How to Protect Your Perineal Area From the Bike Seat

How to Protect Your Perineal Area From the Bike Seat

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Stand on the pedals to avoid getting jostled by bumps.

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A normal sitting posture directs almost all weight to your ischium or sit bones. Biking is one few seated activities that distributes your weight across both the ischium and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. Given this position, you may experience chafing of the perineum, the area of soft tissue between the anus and the scrotum or vulva. You can take steps to avoid chafing and attendant problems such as irritation, rash and infection.

Seat Adjustments


Install a bike seat specific to your sex. Men's and women's seats are designed to distribute pressure across differently shaped anatomic structures, and an inappropriately designed seat can cause perineal friction and chafing.


Switch to a wider bike seat if your sit bones are wider than the seat and aren't fully supported. Or try a bike seat that is firmer than your current seat. Although having a cushy seat might sound nice in theory, the more you sink into your seat, the more weight gets distributed forward toward the perineum.


Lower your seat if it's too high, which increases pelvic rotation as you ride, which in turn causes chafing. Or tilt your seat to a horizontal position if it is angled too high, which distributes your weight directly on the perineum.


Shift the bike seat closer to the handlebars if your knees fall behind the center pedal axis or if you have short arms and have to stretch forward to reach the handles.

Ride Protection


Apply a chamois cream to the irritated area before your ride to provide a layer of lubrication between your skin and bicycle shorts or undergarments.


Wear a pair of wicking bike shorts to minimize sweat at the site and a seamless chamois lining to minimize surface friction. Wear compression shorts rather than underwear under your shorts. Change out of your shorts as soon as possible after your ride ends and wash your bike shorts and compression shorts between every use.


Stand up on the pedals every 10 to 15 minutes during your ride to stretch and relieve pressure. Redistribute your weight slightly when you sit down. Stand on the pedals as well when you ride over bumpy terrain.


Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream or diaper rash cream to the affected area after the ride if you experience pain or itching.

Things Needed

  • Compression shorts
  • Chamois cream
  • Antibiotic cream


  • Visit a physician if irritation persists or if your perineal area becomes infected.


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