By Rachel Fawcett – Soft Tissue Therapist and Personal Trainer
If you love to cycle, keep reading.
The joys of cracking a KOM on Strava can sometimes be countered by less pleasant consequences of time in the saddle. A study published in April 2018 found that female cyclists are more likely to report a history of UTI’s than non-cyclists. Why is this?
We know that females are physiologically more prone to UTIs than men; female anatomy allows bacteria from the intestine to easily reach the urethra and then the short length of the female urethra means that it is easy for these bacteria to reach the bladder. Women who are sexually active and have a history of UTI’s are also more likely to report issues. However, cyclists have additional factors to consider.
The area closest to the saddle is an area which already contains a lot of bacteria, however the extra warmth and sweat caused by cycling can increase the bacterial colonies if cyclists are not very careful. The friction caused by the saddle can also help to force these bacteria up the urethra and into the bladder. These factors can then be compounded by dehydration which is almost inevitable on a long ride.
The good news is that there are some pre-emptive steps which female cyclists can take to help prevent the onset of a UTI.
The first is enhanced hygiene during the ride. It is important to keep the area as clean as possible with regular washing before and immediately after you ride. This combined with regular changes of underwear and the wearing of cotton pants will help to reduce the bacteria in this region.
Hydration is also key, even if this means regular pit stops on your ride. Increased dehydration leads to increasingly concentrated urine collecting in the bladder providing a perfect place for bacteria to multiply. By staying hydrated, cyclists can regularly flush this bacteria out and prevent a build up.
Additional specific protection for cyclists who have suffered from UTI’s in the past and want to be proactive, can try taking a herbal complex such as Uralix before and after the ride.
Uralix is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory natural solution that can fight the bacteria entering the urethra and the bladder and can provide specific protection against urinary tract infections.
Spread the word saddle warriors.