My baby cousin Mary has turned into quite the gym rat. Almost every day, I see her posting her impressive workout results on Instagram, and I cheerlead for her like any dutiful older cousin should. However, one of Mary’s recent Instagram stories caught me off guard when she posted a word I was totally unfamiliar with — “swass.”
Being the Curious Curt that I am, I decided to follow up with Mary and ask her what a “swass” was, which led to the awkwardness of the following exchange:
All weirdness aside, there are some gym goers who consider posterior perspiration to pose a pernicious predicament, and who would give anything to curtail the sweat that seeps from their rear ends (aka swamp ass) during their workouts.
I’m one of them! The sweat from my butt is embarrassing! How can I fix it?
What makes you think your butt requires fixing? Can you think of a part of your anatomy that doesn’t perspire when it heats up? Sweating is an altogether unavoidable part of training, and this is especially true if you’re putting the essential level of effort into your exercise. Unless you do all of your training in the water, you’re bound to encounter it in obvious ways.
Butt sweat is a universal occurrence; everyone’s butts sweat. In fact, if your butt didn’t sweat, that would be a sign that you might have an isolated case of Anhidrosis, in which a prominent section of your body is failing to adequately cool itself. This has been known to cause catastrophic health issues, up to and including heatstroke.
I suppose my sweaty derriere isn’t worth dying over, but what about the smell?
There shouldn’t be a smell, and certainly not the type you’re thinking about. Your body has two types of sweat-producing glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. The apocrine glands are responsible for the secretion of sweat from the armpits, groin and a few other areas of your body that are capable of producing the sort of stench that would make Ludo unhappy, and that are commonly masked with some form of odor fighter or antiperspirant.
The overwhelming majority of the sweat glands in your body, however, are eccrine glands, and this includes all of the sweat glands in your backside. So even though sweat glands are rightfully part of the excretory system, the glands that excrete sweat through your pores are altogether different from the bodily functions that eliminate solid waste from your rump’s most prominent opening. You can rest assured that the odors and excretions from your anus aren’t permeating the seat of the weight bench while you’re doing seated lateral raises.
That’s a relief! However, my butt really does seem like it’s generating an excessive amount of sweat. The bench is soaking wet when I stand back up!
Your body has somewhere between two and four million eccrine glands alone, so sweating is unavoidable. On top of that, the more fit you are, the more quickly and more profusely your body is inclined to sweat. This is because muscle produces more heat than body fat, and also because your body learns to release sweat more quickly as it adapts to your training style and regimen. All of which means that it might be wise for you to invest in a high-quality sports towel and bring it with you to the gym, because if you intend to pack on more muscle, extend the lengths of your workouts or generally get into better cardiovascular condition, your body will inevitably be sweating with greater frequency than it is now.
That all sounds well and good, but someone could drown in the puddle I’m leaving behind. Should I see a doctor?
If that’s the case, then you may need to visit your general practitioner and ask them if you have hyperhidrosis, an unfortunate condition where the body sweats excessively and uncontrollably, and not necessarily due to the presence of heat or the volume and intensity level of exercise it’s performing.
If you train on a regular basis, your face is going to sweat, your chest is going to sweat, your butt is going to sweat and every other square inch of your torso is going to sweat. If you leave a small lake in your wake as you skip off to the locker room afterwards, learn to view it with pride as the evidence of time well spent during a workout, and not as a slimy, shame-inducing stream of slop. (Also, PLEASE wipe it up! Don’t be that guy.) As they love to say in the military, “If it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin’.”
This being the case, if you bring your own storm cloud to the gym with you — even if it’s located in your butt — you’re off to a great start.