Why Does My Vagina Sweat So Much?

Sweating is a normal part of the body’s heat regulation system. It’s also common for the area around the genitals to sweat, especially in women with a high concentration of apocrine glands on the labia majora.

Usually, this sweat is caused by warm weather or exercise. But excessive sweating in this area can be a sign of hyperhidrosis.

Stress

The vulva has glands that secrete moisture in response to hot temperatures, so sweating there is normal. But it’s not so normal when that sweat is accompanied by an unpleasant, fishy smell, which can be a sign of bacterial vaginosis or sexually transmitted infections. Health Shots spoke to a gynecologist and obstetrician, Dr Rashmi Baliyan, to learn what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to sweating down there.

There are a few things you can do to keep your crotch sweat at bay. Start by wearing light, breathable cotton underwear. The natural fibers help wick away the sweat, and they’ll dry much faster than polyester, which doesn’t breathe and holds the moisture against your skin (yuck!). Another tip is to use a body wash without fragrance, as most scented products are made with ingredients that can throw off your vaginal pH and lead to irritation.

Also avoid panty liners and sanitary pads, which have plastic linings that don’t allow the skin to breathe. You may also want to consider shaving or waxing your pubic hair, as the hair traps moisture and sweat and can cause odor. Finally, avoid antiperspirant sprays, as they can irritate the vulva and increase your risk of infection. Instead, try a mild deodorant designed for women or invest in a more natural, organic product like Baby powder.

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Hormonal Changes

Anyone who’s ever watched telly on the couch, crushed a workout, or spent the day walking around outside knows that sweaty vulvas happen. But it’s important to remember that just like your armpits, head, back, and hands, sweating there is completely normal. What is not normal is excessive sweating in that area.

The genital area has its own set of sweat glands, which results in perspiration in and around the labia majora, or outer areas of the female genitalia. Often, when women talk about “female groin sweat,” they mean this kind of sweating. But it’s also possible for the sweating to happen in the skin around the vulva or crotch, as well as in the vagina itself.

Sweaty vulvas are very common and normal, but there are some things that can trigger it more than others. For example, hormone changes can cause it to sweat more than usual, especially if you’re on your period or are breastfeeding. Hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause can also lead to extra sweating in that area.

Wearing breathable, cotton underwear can help keep your vulva dry and cool throughout the day. And if you’re on your period, switching to pads made from natural fibers or fabric that’s designed to wick away moisture can reduce odor and sweat. Avoid antiperspirants, as they’ll kill the good bacteria in that area and can cause irritation and odor.

Infections

For some people, excessive sweat in the groin area can be an indicator of bacterial vaginitis. BV is a common infection that causes a fishy or yeast-like smell, thicker or clumpier discharge and itching. It can be triggered by new or multiple sex partners, antibiotic use (which disrupts the balance of healthy bacteria in your vulva) and certain menstrual products.

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It’s important to note that the groin area does not sweat like your armpits, eyelids or scalp. The groin has a concentration of sweat glands called apocrine glands that secrete a different type of sweat that contains fatty acids and protein. This sweat is soaked up by the hairs that cover the skin of the groin and is then cooled off as it passes through your pores.

While sweat is natural, it’s important to keep in mind that too much of it can lead to discomfort, chafing and irritation. You can prevent excess sweating from causing these symptoms by practicing proper hygiene, such as showering regularly with mild soap and warm water and changing your underwear often. Avoid wearing tight thongs or panties, and choose breathable cotton underwear. A light dusting of cornstarch-based powder may also help absorb moisture in the groin, though you should always opt for a talc-free version as it has been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women.

Hyperhidrosis

It’s perfectly normal to sweat more in the summer, but if you’re perspiring a lot around your vulva — and you don’t feel particularly hot — it may be a sign of something more serious. Having excess sweating near the groin area is called vulvar hyperhidrosis, and it can cause discomfort, itchiness, and even set you up for bacterial or yeast infections. “If you’re experiencing a wet crotch, and you don’t really have the energy to be sweating at all (or if it happens when you’re not working out or sitting in a warm room),” it could be a sign of underlying issues like systemic diseases or medication, says gynecologist Christine Greves, MD.

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Fortunately, there are ways to reduce vulvar sweating. Wearing cotton underwear, avoiding tight-fitting clothes, and dusting the area with antiperspirant powders that don’t contain talcum can help you stay dry. Dr Rashmi Baliyan, gynecologist and obstetrician consultant at Primus Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, tells Health Shots that wearing breathable underwear made of 100% cotton is the best option for your vulva because synthetic or silk materials prevent airflow and can cause moisture buildup.

It’s also important to know that your vulva doesn’t have any sweat glands — so the sweat you’re feeling down there is actually sweat from the areas *around* your vulva, which includes your labia majora (the big outer lips of your vagina), the mons pubis (the hump at the top of your legs), and the area where your legs meet your torso. The same fixes that work for your armpits, hands, and feet (like iontophoresis or MiraDry) won’t help you with crotch sweat, however.

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