Zwift-induced cysts

I must be doing something wrong. I keep getting sebaceous cysts at the base of my ■■■■■■■. If I completely stop riding, they stop growing, but they don’t go away. If I continue to ride, they grow and get increasingly painful. Since I started Zwifting, I’ve had two surgically removed. Each time, I’ve had to stay off the bike for 6-8 weeks post-surgery.

I’ve tried different bike seats (4 so far), different bike shorts, different chamois creams. I bathe after every ride, so the chamois cream doesn’t fester. When the cysts start, I use warm compresses, but that just slows them down. They don’t go away. Hydrocortisone cream does nothing.

A rocker board seems to help, but it isn’t a panacea. I suspect that this is an issue brought on by the rigidity of the bike on an indoor trainer. I never had this problem when riding outside.

I’m working on a third large cyst now. If I participate in Tour de Zwift, I’m probably looking at another surgery, and that makes me sad.

Surely, I can’t be the only one with this problem. Has anyone found an effective non-surgical solution?

Without knowing every possible piece of information regarding your issue I’m not sure anyone can offer a ‘for sure’ solution, but I’m guessing you’ll get a number of different opinions on the matter. I’d suggest that you read them all and ascertain how each may, or may not, help your issue.

First question: Are you using the same bike (and shoes and shorts) for Zwift as you do IRL? If so, that would seem to remove any issues specifically related to bike fit while doing one vs. the other. Though I would still guess (based on my own bias, of course) that you likely spend a lot more time in the saddle while Zwifting than while riding outside. If this is the case, you may just need to stand more often while using Zwift. You may also just want to try yet another saddle. I don’t know what you’ve tried so far, but I have had great success with the Selle SMP saddles. I use the Composit on all of my bikes, and my wife uses a Dynamic outdoors and a Drakon indoors. There are a number of other models from which to choose, also. They are odd looking, for sure (and not cheap), but have improved my cycling experience dramatically.

In my experience there is also less coasting while using Zwift than IRL. This may also be coming into play in your situation due to the increased number of revolutions you are cranking out during a ride.

Also, without actual hills on Zwift (unless you are using at Kickr Climb) you would also be in basically the same position the entire ride, whereas IRL you would be tilting your pelvis differently on the saddle depending on the grade, resulting in less pressure in one place for an extended period.

I’m sure there are a number of other potential issues, also, but those are some I can think of right off. I hope you can find a solution, because your situation does not sound joyous at all.

Have you tried, standing up every 10min of riding for at least 1min?

When I started zwifting, I got massive pain in my butt after 40-50mins. I then put a timer in front of me, set it to 10min. When it went off, I changed gears and stood up for minimum 1min and set the timer again. It got better with every ride and now I can Zwift like 3h with just minor (normal) pain in the butt :crazy_face:

Hi Jim,
sorry to hear your problem.
I was wondering if like me your shorts/chamois get very wet/sweaty whilst Zwifting.
Outside this is never really a problem but inside I think it can be an issue.

If you think this might be an issue you could use a towel to sit beneath your jersey and into your shorts. I know this sounds strange, and looks even stranger, but my shorts and chamois stay a lot drier now that the towel soaks up most of the sweat.

Ensuring you have good quality shorts is also important. Zwift is very hard on shorts. I’ve destroyed 5 pairs in 2 years.
Hope you find a solution and get through this years Tour de Zwift.

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Hi Jim sorry to hear, those suck and make riding a pain in the but.

What I found that work for me, is after a nice shower I use oxy triple action pads, yes it sound strange but it get the aria nice and clean.

If they are lumpy then use some Preparation H Hemorrhoid Symptom Treatment after the oxy pads, again weird but it help reduce the swelling.

Good luck. Hope some of this helps.

I too have developed some “extra” bumps in the seating/perineal area. For me, sitting and riding Zwift is not the same as IRL since you are constantly riding and putting pressure in that area. What I successfully experimented with is putting the nose of the saddle down a bit so I put more pressure on the seat bones and not so much in the perineal area. Good Luck!

Lots of good ideas here. Thanks!

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I’ve used Sudocrem rather than chamois butter while touring to deal with bad saddle sores, but this sounds worse.

Whats your cooling situation like? I’ve had far fewer issues “down there” since i invested in a really big fan.