It’s not unusual to experience some sweating between the legs, especially during exercise and hot weather. We have many sweat glands located in our nether regions. Sweat stains on the crotch of your yoga pants, however, can be potentially embarrassing.

Sweating, or perspiring, helps our body cool itself off. The sweating process involves our metabolism, nervous system, hormones, blood flow, and even our emotions.

Sweat that accumulates on your thighs and pools between your legs could indicate a problem, especially if it interferes with your daily life. Here are some possible symptoms of excessive sweating:

  • itching
  • chaffing
  • irritation
  • pungent odor

The medical term for excessive sweating not caused by temperature or exercise is hyperhidrosis. It can be hard to tell what’s considered a normal amount of sweat and what’s considered excessive, especially if don’t feel comfortable talking about it.

There are certain signs to watch for if you think you may be sweating too much between the legs. You can make an appointment with a doctor to help pinpoint the cause of your excessive sweating and possibly even treat it.

Sweating in groin area and inner thighs for females

The vaginal area contains the apocrine glands. Most women will experience some vaginal sweating due to the presence of these glands. For some women, excessive sweating can indicate a problem.

The causes of sweating between the legs in women are varied. You might need to schedule an appointment with a doctor for further evaluation.

Some reasons why a woman might have excessive sweating in the groin area and inner thighs include:

  • menopause, due to changing hormone levels
  • low blood sugar
  • diabetes, which may include night sweats, or nocturnal hyperhidrosis, caused by low blood sugar during the night
  • pregnancy, due to shifting hormones
  • hormone imbalance
  • hyperthyroidism, which may include other symptoms like rapid weight loss, jitteriness, fatigue, and a fast heart rate
  • diaphoretic, or sweat-causing, medications, including some blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, hormone treatments, and certain antidepressants
  • anxiety disorders or stress
  • a family history of hyperhidrosis
  • obesity
Crotch sweat for males

Men generally sweat more than women, so what’s considered excessive sweating in women may actually be normal for men.

However, certain conditions can result in excessive sweating that interferes with everyday life. These include:

  • low blood sugar
  • diabetes
  • hyperthyroidism, which may include other symptoms like rapid weight loss, jitteriness, fatigue, and a fast heart rate
  • diaphoretic, or sweat-causing, medications, including some blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, hormone treatments, and certain antidepressants
  • hormone imbalance
  • anxiety disorders or stress
  • obesity
  • family history of hyperhidrosis
How to control excessive sweating in the groin area

Excessive sweating in the groin area can be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments.

For men

Things you can try at home:

  • Wear underwear made of natural materials, such as cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics.
  • Wear loose-fitting boxers.
  • Shower twice daily.
  • Apply cornstarch to help control moisture and odor.
  • Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Try relaxation strategies, like yoga or meditation, to reduce stress levels.

Depending on the cause, a doctor may also recommend medical treatments for treating excessive sweating, including:

  • prescription antiperspirant with aluminum chloride
  • Botox injections to block the nerves that stimulate your sweat glands
  • anticholinergic drugs, such as glycopyrrolate (Robinul)
  • surgery to block nerves that cause sweating, which is typically only suggested after trying other treatments

Since a sweaty groin is prone to fungal infections like jock itch, ask your doctor for a prescription antifungal powder to reduce your risk of infections.

For women

Things to try at home for reducing sweat in the groin area include:

  • Avoid tight-fitting synthetic underwear, pantyhose, tights, and yoga pants.
  • Wear underwear made from materials that breathe, like cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics.
  • Use cornstarch to help control moisture and odor.
  • Bathe twice daily.
  • Trim back pubic hair.
  • Use an antiperspirant between the legs, but avoid sensitive skin on the vulva and mucous membranes.
  • Reduce stress with yoga, breathing exercises, or meditation.
  • Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.

A sweaty groin may also lead to yeast infections. Ask your doctor or head to the drugstore for an antifungal cream, ointment, tablet, or suppository if you think you have a yeast infection.

