When summertime rolls around, you have to start worrying about body odor. While trips to the beach and ice cream make summertime fun, there is a darker side to the warmer weather. When the weather heats up, you may find that your vagina smells like sweat. While you feel sexy in your bikini, the sudden scent of sweat can make you feel less than attractive. Unfortunately, there are very few options for removing the scent of sweat.
Why a Vagina Smells Like Sweat
You already know that you have sweat glands in your armpits, but did you know that you have genitals also have sweat glands? Your sweat glands are basically located all over your body. While your armpits may be the most active sweat glands, you have apocrine glands and eccrine glands around your genitals as well.
The apocrine glands are located around your hair follicles, which is one of the reasons why your vagina may smell like sweat. When the temperature rises, you naturally sweat more from your eccrine glands. Meanwhile, your apocrine sweat glands open up when you are under emotional stress. Working out, spending time in the heat or emotional stress can all cause you to sweat more than normal.
Sweat Versus Sweaty Odors
Sweat does not always smell bad. In most cases, your vaginal sweat will be indistinguishable from the sweat on the rest of your body. Unfortunately, your apocrine glands can be a problem. While eccrine glands primarily produce just moisture, your apocrine glands will crank up the scent. Your apocrine glands are responsible for most of the smelliness in your sweat. Your groin happens to have a higher density of these apocrine glands than just about anywhere else outside of your armpits.
This essentially means that being under emotional stress will cause you to produce smelly sweat. If your vagina smells like sweat, it probably is not due to the heat. The smelliness of the sweat is most likely caused by some emotional stress. You may be nervous on your first date or going into a job interview. Whatever the case, your emotional stress and turmoil is causing your apocrine glands to fire up.
Getting Rid of the Scent
Now that you know where the sweaty scent is coming from, your next problem is figuring out how to get rid of it. Unfortunately, this is not going to be an easy process. Your armpits have a chance to air out when you move your arms or wear a loose T-shirt. Your vagina does not have the same options. The tight clothes and underwear that you wear can trap the sweat next to your body. Your first goal is to try to wear loose clothes and loose underwear so that your vagina has a chance to breathe. If you are working out, make sure to change your clothes immediately afterward so the sweat does not stay trapped against your body.
Wearing loose clothes is not going to be enough to get rid of the scent though. You also have to make sure to that you are cleaning yourself regularly. Do not ever use soap or douches on your vagina though! Your vagina is already capable of cleaning itself, and it needs to maintain the right pH level to prevent infections. Instead, use water during your regular cleaning to get rid of the sweaty scent.
When Should You Go to the Doctor?
Sometimes, your sweaty vagina can cause a larger problem. If the extra sweat disturbs the pH level in your vagina, it can cause bad bacteria to become overgrown. You may also develop a yeast infection. Yeast is normally in your body, but a pH imbalance can allow it to become overgrown. You may experience a change in your body odor or a red, painful rash in your genital region. If you think that you may have a yeast infection or another infection, make sure to go to your doctor to get treatment.
In most cases though, a vagina that smells like sweat is perfectly normal. Your body has to sweat to cool you off, so there is really little that you can do to stop it. If the scent bothers you or it has suddenly developed recently, then go to your doctor. You should also go to your doctor if your vaginal discharge changes or you develop a rash around your pubic area.
Why Do Apocrine Glands Do This?
While your eccrine sweat glands start working when you are born, your apocrine sweat glands do not activate until you go through puberty. These glands are located in the pubic area, around the nipples, in the armpits and around the navel. Once they are activated in puberty, they release a milky, thick substance. This substance is naturally high in fats. When the apocrine sweat is released, it does not actually have an odor. The odor is actually caused by bacteria feeding on the fats in the sweat. When this happens, the bacteria release an odor as they breakdown the fat.
What this all means is that a sweaty crotch area is also going to be a smelly one. Those scents can also cause a rash or itchiness. Your groin does not get a chance to breathe, so the skin there remains wet and covered in sweat. This unfortunately creates the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive. The yeast begin to overgrow and lead to external or internal yeast infections. If the moisture is trapped in cracks and fissures, it can allow bacteria to cause skin infections and lead to irritation and itchiness.
Your best bet is to try to keep yourself as dry as possible. Wear loose-fitting pants or a skirt so that your genitals can breathe. The loose-fitting clothing allows them to stay cooler and reduces the amount that you sweat. If you do sweat, this type of clothing will allow it to dry easier. Make sure that you buy workout underwear that wicks away the sweat or invest in underwear with microbial technology. You can also try using an inner liner on your pants or underwear to help catch and remove any of the sweat.