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Chinese Medicine Treatment for Excessive Sweating in the Groin

herbal prescriptions | acupuncture & moxibustion | external remedies | lifestyle advices


Sweating in the groin and buttocks are very common since the skin is folded and always covered by clothing. For some people, they tend to sweat heavily in this area causing intense discomfort and embarrassment. It can further lead to odor, rashes, itching and peeling of the skin, due to imbalances in skin flora in the moist and warm groin, genitals or anal areas.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) understanding, an itchy and wet anus indicates damp-heat irritation that originates from the large intestine. The problem can occur in anal eczema or piles and is usually aggravated by emotional distress or overeating hot and spicy food. On the other hand, excessive sweating of the groin area indicates either a kidney or liver disharmony as the kidney dominates the reproductive organs, and the liver meridian circulates around the external genitals. This problem is a common ailment in men but is often neglected by them. People go for consultations for this problem only when they also suffer from localized eczema, vaginal discharge, impotence, emission or fertility problems. Below are the typical disharmonies of excessive sweating in the groin area.

In TCM, excessive groin sweating is associated with kidney and liver deficiency.
In TCM, excessive groin sweating is associated with kidney and liver deficiency.

Herbal prescriptions for excessive groin sweating

Damp-heat in the liver meridian
Excessive sweating in the groin with an unpleasant smell is often accompanied by other symptoms including distention in lower chest, a bitter taste in the mouth, blood-shot eyes, scanty yellowish urine, a feeling of incomplete emptying after bowel movements, impotence in men, and vaginal itchiness and discharges in women. The tongue is covered by yellow greasy fur and the pulse is taut and rapid. The remedy should clear heat, induce urination, soothe the liver and nourish the blood.

Sample prescription: Gentian Liver-Purging Decoction plus ledebouriella root and jehol ligustium rhizome

Kidney yang deficiency
Excessive cold sweating in the groin can be accompanied by other symptoms that include sensitivity to low temperatures, limb coldness, lumbar soreness, fatigue, night urination, low libido, impotence, emission and infertility problems. The tongue looks pale and glossy with teeth marks on the margin, and the pulse is slow and deep. The remedies should warm the kidney, enrich yang and replenish qi.

Sample prescription: Kidney Qi Bolus plus angelica root and schisandra

Acupuncture and moxibustion for excessive groin sweating

Acupuncture is a therapy that is used to activate qi flow in the meridians. Acupuncture in conjunction with moxibustion can regulate kidney and liver functioning so as to help arrest excessive sweating in the groin area.

Point selection for invigorating the kidney: qi hai (Cv 6), guan yuan (Cv 4), zhong ji (Cv 3), ming men (Gv 4) and shen shu (Bl 23). Moxa heating is suggested on guan yuan (Cv 4), ming men (Gv 4) and shen shu (Bl 23).

Point selection for invigorating the kidney and liver: gan shu (Bl 18), pi shu (Bl 20), wei shu (Bl 21), qi hai (Cv 6), guan yuan (Cv 4), zhong ji (Cv 3), san yin jiao (Sp 6), fu liu (Ki 7) and ran gu (Ki 2). Moxa heating is suggested on qi hai (Cv 6).

External herbal remedies for excessive groin sweating

In case of excessive groin sweating, herbal decoctions combined with external remedies can quickly relieve sweating; however, there are exceptions that need longer term treatment. TCM herbal remedies work on the body surface directly to help reduce sweating, ease skin irritations and act as disinfectants.

1. Washing prescriptions for the groin and buttocks regions

Gallnet of Chinese sumac (30g), processed alum (20g), garden burnet root (30g) and common cnidium fruit (30g). Used for cold, sweaty groins.
Artemisia leaf (100g) and dictamnus root bark (200g). Used for sweaty and itchy groins.
Common cnidium fruit (30g), belvedere fruit (30g), sopora root (30g), pricklyash peel (12g), amur corktree bark (12g), atractylodes rhizome (15g) and ledebouriella root (15g). Used for sweaty and itchy groins.
Wormwood herb (30g), dandelion (30g), belvedere fruit (30g), Tokyo violet herb (15g) and borneol crystal (5g, put in the prepared solution directly). Used for sweaty, itchy and smelly groins.
Common cnidium fruit (30g), gallnet of Chinese sumac (10g), processed alum (10g) and realgar (3g). Used for sweaty and itchy groins as well as for vaginal itchiness.
Common cnidium fruit (15g), pricklyash peel (15g), processed alum (15g), sessile stemona root (15g) and sopora root (15g). Used for sweaty and itchy groins with a fungal infection in the external genitals.
European verbena (15g), cowherb seed (15g), sopora root (15g), dictamnus root bark (15g), amur corktree bark (15g), red peony root (15g) and borneol crystal (5g, put in the prepared solution directly). Used for sweaty groins with eczema in the region.
Sopora root (50g), figwort root (30g), alum (10g), sodium sulfate (10g), pricklyash peel (15g) and Chinese rhubarb (15g). Used for sweaty and itchy groins with a fungal infection on the upper thighs.
Pricklyash peel (6g), chrysanthemum (6g), mulberry leaf (12g), sopora root (30g), artemisia leaf (30g), common cnidium fruit (30g), honeysuckle flower (30g), dandelion (18g) and baical skullcap root (15g). Used for anal itchiness.

When preparing the decoctions, first soak the herbs for 20 minutes and then boil for 30 minutes. Keep the water temperature at around 45J, soak for at least 20 minutes before evenly rubbing the groin and buttock areas. After soaking, rinse with clean water and wipe properly.

2. Powder prescriptions for a sweaty groin

These powders are used to reduce sweat in the groin only; they are not suitable if there are odors or skin rashes in the area.

Equal amount of fossil bone (calcined), oyster shell (calcined) and soapstone.
Equal amount of smithsonite (calcined) and gallnet of Chinese sumac.

Pound the ingredients until they are reduced to a fine powder and put aside. Clean and dry the groin, dust with powder and rub in. Do this 2-3 times a day.

Lifestyle advice for excessive sweating in the groin area

Wear light loose clothing.
Don't use perfume or cologne to mask the odor, as this will not only intensify the smell in the groin area, but may also lead to an allergic reaction.
Losing weight can lessen sweat production
Drink water to keep the body well hydrated, so that the body temperature remains stable.
Greasy, fried and processed foods should be eaten sparingly; avoid smoking and alcohol.
Those who have cool sweat, limb coldness and sexual problems are likely to have a kidney deficiency. Beneficial foods for these individuals include pond loach, sparrow or sparrow egg, mutton, animal kidney or bone marrow, chives, shrimp, walnut, sea cucumber, oyster, Chinese wolfberry, mulberry, cherry, sesame, soybean and nuts.
As damp-heat irritation is blamed for sweaty and smelly groins, individuals with this problem are recommended to eat more fresh vegetables and melons to help eliminate the pathogens. Other useful foods are wax gourd, tomato, cucumber, coix seed, mung beans, lotus root, lotus seed, and bean sprouts.