Sweat is your body’s way of cooling itself down when it gets hot. And while sweating down there is normal, excess vaginal sweat can cause odor and set you up for infections like yeast or bacterial vaginosis.

Unlike the armpits, where you have eccrine glands, the groin has apocrine glands. These glands produce thicker, more odorous sweat.

Excessive Sweating

Yes, the area around the vulva has sweat glands, and as such it is perfectly normal for that region to be sweaty. Whether you’re watching TV on the couch, walking your dog, taking a powerlifting class or sipping latte at a local cafe, the sweaty vulva is a common occurrence for many women. But, if you’re perspiring more than is usual and it’s impacting your daily life, talk to a dermatologist about anticholinergic medications to help reduce the sweating, suggests Dr. Parks.

Sweating in the groin and lower pelvic area is also common after vigorous exercise because physical exertion increases your body’s temperature, which causes you to sweat as a way of cooling down. However, if you’re sweating excessively in the groin and lower pelvic areas for no apparent reason, it’s likely due to hormonal changes and may be a sign of certain systemic diseases, explains gynecologist Christine Greves, MD.

The same anticholinergic medications that help with sweating underarms, hands and feet can be used on the vulva to combat sweating in the groin or vulva area, but it’s important to use an all-natural product to avoid irritation. She suggests using a cornstarch-based powder to help absorb moisture. Avoid talcum or baby powder, which is not safe for vaginas, and only lightly dust the area (not inside the vagina). You can also try a light odor control deodorant.

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Hormonal Changes

As if pit stains and damp bras weren’t enough, there’s another sweaty area of your body that many women deal with during the summer: the vulva. You might be surprised to hear that you can actually sweat down there, but it’s totally normal.

The vulva is covered in sweat glands similar to those in your armpits, which makes it very susceptible to the same types of sweating that you might experience after a vigorous workout, on a hot day or while sitting down in a heated office chair for long periods of time. But when this sweating is limited to your groin area, it’s referred to as focal hyperhidrosis, and there are several reasons why it may be occurring.

For starters, hormonal changes in perimenopause and menopause can cause it. As estrogen levels decline, the hypothalamus (the part of your brain that regulates hormones) can have trouble keeping your core temperature stable, which leads to excessive sweating. The sweating may also be caused by the same triggers that would cause you to sweat elsewhere on your body, such as hot flashes, which can occur in more than 80 percent of women ages 40 to 60.

To help combat crotch sweat, avoid any products with perfumes or dyes that can cause irritation to the sensitive area and opt for breathable fabrics like cotton, which can help moisture evaporate. Also, try to trim or wax pubic hair down there to prevent it from trapping moisture and causing odors.

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Stress

Everyone sweats, and the groin area is no exception. However, while crotch sweat is normal, it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable in certain situations. The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce sweating in this area.

For starters, choose breathable underwear. Synthetic or silk fabrics can prevent air flow and trap moisture, which causes excessive sweating. Instead, try 100 percent cotton underwear or underwear made of materials designed to wick away sweat. Also, make sure your underwear fits correctly, as this can reduce friction that could cause sweating.

It’s also a good idea to shower regularly, and to use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol. This can help remove excess sweat and bacteria, which in turn can reduce odor. Finally, it’s a good idea to trim or shave your pubic hair. Although this is a personal choice, the hair can create friction and trap sweat in the pores. This can lead to odor and yeast infections.

Most people don’t sweat in the vagina, but some women may experience a heightened amount of crotch sweat after a strenuous workout or when they’re overheated. This is because the vulva has more sweat glands and hair follicles than other parts of the body, so it’s a bit more sensitive to temperature changes. If you notice a sudden increase in groin sweat, talk to your doctor to learn more about why it’s happening and what you can do to reduce it.

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Medications

Sweat is our body’s way of keeping cool, and the groin area is no exception. But when certain physiological signals get off-kilter, causing the crotch to sweat excessively, it can be an indication of an underlying condition called hyperhidrosis.

Unlike the rest of the body, which has eccrine glands that produce the sweat we’re most familiar with (think pit stains and damp bras), the hair-laden areas of our bodies—including the scalp, armpits, and groin—have apocrine glands that produce a thicker form of sweat that can have an odor when it mixes with bacteria. This type of sweat is why your crotch can smell like a fishy fart.

Excessive groin sweating may be caused by hormone changes or anxiety, but it could also be a sign of a more serious medical issue. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing this problem regularly, especially if it’s coupled with other symptoms such as vaginal odor or yeast infections.

To keep your vulva feeling fresh and dry, make sure to wear cotton underwear and avoid synthetic or silk material. Any residue that wicks down to the groin can cause irritation and potentially throw off the pH of your vulva, leading to an increased risk of infections and yeast outbreaks. Always use a gentle cleanser in the area and skip the antiperspirant, which can irritate delicate skin and tissues.