health, it’s important not to forget to take care of your vaginal area during and after exercise.
Here’s what can go wrong, and what you can do about it:
1. Chafing, itching and burning during and after a run
Ever ran a marathon, only to strip off your clothes afterwards and feel the painful burn from chafing as soon as you hit the shower? Sweaty clothes, frequent rubbing and impact for hours, and delicate skin are a combination that can lead to horrible chafing, itching, burning and rashes. This tends to happen especially around the groin area. Exposing your bits to damp, sweaty running tights and underwear for too long may also increase your risk for yeast infections.
Here’s what you should do: Switch to well-fitting, moisture-wicking running tights and underwear. Avoid underwear with prominent seams, as these can cause chafing during a run. Apply a lubricant such as Vaseline, a body glide product or even nappy ointment (Fissan Paste works well) on all the vulnerable areas before you go for a run.
Afterwards, take off the sweaty tights and shower as soon as possible while avoiding too hot water. Dry properly and carefully and apply ointment again to soothe sensitive skin.
2. Yeast infections after swimming
Swimming is a great form of exercise, but the exposure to chlorine and wet material may not always be kind to your nether regions. If you make a habit of lounging around or chatting to your friends while in your wet costume straight out of the pool, stop it immediately.
Water from the pool is not the direct cause of a yeast infection, but the prolonged exposure to wet fabric may increase your risk of yeast overgrowth, which can lead to itching, burning and a discharge.
Here’s what you should do: Always take along a dry set of clothes when you go swimming. If you plan to lounge around the pool, a dry swimming costume might be a good idea. Rinse your body and change into dry clothes straight after swimming if you are prone to yeast infections.
3. Burning and bruising after spinning
Being in the saddle for a prolonged period may lead to pressure sores, which can present in the form of cracked, red skin or even blisters. As with running, chafing can also be a problem when cycling.
Here’s what you should do: Invest in a padded pair of cycling shorts, as these can help alleviate pressure sores. If you prefer hitting the road on your own bike instead of sweating away in a spin class, you have the option of investing in a gel-padded seat cover for extra cushioning.
As with long runs, protecting your delicate skin with a lubricant beforehand can also make a difference and help prevent chafing.
Workout clothes, as comfy as they are, become breeding grounds for bacteria as soon as they become sweaty. Follow good hygiene after your workout routine to minimise your risk for infections. These tips may help:
- Don’t sit around in the same workout pants and underwear. Even if you can’t shower immediately after your workout, dry underwear can make a big difference.
- Avoid any perfumed shower gels or soaps when washing, as these can disturb the delicate pH balance of the skin and lead to itching, burning and infections.
- Wash with lukewarm water.
- Try to wash your workout clothes as soon as possible to avoid festering in the laundry basket for too long. You can invest in a detergent made specifically for workout gear to help maintain and protect the moisture-wicking properties of your workout clothes.
- Wear well-fitting workout pants and underwear to minimise chafing.
- When you need to wax or groom your pubic hair, read these tips to help avoid post-waxing rashes.
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