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Why Do I Sweat in My Groin Area?

Do you have a problem with groin sweat? Here are some of the possible reasons why!
A man in a button up shirt has a surprised and slightly confused expression and is pointing downward with both of his hands to indicate that he has a problem with groin sweat.

Excessive groin sweating is an embarrassing issue for many people. Here are some signs that your groin sweating may warrant further investigation:

  • Soaking through undergarments on a regular basis
  • Itching
  • Bad odor
  • Chafing
  • Irritation
  • If you are experiencing several of the above symptoms as a result of groin sweat then you may want to consider possible causes and treatment options. Here are several potential reasons that people experience excessive groin sweat.[1]

    Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

    Primary focal hyperhidrosis (PFH) is one reason that many people experience excessive groin sweating.[2] This a condition that causes excessive sweating on specific areas of the body, including the hands, feet, face, armpits, and sometimes, the groin. When someone has PFH that affects the groin region it is often medically referred to as Hexsel’s hyperhidrosis. This type of hyperhidrosis can affect the inside surfaces of the upper thighs, the front of the pubic region, external genitalia, and sometimes the gluteal cleft. About 2.8% of the US population has some form of PFH which makes is fairly common. The number of people who have hyperhidrosis and are affected by groin sweating is unknown, but it is thought to be less common than other types of PFH. About 50% of people who have Hexsel’s hyperhidrosis have a family history of the condition which suggests that it is a heritable condition. There are many treatment options that can help people with hyperhidrosis to stop or decrease their groin sweat production so medical intervention is worth looking into. PFH usually begins around puberty and is a lifelong condition.[3]

    Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

    Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating all over the body. It typically develops suddenly and is caused by a specific factor such as disease or condition that causes secondary hyperhidrosis, or as a side effect of a medication. While secondary hyperhidrosis does not specifically affect the groin region, it can cause excessive groin sweating. However, it would probably cause sweating on other parts of the body as well. If you suspect that you might have groin sweat that is a result of secondary hyperhidrosis then you should speak with a doctor. This is because, in certain cases, it can be caused by a serious underlying medical condition. In order to resolve secondary hyperhidrosis doctors typically treat the underlying medical issue or discontinue the medication that is causing hyperhidrosis as a side effect.[3]

    Technically, excessive groin sweating that is caused by a medical condition is classified as secondary hyperhidrosis.[3] Below is a list of medical conditions that could be causing you to experience excessive groin sweating:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Anxiety disorders or stress
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications like antidepressants, pain medications, hypoglycemic agents, and many others.
  • Many others
  • In some cases the causes of excessive groin sweating can differ between men and women. For example, women may experience secondary hyperhidrosis as a result of pregnancy or menopause.[1]

    Exercise

    When someone has hyperhidrosis they often sweat in the absence of normal sweat-inducing stimuli like heat or exercise which is what it is considered to be a dysfunctional reason for sweating. However, sometimes people can experience excessive groin sweat for normal physiological reasons. This is often the case for people who regularly engage in intense physical exercise. If you are exercising and experience groin sweating as a result, this is most likely a normal phenomenon. It is still important to maintain proper hygiene even if excessive groin sweating is caused by exercise. Otherwise, people can experience the same uncomfortable issues as those who struggle with hyperhidrosis.[4] It is also important to note that exercise induced groin sweating can lead to secondary conditions like bacterial infections, fungal infections, chafing, and irritation if left unaddressed.[5]

    Lifestyle Habits

    While lifestyle habits typically won’t cause groin sweating to be extreme by themselves, they can contribute to the problem. Sometimes people experience an increase in groin sweat because they are not wearing breathable underwear. It is normal for the groin to sweat to some degree in response to heat and restrictive undergarments can make sweating significantly worse. It is best to stick with cotton underwear as they are breathable and made of natural fibers so they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction[4] Men may prefer to use boxers instead of briefs or boxer briefs. The use of caffeine or alcohol in large quantities can also cause sweating to worsen, so modifying the consumption of these beverages may help. Finally, it is important to maintain a healthy weight, practice good hygiene, and use antiperspirant if necessary to reduce sweat production and keep your skin healthy.[5]

    Sources
    1. Is the Sweating Between My Legs Excessive? (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-do-i-stop-sweating-between-my-legs
    2. Hexsel, D. M., Dal'Forno, T. D., & Hexsel, C. L. (2004). Inguinal, or Hexsel’s Hyperhidrosis. Clinics in Dermatology, 22, 53-59. Retrieved June 27, 2019, from https://www.sweathelp.org/pdf/Hexsel.pdf
    3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
    4. Eske, J. (2018, November 16). What causes sweating around the vagina? Retrieved July 1, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323719.php
    5. What Causes Excessive Testicular Sweating, and How Can I Treat It? (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/what-causes-excessive-testicular-sweating-and-how-can-i-treat-it
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