Sweaty Croch

Having a sweaty crotch when you're hot and active is normal. But soaked underwear or shorts can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, and sometimes excessive sweat build-up can lead to infections. Given that, there are steps you can take to mitigate the sweat problem.

Why does the crotch area sweat more?

Like the armpits, the groin area has a high concentration of sweat glands. There is also a lot of friction happening down there, such as the thighs rubbing together, and friction creates more heat, which triggers more sweat.

This is also an area of the body that is always covered. And tight underwear and tight pants can create more friction and less ventilation, making the crotch sweatier.

Is it normal to have a sweaty crotch?

Sweat stains may be embarrassing, but if you're getting them on hot days, or when you're exercising, there is no cause for concern.

However, if you are sweating when the environmental temperature is not elevated, or when you are not exercising, this could be a sign of a medical problem. Another potentially concerning sign is that you are suddenly having a problem with crotch sweat, despite there being no change in the temperature, your activity level or your clothing.

If the previous two scenarios apply to you, you should consult a doctor. Excessive sweating can be a symptom of hormonal changes or thyroid problems.

Can a sweaty crotch cause health problems?

Although sweating is perfectly normal, too much sweat building up in one area that does not get any ventilation could cause problems, including:

• Fungal infections

Fungal skin infections like jock itch (caused by ringworm) thrive when conditions are warm and damp. Both men and women can suffer from jock itch and other skin infections, which can cause rashes, itching and burning.

• Yeast infection

Women who have excessive sweat in the groin area may be more likely to get yeast infections. Yeast infections are an overgrowth of the candida fungus, which also likes a warm, damp environment.

• Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria that naturally live in the vagina. Anything that disrupts the natural balance of the vagina can trigger the condition.

How to mitigate crotch sweat

Even if you do not suffer from any of the above problems, you may still want to prevent sweat in the groin area simply to avoid discomfort and embarrassment. The following techniques can help you reduce crotch sweating.

• Wear loose clothing

Simply wearing looser clothing can prevent sweat from accumulating in the groin area. When the skin is exposed to air, the sweat can evaporate, rather than pooling where it is. Looser clothing also creates less friction. For a workout, try a pair of running shorts rather than tight leggings.

• Wear cotton

Cotton is a breathable fabric that will allow sweat to evaporate, as opposed to synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, which will trap the sweat against your skin. Try to wear cotton underwear whenever possible.

• Try a sweat-proof underwear

Many active wear brands make underwear that is designed to wick sweat away from the skin and into the outer layers of the underwear. Both men and women's styles are available. Do some internet browsing to find a pair that looks right for you.

• Don't wear a panty liner unless you have to

Sometimes women will wear panty liners to absorb vaginal discharge and sweat, but a panty liner could actually be contributing to the sweating problem. The panty liner is not breathable, so it will trap moisture. It also creates more friction against the genitals, which could lead to even more sweat.

A good alternative to a panty liner is a pair of cotton underwear that has a built-in absorbent liner, such as Thinx or Dear Kate. Dear Kate also makes yoga pants with built-in absorbance layers, so you don't have to wear underwear.

• Try hair removal

When it comes to sweat in the groin area, pubic hair can work for you or against you. For women, pubic hair may prevent sweat (and accompanying dirt and bacteria) from running into the vulva. However, pubic hair can also trap moisture against the skin, preventing it from evaporating.

If you are having a problem with excessive sweating down there, shaving or trimming your pubic hair might help prevent the sweat from accumulating. Try trimming the hair to see if you can get the best of both worlds.

• Sprinkle with cornstarch

Cornstarch absorbs moisture, and it's safe to use in your genital region. A light dusting of cornstarch before you put on your underwear may help keep you dry throughout the day.

There is also a product called No Sweat Body Defense which is designed to prevent sweating and chafing in the groin area. The key ingredient is tapioca starch, which absorbs moisture and provides a buffer for the sensitive skin in that area.

• Go caffeine-free

Because caffeine is a stimulant, it can make you sweat. Although caffeine withdrawal can also cause sweating, once you give up the caffeine, you may find that you have fewer episodes of profuse perspiration.

What not to do for a sweaty crotch

You may be tempted to do the following things for crotch sweat, but they will likely do more harm than good.

• Do not use deodorant down there

The skin in the genital area is very sensitive, and conventional deodorant can at the least be irritating and at the worst cause an infection. This is especially true for women. Using deodorant in the genital area can disrupt the natural balance of the vagina, possibly leading to bacterial vaginosis.

• Do not use talcum powder

There is a lot of controversy over whether talcum powder can be carcinogenic. A lot of talc that is mined from the earth is naturally contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen. But research on whether using talcum powder increases cancer risk has yielded mixed results, and it's still ongoing.

To be safe, OBGYNs don't recommend using talcum powder in the vagina region. Cornstarch, which is just finely ground cornflour, should be your go-to solution.