Running can play an important part of reaching the 150 minutes of aerobic exercise that's recommended each week by organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, you may notice that running causes a marked increase in sweat production, even in areas you may not typically sweat, such as your groin.
When you go for a run, you significantly increase the demand for energy in your body. This demand is due to the increased work performed by your muscles, especially your legs. To keep your body running, your body "burns" calories from recently consumed foods, or from other sources like stored body fat, to create new energy for the cells. As a result of this energy creation process, products like water, carbon dioxide and heat are created. While water and carbon dioxide are eliminated from the body through processes like breathing or urination, heat is typically utilized to help maintain body temperature. However, because running significantly increases energy production, more heat is produced than is needed to keep your body temperature at a healthy level.
To deal with the excess heat created while running, your body sweats. Sweating uses evaporation to move heat away from your body and cool your body down to a healthy temperature. Sweat is released through eccrine sweat glands across your body. Certain areas of your body have a higher concentration of glands than others, including your armpits and groin. This means as your body temperature increases, you may see more sweat in these specific areas. Some people sweat more than others, or they may sweat more in specific locations compared to others, depending on genetic factors. This means that you may be more prone to groin sweat depending on your body makeup. However, without this sweat, your body would overheat, resulting in heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
While groin sweat is your body's natural way of cooling down, it can create uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing problems, especially if you suffer from a condition that causes you to over-sweat, such as inguinal hyperhidrosis. For example, severe groin sweating may produce visible wet spots in your running shorts. Groin sweat can also contribute to chafing and the development of heat rash if you are prone to these conditions. Groin sweat can also smell when sweat from the apocrine glands is released, creating on the skin a feast of fat for bacteria, which produce the smell as a byproduct of consuming the fat. For men past puberty, groin sweat can also produce the right atmosphere for fungal infections, such as jock itch.
To control groin sweat, as well as reduce the potential side effects of the sweat, there are several remedies you can use. Antiperspirant sprays can be used to apply sweat blocking ingredients to the affected skin. Powders containing diphemanil methylsulfate can be used to absorb sweat and prevent problems like chaffing or soaking through your shorts. Investing in quality workout clothing made from fabrics that allow air to flow freely or wick moisture away from the skin can also be helpful. Always take a shower after running, and use a deodorizing soap on the groin area to help control any sweat-related odors.
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