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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Cycling-induced cold sores?

    So here's an issue I've run into. All my life I've gotten cold sores as far back as I can remember (elementary school at least), but in the past 5 years or so they have greatly subsided in frequency; I even had an entire year without any 2 years ago.

    Now that I've begun cycling again after taking 5 years off of cycling... suddenly I'm having frequent outbreaks again; I've had 5 since May. Does anyone have any clue why this might be happening? The only thing I can think of is that they are related to the extreme amount of exertion I am putting myself through. I noticed in the "quiet" period where they happened maybe once a year, it was always during periods of extreme stress. So maybe when I'm cycling, I'm putting myself through more stress than I'm accustomed to (going far out of my comfort zone), and maybe that's creating these outbreaks?

    Or am I way off base here? Lately this has been bugging me and I would hate to have this newly rediscovered hobby cause this stupid condition of mine to act up.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. If you drink a lot of gatorade, stop and switch to plain water. If you want something with flavour, pick up an orange juice or something similar along the way.

    2. Are you taking vitamins every day? If not, start.

    I used to get horrible mouth sores (inside the mouth) so that it was hard to eat or talk when I rode long distances and drank gatorade. I quit the gatorade, started taking vitamins a bit more regularly (especially when riding longer distances) and haven't experienced a mouth sore while riding since.

  3. #3
    Has opinion, will express
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    Are these cold sores as in the recurring simplex virus, or are they mouth ulcers?

    If the simplex variety, it might be worth consulting a doctor to see if there are any updated medications that can mitigate their effect.

    If mouth ulcers, Machka's advice is sound. Use vitamin tabs high in the B complex which tends to leach out of the system during exercise, and its absence can cause the sores.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  4. #4
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    Look up cold sore and canker sore on web MD.

  5. #5
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    If you are getting sores inside your mouth w/ extensive riding you might also consider what you do with your mouth/teeth while riding. I know it is fairly common for aggressive riders to clamp and grind with their teeth unconsciously. This can also lead to "chewing" on the cheeks and aggressively pushing the tongue against the teeth which can lead to lacerations and then sores....

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    They're on the outside, it's Simplex, sorry I didn't specify, didn't realise cold sores was a more generic term.

    I do drink a lot of gatorade but that only started last month, the sores started earlier than that. I take a multivitamin too, it's got 100% B6 and 100% B12, but none of the others, so I guess I could start taking a B-complex supplement.

    I've never consulted my doctor about it, I suppose I should. I've read that since it's a virus there's nothing that can be done once they appear.



    Side note: Now that I look at my vitamin label, it's got Iron, Chromium, and Molybdenum. I suppose if I take it with a coke in the morning, it's Chromoly Steel! LOL.

  7. #7
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    Cold sores are definitely stress related. If you cycle strenuously, you are placing your body under physiological stress which is biochemically similar to psychological stress.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage sale GT View Post
    Cold sores are definitely stress related. If you cycle strenuously, you are placing your body under physiological stress which is biochemically similar to psychological stress.
    This.

    Cold sores are most likely herpes simplex (No, you're not dirty, lots of people are carriers. And, no, not the STD... Different things), and stress induces outbreaks.

  9. #9
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    I break out with them every spring, as soon as I start getting a lot of sun. I think the sun exposure early in the season is the cause for mine. I don't have a problem later in the season, after getting exposed to the sun for a few weeks. I start taking aspirin as soon as I notice a blister beginning to form. Several aspirins a day until I don't notice a sign of a cold sore. I may have to repeat a few times for a few weeks. It really seems to help.

  10. #10
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    As Marlin said, sun exposure is part of it. Stress is also. I get them much more regularly since I started riding three years ago.

    I'll have to try the aspirin method. So far I've just been suffering through them. :/
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  11. #11
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Yup. Stress. And stress can be ANYTHING. Emotional or physical.

    Side note:
    I'm an eye doctor. Emotional stress can affect your vision. It is very typical to see a 16 year old girl come into the office, seeing 20/40 and there is NOTHING you can do to improve the vision. After a lengthy talk you can(sometimes) drag out the cause. Usually it's typical 'girl things', like other girls being mean but it can be physical/emotional abuse like ****, so you have to tread lightly. Many times it is divorce too or loss of a loved one or.......

    Wow. r a p e is a word not allowed on this site. Strange.

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  12. #12
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I've had minor issues, and assumed it was sun-related, so was more crareful to get sunblock or chapstick on my lips.

    I would ride all day, then three days later, have a cold sore, it wasn't immediate like sunburn, so I wasn't sure. Hasn't happened the last few times, and could have been coincidence.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  13. #13
    splendid splendidness
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    They are caused by sun and stress. Based on your story sun is more likely your culprit. Take L-Lysine daily and apply SPF lip balm before you go out in the sun and reapply on long rides (try 'softlips' brand). One yogurt for breakfast each day is also helpful. Your MD could also prescribe Valacyclovir to take once you feel a cold sore coming on. ^ StephenH is correct - they appear about three-days post (sun) trauma.

  14. #14
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    SPF15 or higher lib balm fixed my problem most of the time. Valtrex (valacyclovir) works great if you take it as soon as you feel it coming on. It's best to go see the doc and have the prescription filled before you need it though so you can start taking it right away. Heck I keep some at the office just so I don't have to wait a few hours to start the dosage.

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