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Cycling in competition leaves its mark on women athletes

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Benign unilateral enlargement of the vulva is more likely in women cyclist athletes, reports one sports doctor for the first time. The condition should be noted among other conditions affecting this group of athletes.

This sports specialist saw four cases of vulval hypertrophy on one side during one year in women cyclists of international or national ranking. One case was associated with pain and swelling in the inguinal nodes and folliculitis and another with pain from bruising of the vulva owing to cycling with a poor saddle in competition. The two other cases were found during routine checks.

Presumably the unilateral vulval hypertrophy seen here arises out of persistent asymmetric loading. The condition is unusual in the normal population, when it may signal infection or cancer, and such causes should be ruled out in women cyclist athletes.