Summer isn’t all sunshine and rainbows: It also comes with an increase in unpleasant body odor and sweat. While underarm sweat can be embarrassing enough when in overdrive during the summer, even worse is the dreaded crotch sweat, aka swamp crotch.
You thought pit stains were bad, but have you ever stood up and left a sweaty undercarriage print on your seat outside a gym session? If so, don’t worry because you’re not alone.
“Crotch sweat happens for the same reason it happens in our armpits,” explained Dr. Karyn Eilber, a urogynecologist in Los Angeles who co-authored “A Woman’s Guide to Her Pelvic Floor: What the F*@# Is Going On Down There.”
“We have glands in those areas and so when it gets hot, we sweat,” she said.
When discussing this topic with medical experts, it’s clear that groin sweat isn’t just an awkward bodily function ― it can actually lead to bigger problems. Fungal infections, like yeast infections, can be a potential side effect. Skin rashes that cause uncomfortable skin, including irritation, chafing and itchiness, may also occur as a result of sweating down there.
“The itchiness causes you to scratch and potentially cut the skin, which can make someone prone to bacterial infections, too,” Eilber noted.
If you’re feeling even more concerned about your crotch perspiration now, never fear, because we talked to health care professionals about the best ways to prevent swamp crotch this summer. Check out their top five recommendations below.
1. Switch out your fabrics.
Breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics can help keep things fresh.
“Wear loose-fitting clothing made from natural fabrics to maximize air circulation and allow the skin to breathe,” suggested Dr. Sony Sherpa, a holistic physician from Nature’s Rise, an organic wellness company. “This includes light, airy fabrics like cotton and linen.”
There could also be fabrics that make things worse by producing more groin sweat.
“Avoid wearing nylon, polyester and other synthetic materials, which will trap heat and moisture and exacerbate the problem,” Sherpa said. Read HuffPost’s full guide to the worst fabrics to wear in the summer.
2. Change your clothes ASAP after sweating.
When it’s hot enough, sweat will happen regardless of your preventive measures. But there are still ways to avoid the additional problems that could arise from the extra moisture.
“It’s also a good idea not to stay in sweaty workout clothes for prolonged periods, especially those that are tight fabrics that tend not to breathe well,” Eilber said.
The longer you leave on sweaty clothes, the longer you’re creating a perfect environment for infections to flourish. One of the most common issues from leaving your damp clothes on too long is yeast infections, because yeast thrives in warm and moist areas. Even if you don’t develop a yeast infection, you could get a heat rash, a very itchy rash that develops in areas with sweaty skin. And if you scratch that itch and your nail has bacteria on it, you could even be in for a bacterial infection.
While you might be OK in your sweaty garments for an hour or two, changing out of them as soon as you can is always the best bet.
3. Try a powder.
“Anti-fungal or ‘jock itch’ powders can help keep things dry for people who are prone to yeast infections,” Eilber recommended.
It’s best to apply these powders after you exit the shower. Completely dry your skin and then apply the powder to the groin area. You might be able to apply it directly from the bottle by sprinkling it on or squeezing the bottle, but you can also put it into your hands and rub it on. Less is typically more in these scenarios, but be sure to fully cover the problem area for maximum results.
A popular anti-fungal powder option, which has been around for over 100 years, is Gold Bond medicated powder. Not only does this talc-free powder absorb moisture, but it can also help relieve itching or irritation that’s the result of groin sweat.
4. Consider an antiperspirant down there.
“It may be beneficial to use an antiperspirant specifically designed for this area,” Sherpa said. “These products contain aluminum salts that temporarily block perspiration and can be safely used on the genital region.”
One highly rated option on Amazon formulated for both men and women is Lumē Acidified Deodorant Wipes. These wipes are actually aluminum-free, making them gentler on sensitive skin. There are also a wide variety of groin deodorants designed specifically for men’s or women’s bodies.
Sherpa also warned, “You should exercise caution when selecting these products, as certain ingredients may cause irritation.”
5. Talk to your doctor.
Since all bodies are different, it is possible that you could still be dealing with sweat and unwanted side effects despite trying the suggestions above. In these instances, it will be helpful to visit a doctor to ensure everything is in check and perhaps try out prescription medications.
Some people have a condition called hyperhidrosis, which is the term for excessive sweating. In these cases, groin sweat wouldn’t be your only problem, but you’d sweat too much from all areas of your body. Your health care provider can prescribe a prescription antiperspirant with more sweat-fighting power than what you’d buy on the drugstore shelf. However, there are also a few other medications, in a group called anticholinergics, that can reduce the amount of sweat you produce by blocking specific neurotransmitters that stimulate the sweat glands.
With these recommendations, hopefully swamp crotch won’t have you sweating as much this summer.