Author Topic: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!  (Read 28621 times)

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Offline bwtransam

Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« on: June 20, 2009, 08:38:16 am »

I'm a young, inexperienced biker who set out a month ago on the TransAmerica trail. After a delightful first thousand miles, I began to develop a rash in my groin area that quickly went from nuisance to major problem. It kept me up late at night with incessant itching and was tender and often painful while riding.

I assumed at first that the rash was jock itch. I bought an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream and applied it. The rash continued to spread onto my upper thigh, my rear, and my waist line (right along the spandex waist-band of my biking shorts).

At this point, being near my home, I decided to take a few days off the trail and get the rash taken care of while I rested up. I went to the emergency room to get a diagnosis as soon as possible, and was told that I had contact dermititus that had also developed a bacterial infection. Prescribed with a steroid cream and an antibiotic, I headed home. Two days later, simply because I was so urgent to be rid of the rash and be on the trail again, I saw my internist, who told me that I had both a fungal infection and contact dermititus. He prescribed more medications, including a stronger steroid cream, an oral steroid, and a prescription anti-fungal.

Wanting one more opinion, I went to a dermatologist, who, after calling in two other dermatologists to examine me, decided that I had only contact dermititus, probably due to an allergy to my biking shorts. This came as quite a shock, as I have no allergies, and my biking shorts are relatively standard, Novara brand biking shorts.

Anyway (and I apologize for rambling here) it has now been one week and my rash continues to worsen! I am absolutely desperate to hit the trail again -- and the strong prescription medications that I was told would knock the rash out in a few days have not even kept it from further spreading! My hopes of reaching the Pacific fade with every day that I waste waiting for this skin problem to clear.

While I realize that asking for a medical diagnosis in an online forum is borderline ridiculous -- and I won't be posting photos, not to worry -- I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this? Has anyone heard of an allergy to biking shorts? Any strange stories of bizarre bike-induced rashes? Is there something that I (and five doctors!) could be missing here?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 10:47:25 am by bwtransam »

Offline Reinier

Re: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2009, 01:47:52 pm »
I won't give you a diagnosis of course, but some advice nevertheless. I'd try to find one good doctor and try to cure the rash with him, instead of jumping around from the one expert to the other. If the rash only gets worse while on treatment, he should switch to another treatment, if he's worth anything as a doctor. You don't have to switch doctors every time you switch treatment.

And rashes because of heavy biking are not that rare. Have you educated yourself on this on the web? First hit with Google is, looks pretty good.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2009, 01:04:18 pm »
The exact location of the rash might help some of the more experienced among us to pinpoint a solution. You don't mention your hygiene or laundry systems and those simple things can make all the difference. Sweat and other stuff in your shorts can turn into nasty irritants after short fermentation periods and the whole range of flora is different for women riders.

You may need to not only change your shorts more often, like twice a day, but may need to wash them more carefully, too, getting them not only cleaner but totally free of detergents an additives.

wishing you luck

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2009, 04:30:55 pm »
Bike tour related rashes I have had responded instantly to a night with Balmex or other zinc oxide based diaper cream.

Offline Cycnus

Re: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2009, 07:02:22 pm »
You may also be allergic to Latex or a Latex derivative.  Latex and/or its derivatives are found in many clothing items so I would have your doctor run an allergy panel and see if Latex might be a part of your problem.  As someone with the allergy, and it is aggressive, I have to be very careful about what I wear in this regard.  Just a thought.
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Offline cyclebum

Re: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2009, 11:48:02 am »
Bummer about the complicated rash you got going. Strange it's not clearing quicker what with the high powered meds you're taking/applying. Trust your dermatologist, and be glad you had the financial resources for all the consults. Many don't. Not much else you can do.

Try not to stress too much about the delay. Nothing wrong at all with a two stage cross country. It's still a cross country ride no matter how many stages. Plus, anticipation of completing your ride at a later date just extends the fun. I did mine in three stages over 2 years and had a blast with each one.

Offline BikingViking

Re: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2009, 06:19:49 pm »
It's a long shot but ya never know. My daughter is allergic to glue, especially in shoes. She breaks out in a rash very similar to the one you describe. If there is glue in the seams, that may contribute to this allergy to bike shorts. Good luck.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Bike Related Skin Rashes -- Please Help!
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2009, 12:59:04 pm »
Of all the long-distance cycle touring I've done, I have never had such a problem as this rash you write about. One partial remedy for heat rash or friction rash might be corn starch baby powder.