Medical options for excessive sweating include:

  • hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for hot flashes during menopause
  • prescription antiperspirant with aluminum chloride
  • Botox injections to block the nerves that stimulate your sweat glands
  • anticholinergic drugs like glycopyrrolate (Robinul)
  • hormonal birth control to regulate menstrual cycles
  • surgery to block nerves that cause sweating, which is typically only suggested after trying other treatments
When to see a doctor

It’s important to see a healthcare provider to rule out possible conditions.

Women may want to seek medical attention for sweating in the groin area and inner thighs if they:

  • get repeated yeast infections
  • have repeated cases of bacterial vaginosis
  • notice a strong vaginal odor (fishy, yeast, or musty smell) and thick discharge
  • have inflammation, swelling, and pain in the vulva
  • have sweating that suddenly increases
  • notice excessive sweat in other parts of the body
  • see sweating alongside other symptoms
  • experience emotional complications, like anxiety in social settings, because of sweating

Men naturally tend to sweat more than women, but there are still a few signs that the sweating could be a cause for concern. Men may want to see a doctor for sweating if they:

  • have a flaky and scaly rash on the genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks
  • feel a burning sensation around the scrotum and penis
  • have testicles that are excessively itchy
  • sweat excessively in other parts of the body
  • see sweating alongside other symptoms
  • have sweating that increases suddenly
  • notice a change in body odor
  • experience emotional complications, like anxiety in social settings, because of sweating
Takeaway

Most people sweat between the legs when they’re exercising or on a hot day. For some, the moist, sticky feeling in the groin persists all day long. Extra showers, careful drying, and wearing natural fabrics are only some of the ways to deal with this.

If the recommended treatments don’t work, it’s time to get help, even if you may not feel comfortable talking about your sweating.

If sweating interferes with your daily life, including work or your relationship, see a healthcare provider. Let them know if you notice other symptoms along with sweating.

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Why Do I Have Body Odor?

Why Sweat Stinks and How to Smell Sweeter

Everyone gets body odor. Body odor, called bromhidrosis, is a normal part of the human experience. But it’s embarrassing enough that you want to get rid of it.

Why Does Sweat Stink?

Sweat itself doesn’t have a smell. Body odor is actually the fault of the bacteria that live in sweaty areas of your body.

Bacteria thrive in moist environments, like your armpits. When you sweat, the bacteria break down certain proteins in the sweat into acids. So, it’s not the bacteria that stink. It’s the by-product of the bacteria breaking down the sweat.1

The Glands Responsible for Body Odor

Bacteria aren’t the only odoriferous offenders though. It also depends on which sweat glands are doing the sweating. You have different types of sweat glands in your skin—eccrine glands and apocrine glands.

Eccrine glands are found over your entire skin. These coiled glands are found in the lower layer of the skin called the dermis. They squeeze sweat directly to the surface of the skin through a duct. As the sweat evaporates, it helps to cool your skin and regulate your body temperature.

Sweat produced by eccrine glands is high in salt, so it’s harder for bacteria to break down and less likely to produce a smell.

Apocrine glands are found in select areas of the body, namely your armpits, groin, and pubic area. Apocrine glands aren’t designed to help cool you off as eccrine glands do. Instead, these glands empty into a hair follicle instead of a duct. Apocrine glands release sweat when your body temperature rises, but also when you’re under stress.

It’s the sweat produced by apocrine glands that is responsible for body odor because it is high in protein that, when broken down by bacteria, causes a stink.

That’s why body odor mostly develops in your armpits and groin area, and why you don’t get B.O. on your forehead. It also explains why little children don’t get B.O. even when they sweat. Apocrine glands remain inactive until puberty when they begin to produce sweat. It’s only after puberty begins that body odor suddenly becomes an issue.2

Things That Make You Susceptible to B.O.

