How Do I Stop Sweating Between My Legs

TEAM KNIX / YOUR BODY

There are certain parts of the body that we know it’s perfectly normal to experience sweating; the armpits, our brow, even our lower back on a hot day. 

But there are other body areas we don’t talk as much about sweating from; under our boobs, for example, or the groin and inner thighs. Thankfully this is changing and we’re talking more about it!

Fact is: It is normal to sweat anywhere you have sweat glands, and this includes the groin and thighs. And just as with all sweat, some of us sweat more than others, or our threshold for sweating is in different places (heat, exertion, stress levels). 

But that doesn’t help with the reality of sweating between your legs. Let’s dig in…

Does Everybody Sweat *Down There*?!

We all sweat wherever we have sweat glands, which includes the vulva and inner thighs. Of course, we don’t all sweat the same amounts. Put two people through a workout on a hot day, and there can be extreme differences between how much they will sweat. Indeed there is no rule about how much sweating is ‘normal’. 

Factors that impact how much you sweat include:

  • How many sweat glands you have (the average person has 3 million but it can range between 2 million and 4 million. The more glands, the more sweat).
  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Fitness level
  • Environment

Is it Ever Something Medically Conceyning?

Sweating is completely natural but if you’re suddenly sweating excessively in a way you didn’t before, it might be worth talking with your doctor. Possible causes include:

  • Primary hyperhidrosis: While there are no guidelines about ‘normal’ amounts of sweating, hyperhidrosis is a condition where people experience excessive sweating. The best guidance on what ‘excessive’ means is how much it interferes with your life, whether for instance it means you can’t hold certain objects, or it’s causing you significant distress. Learn more about hyperhidrosis from the Mayo Clinic.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis: This is when you experience excessive sweating as a result of something else. Some of those underlying causes can include:
    • Diabetes
    • Low blood sugar
    • Hormonal changes causing hot flashes / night sweats (e.g. perimenopause)
    • Thyroid issues
    • Infections
    • Certain cancers
    • Certain drugs and medications (or withdrawal from certain drugs)

Thigh / Groin Sweat Can Result in...

So, for the most part, it’s completely natural to sweat ‘down there’. So what’s the problem? There’s really none unless there is for you. For many people a little sweat has no impact on their day-to-day life. But for others, they can experience:

Self-Consciousness 

Whether it’s damp spots on your clothing or just a feeling of dampness around your groin area, some people feel self-conscious about groin sweat. If it bothers you, you can do something about it. If it doesn’t, keep doing you!

Thigh Chafing

Thigh chafing happens when the delicate skin of the thighs rubs against each other (or against seams of clothing). It is not caused by sweat, but it can be exacerbated by it as the salt in sweat can add to the friction. Thigh chafing can cause a rash, irritation and even infection if the skin is not kept clean.

Odor

Ever wondered why some of your sweat smells and other sweat doesn’t, depending on where it comes from? There are two kinds of sweat glands:

  1. Eccrine glands: Sweat mostly made up of water, salt, and electrolytes
  2. Apocrine glands: Sweat is yellow in colour with higher concentrations of fatty acids and proteins

Apocrine sweat glands are concentrated where there are hair follicles; your armpit, scalp, and groin included. This sweat can have more of an odor than sweat from other areas (one most of us are all too familiar with).

However, if you experience an unusual or particularly foul-smelling odor, it would be good to see a doctor as it might be a sign of infection.

Infections

Sweat in the groin area can trigger yeast infections. Yeast infections are caused by a naturally-occurring fungus (called candida albicans) in the body. Usually this fungus is kept in careful balance by our body’s own natural chemistry, but certain things (including heat) can trigger an overgrowth of the fungus, resulting in a yeast infection. Visit the Mayo Clinic here to learn more about vaginal yeast infections.

What to Do About Sweating Between Your Legs

Stay Clean & Fresh!

Duh… but needs to be said. Discomfort from sweat can definitely accumulate, and a lot of the side effects (chafing, odor, risk of infection etc) become worse with time, so it’s important to stay clean and fresh. This means showering regularly with a mild soap, changing your underwear daily and washing clothes that have become sweaty (especially workout clothes) after each wear.

Use Antiperspirants to ‘Plug’ Sweat Glands

Antiperspirants work by temporarily plugging your sweat glands so they are very effective at preventing sweat. Many of us use antiperspirants for underarm sweat (though people increasingly switch to natural deodorants for various health reasons connected with aluminium - the chief ingredient used to plug those glands). 

