Endocrinology Sports Medicine / Fitness

Butt sweat: Why it happens and how to get rid of it

Butt sweat is a universal, albeit uncomfortable, fact of life. Anyone who has spent a little too much time outside on a muggy day or worn tight leggings during a gym session has probably experienced butt sweat.

While butt sweat can sometimes cause embarrassment or discomfort, it is a perfectly normal occurrence.

In this article, we describe the causes of butt sweat and strategies for preventing it.

a business man touching his bum because he is experiencing butt sweat. Share on PinterestDistribution of sweat glands, genetics, and hormones can all determine the frequency and amount of butt sweat.

Everyone experiences butt sweat, but some people sweat more than others. The frequency and amount of sweat may depend on a person’s:

  • distribution of sweat glands
  • genetics
  • body weight
  • hormones

The body has two types of sweat glands:

  • eccrine glands produce an odorless fluid that helps regulate body temperature. These glands are in almost every area of skin, including the buttocks.
  • apocrine glands do not regulate body temperature, and they exist mostly in the genital region, around the bellybutton, and in the armpits, breasts, and a few other areas. They secrete an odorous liquid made of water, proteins, and lipids.

The secretion, or sweat, from apocrine glands can be modified by bacteria on the surface of the skin, leading to an odor. This does not happen with eccrine secretion, such as that on the buttocks.

The amount of eccrine secretion can increase for a number of reasons, such as when a person’s body temperature rises.

As a result, a person may notice more sweat on their buttocks when they are:

  • wearing thick or constricting fabrics
  • exposed to hot temperatures
  • exercising

Sweating in certain situations

People may sweat more than usual in certain situations, such as during a workout.

Physical activities, such as walking, running, and weightlifting increase the body’s temperature, triggering eccrine glands to secrete sweat.

Usually this is not limited to the buttocks. During exercise, many people notice that they have sweaty palms, which have the highest concentration of eccrine glands in the body.

The evaporation of sweat from the skin helps release body heat and prevent overheating.

Sweating can also occur for other reasons, such as stress or fear. When the brain perceives stress or a potential threat, it triggers a rush of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. Stress also increases the heart rate, redirects blood flow to the muscles, and raises the body’s temperature.

Stress-induced sweat typically comes from apocrine sweat glands, according to one 2019 medical article. This means that stress may not affect the sweat glands on the butt, which are eccrine, not apocrine.

However, stress may affect the apocrine sweat glands near the genitals and anus. Sweat in this area may feel like butt sweat.

Although sweating is a normal reaction to stress, excessive sweating — or hyperhidrosis — may indicate the presence of an underlying medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism.

Or, hyperhidrosis may develop without any underlying cause. In this case, the medical name for it is idiopathic hyperhidrosis.

While it may be uncomfortable, butt sweat should not cause alarm. Most people experience it from time to time.

Butt sweat itself does not cause any medical issues, but it can increase the risk of developing skin rashes and infections.

It is important to wipe off the sweat as soon as possible to avoid skin irritation. Below, find other skin care techniques and lifestyle adjustments that can help.

Wear breathable or moisture-wicking underwear

a woman wearing sports clothes facing away from the camera. Share on PinterestBreathable underwear may help prevent a sweaty butt while exercising.

The right kind of underwear can help reduce butt sweat by keeping the skin cool.

Breathable, natural fibers — such as cotton — help absorb moisture and allow for more airflow than polyester or rayon, for example.

However, cotton does not disperse moisture, it only absorbs it. This means that cotton gets damp quickly and takes longer to dry.

Moisture-wicking fabrics, such as those used in athletic clothing, remove moisture from the skin and move it to the fabric’s surface so that it can evaporate. These fabrics dry more quickly than cotton.

However, moisture-wicking fabrics typically contain synthetic fibers. People looking for natural materials may want to stick with cotton underwear.

Wipe down or mop up

The butt does not get much exposure to the air, since several layers of clothing cover it for most of the day. This means that butt sweat will not dry on its own quickly, and a person should take steps to speed up the process.

Gently pat the sweat away with a damp towel. Then remove any lingering moisture with a dry towel. Avoid rubbing the skin, which can cause irritation.

Change clothes often

People who experience butt sweat regularly should changes their clothes immediately after working out, especially if they exercise in tight or restrictive pants, such as leggings.

Changing clothes often can help minimize dampness and prevent infections or rashes.

Use an antiperspirant

Antiperspirants contain metallic salts that form shallow plugs inside sweat ducts, reducing perspiration.

A person can use an over-the-counter or prescription-strength antiperspirant on most parts of their body.

However, any antiperspirant may cause irritant contact dermatitis. This is the medical name for red, irritated skin resulting from contact with a certain substance.

Use starch powder

Apply a light dusting of corn starch powder between the buttocks to help absorb excess moisture and prevent skin irritation.

Zinc oxide cream can also keep sweat from irritating the skin of the buttocks.

It may be best to avoid talcum powder, due to its potential links with ovarian cancer.

Share on PinterestIf sweating interferes with a person’s daily life, they should speak to their doctor.

If people sweat through clothing without engaging in intense physical activity, or if sweating interferes with daily life, it may be a good idea to consult a healthcare provider.

People with these symptoms may have hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. It may stem from an underlying medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism, it may be a side effect of medication, or it may have no identifiable cause.

According to one 2016 study, hyperhidrosis affects an estimated 15.3 million people in the United States.

Beyond hyperthyroidism, the following can also cause excessive sweating:

  • menopause
  • various medications
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • nervous system disorders
  • diabetes
  • certain types of cancer

Excessive sweating can also worsen certain skin conditions, such as hidradenitis suppurativa. This may develop when the immune system overreacts to bacteria inside hair follicles.

Hidradenitis suppurativa can cause pus-filled bumps to form on the skin. While these bumps usually develop in the armpits, people can get them on their upper thighs, breasts, groin, and buttocks.

Butt sweat happens to everyone. There are many ways to reduce it and prevent any skin irritation and infection.

If excessive sweating is troublesome or interfering with any activities, a doctor can provide advice and prescription treatments.

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