Besides apocrine glands and bacteria messing with your sweat, there are certain things that can make you more apt to develop body odor.3

    • Being overweight. Skin folds can hold sweat and bacteria, making a more hospitable home for body odor.
    • Eating spicy, pungent foods. These don’t actually make your sweat any smellier, but the scents of pungent foods can permeate through your skin, making body odor seem worse.
    • Certain medical conditions. Diabetes, kidney or liver problems, overactive thyroid, and (extremely rare) genetic conditions can cause a change in your normal body scent. In some cases, an odd body odor can be a sign of something more serious. For example, a bleach-like or urine-like smell may mean kidney or liver problems. If you notice an odd change in your normal body odor or feel something is just not right, contact your doctor.
    • Stress. Stress causes your apocrine glands to work overtime. Remember, these are the glands that cause smelly sweat. So, you may notice a sudden breakout of B.O. right before your big presentation or after a particularly hair-raising event.
    • Genetics. Some people are just more prone to developing body odor than others.
  • Excessive sweating. A condition called hyperhidrosis can cause you to sweat a lot, as can menopause. And some people just naturally sweat more than others.

Tips for Reducing Body Odor

Body odor can be embarrassing, but luckily, in the majority of cases, it doesn’t signal a serious problem. There are things you can do to banish B.O., or at least tone it down a notch.4

Shower at least once daily. Use soap or shower gel and lather up thoroughly, especially in areas prone to B.O. In especially hot, humid areas, a twice-daily shower may be in order, but using a washcloth to wash jut your armpits, groin and skin folds is effective as well. It goes without saying—shower ASAP after working out or sweating.

Use an anti-bacterial soap. If regular showers aren’t doing the trick, use an anti-bacterial soap or body wash like Dial, or a benzoyl peroxide cleanser. These washes can help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin so there is less to turn sweat into stink.

Get the right underarm product. Did you know there are differences? Deodorants make your underarms a less hospitable home for bacteria. They also help mask B.O. with fragrance. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, block the sweat glands to reduce perspiration. If you don’t sweat much but get body odor, deodorants are the way to go. If you’re a sweater, make sure you get a product that is labeled both an antiperspirant and deodorant. If you get major B.O., look for a stronger product with higher percentages of active ingredients. If over-the-counter products aren’t keeping you fresh, talk with your doctor about getting a prescription antiperspirant/deodorant.

Wear breathable fabrics. Natural fabrics, like cotton, are better than polyesters, nylon, and rayon at keeping B.O. at bay. Natural fibers breathe, allowing the sweat to evaporate away. Avoid fabrics that trap sweat against the skin. These allow for a better breeding ground for body odor to develop. When working out, opt for moisture-wicking fabrics.5

Eliminate or reduce spicy or pungent foods from your diet. Strong smelling foods like curry, garlic, spicy peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and onions can cause a more pungent sweat. Even alcohol can have an effect on the smell of your sweat. If you eat these types of foods regularly, try reducing them or eliminating them altogether and see if that doesn’t help sweeten your sweat.

Shave or wax. Apocrine glands are concentrated in areas covered by hair, namely the armpits and the pubic area. The hair holds sweat and makes a good environment where bacteria can thrive. Removing hair can go a long way in controlling body odor. Yes, guys, that means you may want to consider shaving your underarms. If you prefer not going completely bare in any area, trimming the hair up short can also help reduce B.O.

Medical Treatments for Body Odor

If you’ve done everything to help reduce body odor and aren’t noticing an improvement, give your doctor a call. You may have something different going on that needs addressing (a fungal infection, for example). Or, you just may need a stronger treatment to get body odor under control. Some options:4

  • Prescription antiperspirants/deodorants are stronger than what you can get over the counter and are typically the first treatment step for body odor.
  • Antibiotics, topical and oral, can help reduce bacteria on the skin.
  • Botox reduces your eccrine glands’ ability to produce sweat. This is not a permanent fix, though, and treatment needs to be repeated every few months.
  • Laser treatment reduces hair follicles, but may not help with B.O.
  • Surgery to remove sweat glands is done in extreme cases.

A Word From Verywell

You could say your body is naturally designed to produce body odor. Everyone gets B.O. sometimes. You can’t completely get rid of it. And, most often, body odor is more noticeable to you than it is to anyone else.

If body odor is affecting your life, please give your doctor a call. There are treatments available to help reduce it and help you feel confident again.