But whether you are for or against them, antiperspirants can offer an effective solution to sweat. And you can use antiperspirant on other body parts too. That said, the skin around your groin and inner thighs may be more sensitive. You should also avoid putting product around your vulva where it may cause irritation and even infection.

Use Powders (Not Talc!) to Minimize Moisture

If sweat is a major source of bother, moisture-absorbing powders can help keep the groin and thighs dry. Look for non-talc all-natural products with ingredients like kaolin or cornstarch to absorb moisture. Other ingredients, like aloe and lavender can cool, soothe and have antibacterial properties.

Note: Talcum powder may increase risk of ovarian and uterine cancer, so avoid using this type of powder in the genital area. (source)

Wear Breathable & Loose Clothing

Loose, breathable clothing and underwear made of natural fibres (cotton, linen, hemp etc.) will help your body stay cooler and will help sweat more quickly evaporate. Tight, synthetic clothing that traps any moisture close to the skin can exacerbate a feeling of dampness and even exacerbate odor. 

...Or Moisture-Wicking Clothing

If you’re doing any athletic activity and are prone to sweating and/or chafing, it’s worth looking into specialty workout gear. This is where the ‘loose clothing’ rule can be broken as you opt for fitted, performance fabrics.

Bike shorts or leggings, for example, are designed to be form-fitting, cushioned, have offset seams and are moisture wicking. Even if you’re not a hardcore athlete, you might want to up the ante on your workout clothes to minimize chances of irritation, and ensure you actually enjoy your activity!

Simply Switch Up Your Underwear

Anti-chafing underwear works by creating a physical barrier between your thighs (usually they’re light shorts). While these are form-fitting, you can look for styles (like our Thigh Savers) that include moisture wicking to help manage sweat. 

thighsavers

The upside is that you can wear lighter summer clothes like dresses and still protect the delicate skin of your inner thighs from chafing. Simply switch from regular underwear to anti thigh chafing shorts and wear all your favorite things!

You can also try Leakproof Underwear that’s designed to absorb up to 8 tsp of liquid (be it sweat, blood or urine). Most importantly, it locks that moisture away from the body to help control odor, irritation and discomfort.

...But Avoid Pads and Panty Liners

If you’re experiencing sweat around your thighs and groins it might feel natural to reach for a panty liner or pad to absorb the moisture. But that will actually be counterproductive. These products are often lined with synthetic backs to prevent moisture leaking. This means that the sweat will not evaporate but be trapped against your skin, where it can cause odor, itching, irritation and discomfort.

Avoid Things That Cause Excessive Sweating

Obviously we’re not here to advocate for not exercising. You should be as healthy and active as you want to be and that usually involves working up a sweat.

But there may be things (like spicy foods, drinking too much coffee etc.) that cause the body to overheat and sweat more. These can be minimized or completely avoided to help your temperature become more regulated. 

Other Medical Solutions

If you have a more severe case of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) that is interfering with your life or causing you emotional distress, do talk to your doctor about it.

Some of the options they might explore could include:

  • Prescription-strength antiperspirant: This is stronger than your usual drugstore antiperspirant and what makes them more potent is the strength of the aluminium compound. It is worth understanding all the current research on the possible side effects of aluminium before trying these products. Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor.
  • Anticholinergic drugs: Anticholinergic drugs are the most common drugs used to help manage excessive sweating. According to Sweathelp, “many hyperhidrosis patients experience success with anticholinergic therapy. Anticholinergics have not, however, been studied in controlled clinical trials specifically for hyperhidrosis.”
  • Antifungal cream or powder: If dampness is causing irritation or repeated yeast infections, your doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal cream or powder. 
  • Botox injections: Yes, the very same cosmetic treatment for crow’s feet and wrinkles can be used to help manage excess sweating. Botox injections work by paralyzing the nerves that activate your sweat glands. When your temperature rises, those nerves will not send the usual signal to the sweat glands to start producing sweat. While not permanent, this is a highly effective treatment. Right now, Botox has been approved for underarm application, but is used off-label to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) in other body parts. If you’re considering this treatment, talk to your doctor about the treatment, costs, side effects. Botox is not permanent but it can last many months.

Sweating is Completely Normal 

Sweating is a completely normal bodily function and one that you should not be ashamed of. It’s something that can happen anywhere on the body that you have sweat glands, including the thighs and crotch.

If it’s something that embarrasses or bothers you, there are definitely lots of options for both treating and managing it, including moisture-wicking anti-chafing underwear, and topical powders etc. 

But if it’s something that goes beyond these treatments, do reach out and talk to your doctor. You have options.