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We tend to neglect our most delicate area until we find ourselves sidelined with a wicked yeast infection or a serious case of chafing. Though these are quite common issues in female runners, it’s too often considered a taboo subject—but we’re aiming to change that. We’ve asked Dr. Breanna Pond, a board-certified gynecologist and fellow runner, how to prevent down-there chafe drama.
Q: Holy chafe, Batman! What can I do to make this go away?
There’s a lot of friction happening where the legs meet the body. The area most prone to chafing in women is the inner thigh, followed by the labia. Runners are especially vulnerable, as they possess a perfect recipe for chafing: Strong, muscular thighs plus repetitive friction equals a whole lot of ouch.
Here’s your foolproof guide to combatting chafe like a boss:
- Before your run, apply a lubricant specifically designed for skin chafing in sensitive areas, like Body Glide ($10, 1.5 ounces, bodyglide.com).
- Wear moisture-wicking fabrics with smart seam placement. Try shorts with a compression liner that extends down the leg, instead of one that looks like bikini bottoms.
- For particularly long or sweaty runs, consider carrying a sample size of your favorite lubricant to reapply as needed. (In a pinch, a tube of Chapstick will work as well—just make sure to label it so you know where it’s been!)
If the damage is already done, Pond says to treat your chafing like any other running injury—with lots of rest. Take some time off until the skin heals, lest the chafed skin becomes more aggravated or infected.