How to Handle Crotch Sweat

If you’re already experiencing perimenopause or menopause, extra sweat below the belt can feel like salt in the wound of uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Crotch sweat is definitely as unpleasant as it sounds, but figuring out why moisture is building up in the first place can help get to the root of the problem. We talked to a pelvic health OT, Lindsey Vestal, about all the tips and treatments out there to help you beat the heat.

Why crotch sweat happens

Wearing too many layers or fabrics that don’t breathe very well can amplify sweat in a part of your body that (not unlike an armpit) consists of hair follicles and sweat glands concentrated in a warm, bacteria-filled area. Like your pits, it’s bound to get a little too damp down there from time to time. 

Plus, excess discharge or bladder leaks can add to the sweaty feeling people often experience. Unless you notice an odor or start to feel itchy, discharge is nothing to worry about. But, while urine is technically sterile, it doesn’t necessarily stay that way once it exits your body. Like any other liquid, it can act as a transportation system for all kinds of bacteria, leading to UTIs, yeast infections, or bacterial vaginosis— all of which Lindsey says become more likely in sweaty summer months. So, no matter the source of moisture, it’s always a good idea to keep things dry. The good news is that there’s more than one solution:

Wear breathable fabric

Cotton undies are a given for combating crotch sweat, but don’t underestimate the power of cotton or linen outfits, which can help your whole body stay cooler longer. If breathable fabrics aren’t an everyday option, try stocking your closet with skirts, dresses, or loose-fitting shorts for extra sweaty summer days.

Skip shaving

Pubic hair creates a barrier—or, more accurately, a breathing space—between your vulva and your underwear. It’s a built-in ventilation system to keep sweat (and everything swimming in it) at bay. That said, if you’re navigating sweat down their daily, a full bush can actually hold moisture in and take longer to dry out. In that case, trimming a bit can actually help your pubic hair dry out faster when moisture builds up. Overall, though, pubes are good to keep around as your body’s natural system for wicking away excess liquid.

Try talcum powder

Powder is an option, but Lindsey says it shouldn’t be your everyday solution. Talcum should be reserved for that annual heat wave or long, un-air conditioned car ride in the middle of summer that you just can’t skip. If you do opt for talcum, pick a cornstarch-based powder— studies increasingly suggest a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powders that contain asbestos, so a corn-starch base is a much safer option that’s just as effective at keeping you fresh and dry.

Have a back-up plan

Lindsey says it’s a good idea to have a spare pair of underwear on hand for particularly hot or humid days. If you wear moisture-wicking undies you might be able to get away with just one pair a day, but it doesn’t hurt to have extras in your bag.

How do you get by in the summer months? Share your tips in the comments.

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