Sweat is common, even in places that are less than ideal — such as near or around your vagina. However, it can be hard to tell what's considered an average of amount of sweat or what is excessive, especially if you're not discussing the topic with your friends. Instead, you can look out for some
signs you're sweating too much down there, and if you find that you're perspiring more than you like, you can then make an appointment with your doctor to find out what's really going on below the belt.
"Excessive vaginal sweating, or 'truncal hyperhidrosis,' can be an inconvenient [...] condition," Katherine Cornforth, M.D., an OB/GYN with the
Institute for Women’s Health, tells Bustle. "[The area near your genitals] contain apocrine glands, which grow in areas on your body where there is a lot of hair. Sweating results when the glands empty into the hair follicle, whether the hair is present or not. While everyone’s nervous system is different, most women will experience vaginal sweating at some point in their life. When it starts to interfere with your daily life, however, you may want to take steps to address it."
If you're wondering how much sweat is typical, consider these eight signs that indicate you're sweating too much down there, and what to do about it.
1 You Have Sweat Stains Around The Groin
Excess sweat will often leave stains — and you may notice more of these stains during increased physical activity.
"Increasing the body temperature can cause an increase in sweating," board certified OBG-YN and author of
Whoa Baby!, Dr. Tristan Bickman, tells Bustle. "Exercise can increase basal temperature and increase sweating in the groin or vaginal area." And as a result, the stains may be more visible or uncomfortable than usual. "Wearing breathable exercise clothes will help reduce the heat and the sweating," Dr. Bickman says.
Similarly, Dr. Conforth suggests other methods to help with excess sweat if this is a problem for you. "Some women opt to wear pantyliners as a way to control some of the sweating, but the extra material may actually work to their detriment by causing more friction and glandular inflammation," Dr. Conforth says. "Putting baby powder — not talcum powder — around your vagina may help to minimize sweat stains. Just be sure not to get any in your vagina, which can lead to infection."
2 You Get Recurrent Yeast Infections
If you find yourself getting repeated yeast infections, this may be due to excessive vaginal sweat. "Sweat in your nether regions typically doesn’t get the exposure it needs to 'breathe,' which can create a breeding ground for bacteria and foul odors," Dr. Cornforth says.
According to Dr. Bickman, an increase in sweat near the groin can impact the pH of the area, which can also lead to more yeast infections. "This can create a different environment in the vagina, groin and vulva [which] can lead to different bacteria or yeast growing," Dr. Bickman says. "Minimizing the heat and moisture will help to decrease the risk of infection."
3 You Get Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis Bacterial vaginosis, or a distinct vaginal odor and discharge, can also occur due to excessive sweat and subsequent bacteria growth. "While bacterial vaginosis is extremely common, recurrent episodes of it are not," Dr. Cornforth says.
If you are experiencing multiple bacterial vaginosis diagnoses, it may be time to switch up your wardrobe a bit. "Wear breathable clothes, especially when exercising, wear cotton underwear [... and] avoid tight clothing (leggings and panty hose for example)," Dr. Bickman says. Showering, especially after exercising, and staying away from scented soaps can help prevent bacteria growth as well, Dr. Bickman says.
4 It's Accompanied By Excessive Sweat In Other Places
Excessive sweating in the groin, as well as other areas, may be a symptom of a greater health condition known as
"Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that is not related to increased heat or exercise," Dr. Bickman says. "It can happen in all areas of the body — groin, armpits, soles of the feet, palms of the hands."
Dr. Conforth also notes that excessive sweating, especially in cooler environments, may a professional's help. "If you find that vaginal sweating is accompanied by damp palms, feet and underarms, you may want to talk to your doctor about testing and treatments."
5 There Is Suddenly More Sweat Than Normal
If you are suddenly noticing more sweat in your vaginal area, it may be due to a shift in hormones. "If vaginal sweating has never been a problem for you until recently, this could indicate a change in your nervous system," Dr. Cornforth says. "Thyroid problems and the
onset of menopause can both be triggers of excessive vaginal sweat as your body undergoes hormonal changes."
Similarly, Dr. Bickman points to the thyroid as a possible culprit for an increase in sweating. "Thyroid and hormonal problems can effect the basal body temperature," Dr. Bickman says. "This can cause an increase in temperature which can increase the heat in the body and increase sweating anywhere in the body there are sweat glands."
If this is a daily problem for you, it may be time to talk to your doctor about why this may be happening.
6 You Sweat When It's Not Hot
It's common to sweat all over when you're hot, but if you have excessive sweating when you're not warm, it can be a sign of a bigger issue. "You could have certain systemic diseases or it could be because of medication,"
gynecologist Christine Greves, MD, tells Bustle. If the sweating is also accompanied by other symptoms, it's definitely worth checking out for systemic disease. 7 There's A Strong Smell
Excess sweating can cause a strong odor, which you may notice happening more frequently. "This occurs because of the different types of sweat glands in this area that produce thick, oily type of sweat,"
Dr. Althea O'Shaughnessy, Vagisil's Intimate Health Gynecologist, tells Bustle.
According to Dr. Bickman, these types of sweat glands are known as apocrine glands. "The sweat which is released from the apocrine glands contains protein," Dr. Bickman says. "This protein gets released and broken down [and ...] this causes an odor."
Fortunately, talking with your doctor can help you get to the bottom of this issue, and learn what the best course of action is.
8 Your Vulva Becomes Irritated
Irritation to the vulvar area can occur as a result of constant moisture, Dr. O'Shaughnessy says. This can cause friction and inflammation, and it can be painful.
Dr. Bickman also notes that vulvar irritation due to an increase in sweat can also lead to different types of infection in the area. "[Excessive sweating can] change the balance of normal occurring bacteria and yeast," Dr. Bickman says. "As a result bacteria and yeast can grow excessively."
If you notice that you are getting recurrent infections, or that you have more sweat stains near your groin, even if you aren't exercising or it isn't hot out, it may be time to talk to your doctor. They can help you discover the cause, and what the next steps will be to take care of the problem.
This post was originally published on November 22, 2017. It was updated on June 3, 2019. Additional reporting by Kristin Magaldi.