Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Dear Doc | Help! I have a sweaty vagina

Published:Sunday | February 2, 2020 | 12:07 AM

Q I have an embarrassing problem and I am not sure how to fix it. It might sound strange, but the best way I can explain it is … I have a sweaty vagina! I have been trying to do things to prevent it, including using deodorant down there, but that caused another problem. I would like to know why I sweat down there, and what I can do to stop it, because I am tired of feeling sweaty and uncomfortable down there.


A Yes, it is possible to have what you called ‘a sweaty vagina’. Sweat, unfortunately, is an uncomfortable fact of life, especially when it happens in your private areas.

Sweating is the natural process of your body cooling itself down. It is normal to sweat whenever you are hot.

There are particular areas of your body that are more prone to sweating than others, such as your armpits. This is because of the high concentration of sweat glands and hair follicles in that area.

The groin, similar to the armpits, is hairy, warm, and full of sweat glands and bacteria, and therefore, behaves like the armpits; it is prone to sweating. Also true is that some people sweat more than others, but you do not need to feel wet and uncomfortable. Here are a few tips to help keep your vaginal area cool and dry.

1. Wear loose, flowing fabrics

Skinny jeans and leggings are quite fashionable, but when it comes to sweating, they are not practical. Anything tight in the crotch area is going to raise the temperature of your vaginal area.

When that heat gets trapped under the tight clothes, you will sweat.

Loose, flowing pants, as well as skirts and dresses, will allow air to flow through. Consider wearing more wide-legged palazzo pants, which can be just as fashionable.


2. Say yes to cotton

Synthetic fabrics like polyester are considered non-breathable fabrics. What this means is that instead of allowing sweat to evaporate, the material holds the sweat and traps the moisture against your skin.

Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are breathable, and allows sweat to evaporate like it is supposed to. They are basically organic ‘sweat-wickers’.

However, cotton retains moisture for a longer time than synthetic sweat-wicking fabrics. This means you will have to deal with a little bit of wetness before the fabric drys out.


3. Use sweat-wicking underwear

Moisture-wicking technology has been used for athletic wear for years, and is now available in underwear. Sweat-wicking fabric pulls moisture away from the skin and out to the exterior of the fabric. This helps to keep the fabric dry on the inside.

Some sweat-wicking underwear also contains odour-absorbing molecules that can help keep you smelling fresh all day.


4. Hair removal

Pubic hair serves the purpose of reducing friction from tight clothing and also works to wick sweat away from your skin. However, hair also traps bacteria against your skin. In the vaginal area, when bacteria mixes with the sweat and oil on your pubic hair, it can produce a smell.

So for those who sweat a lot in the vaginal area, a nice hair trim or hair removal is beneficial.

Waxing and laser treatments are also an option.


5. Do not use antiperspirant or deodorant

The area around your vaginal opening (vulva) is made of very delicate and sensitive tissue. Antiperspirants and deodorants that work for your armpits can cause damage to your vaginal area. Instead, try something made specifically for this area, like a corn starch-based powder. For most people, bathing one or two times per day with soap and water is enough to wash away the sweat and oils that cause odour.


6. Change your sweaty clothes

If your underwear gets wet during the day, carry an extra pair or two in your purse. Yes, this can be annoying. However, yeast is an opportunistic fungus that thrives in warm, moist environments. Spending the day in wet underwear will cause yeast to grow out of control, resulting in vaginal itching, burning, and other symptoms of a yeast infection. By changing out of sweaty clothes and underwear as soon as possible, it will reduce your risk of getting a yeast infection.

You may find that not wearing any underwear (going commando) will let your vagina breathe more than cotton underwear does! You can try this at home.


7. Skip the panty liner unless you are spotting

If you have nothing to change into, panty liners and pads can provide a quick fix for wet underwear, but, they can also make you sweat more. This is because panty liners arenot breathable and will trap heat in your crotch area.

Only use panty liners to help you out when you are in a pinch.


8. Clean up with a feminine hygiene wipe

Moist toilet paper wipes are a convenient way to clean off sweat in the middle of the day. Just be sure to avoid antibacterial wipes, which can kill your good vaginal bacteria.


Excessive vaginal sweating can usually be managed with a combination of these suggestions. If these measures are not working, you could have a condition called hyperhidrosis. If the sweating is persistent or you notice an unusual odour, you should visit your doctor.