- 7 Tips for Getting Rid of Vaginal Odor
- What Is Vaginal Odor?
- Causes of Vaginal Odor
- Vaginal Odor and Douching
- How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor
- When to See a Doctor
- How To Get Rid of Vaginal Odor: Causes & 8 Effective Home Remedies by Teya Janelle Posted on January 04, 2017 9 Comments
- Causes of Vaginal Odor:
- So what makes your vagina happy? Here are eight effective home remedies to get rid of vaginal odor:
- 1. Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2. Tea Tree Oil
- 3. Yogurt
- 4. Baking Soda
- 5. Indian Gooseberry
- 6. Fenugreek
- 7. Citrus and Vitamin C
- 8. Neem
- When to see a doctor?
- Here are some additional tips to feel fresh and eliminate the fishy odor down there:
- How Your Vagina Is Supposed to Smell
- Vagina or discharge smells like onions: What to do
- My Vagina Stinks – Why?
- Quick Fixes for Your Stinky Body Parts
- Vaginal Odor—It’s Common and Treatable!
- 10 Ways to Deal with Crotch Sweat
- What is Groin Sweat?
- What Causes Excessive Groin Sweating?
- Common Causes of Groin Sweat
- 1. Wear the Right Clothing
- 2. Loose is Better Than Tight
- 3. Sweat-Resistant Underwear
- 4. Change Your Clothes
- 5. Hygienic Trimming
- 6. Powders and Creams
- 7. Antiperspirants
- 8. Body Wipes
- 9. Botox Injections
- 10. Last Resorts
- All Your Sweaty Groin Questions Answered
- When should I see a doctor about my groin sweating?
- Can I put deodorant between my legs?
- Can I use an antiperspirant on my groin?
- Can excessive sweating be cured?
- Why does my groin sweat smell so bad?
- Why does my groin sweat at night?
- Dealing with Groin Sweat
- Fresh Balls by Fresh Body, $11.99
- Dry Goods Athletic Spray Powder, $13.99
- Matte for Men Manpowder, $22
- Jack Black Dry Down, $20
- Comfy Boys, $14.98
- DZ Nuts, $24
- Related posts:
7 Tips for Getting Rid of Vaginal Odor
Occasionally, you may need a little help getting rid of an odor. The following techniques may help you naturally eliminate unusual vaginal odors:
1. Practice good hygiene
Clean the outside of your vagina regularly with a washcloth and mild soap. Cleansing will wash away dead skin, sweat, and dirt.
Loofahs may cause small tears and expose the area to possible infection.
Don’t use perfumed soaps or body washes. The scents and chemicals may upset your vagina’s natural pH. Bar soaps may be more gentle than body wash.
2. Use only exterior deodorizing products
If you want to use any sprays or perfumes, only use them on the outside of your vagina. Don’t insert them. They can upset your natural chemistry and lead to bigger problems.
3. Change your underwear
If you normally wear satin, silk, or polyester panties, make the switch to 100 percent cotton. Cotton is breathable and does an excellent job wicking away sweat and fluids from your body. Excess moisture can upset your natural bacteria levels.
4. Consider a pH product
Over-the-counter (OTC) products may be helpful for restoring your vagina’s natural pH. If you try one and the odor remains or grows worse, make an appointment with your doctor. You may need to use a different product or look for a stronger prescription alternative.
5. Try essential oils
Essential oil treatment has very little medical research to support it, but anecdotal evidence suggests tea tree oil, a type of essential oil that has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties, may help reduce and eliminate bacteria.
However, caution should be used with treatment, as you could irritate the delicate skin of this area of your body.
You may find OTC creams that have tea tree oil, but only use them if there is a recommendation for use in the genital area.
6. Soak in vinegar
Frequent hot baths and hot showers can upset your natural pH, but one type of bath may be useful. Pour a cup or two of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Vinegar may naturally reduce bacteria.
7. Prescription treatments
Prescription treatments can help eliminate underlying causes that are contributing to the odor. If your home or OTC treatments aren’t successful, it may be time to seek treatment from your doctor.
What Is Vaginal Odor?
It’s normal for your vagina to have a slight odor, but a very strong smell may signal a problem.
Vaginal odor is any odor that comes from the vagina.
The intensity of this odor may vary during your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause.
You may also experience stronger smells after sexual intercourse or exercise.
An abnormally strong odor is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as burning, itching, discharge, or irritation.
Typically, vaginal odor is considered “normal” if you don’t have other symptoms.
Causes of Vaginal Odor
Some causes of vaginal odor may include:
Bacterial vaginosis This infection is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Symptoms may include a strong, fishy odor and a thin, gray discharge.
Poor hygiene Not bathing or showering regularly can lead to inflammation of the vaginal area, which can cause vaginal odor.
A forgotten tampon A very strong vaginal odor can occur if you forget to take a tampon out.
The smell should go away once the tampon is removed, but you should see your doctor if this happens to make sure you don’t have an infection.
Sweating The skin around the vagina is prone to sweating, which can cause vaginal odor.
Trichomoniasis This sexually-transmitted infection (STI) can cause vaginal odor. Other STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, typically aren’t accompanied by a strong smell.
Rectovaginal fistula This is an abnormal opening between the vagina and the rectum that allows feces to leak into the vagina, which can contribute to vaginal odor.
Cervical or vaginal cancer Vaginal odor is sometimes a symptom of these cancers.
Diet There’s some evidence that what you eat can affect your vaginal odor. Foods like onion, coffee, asparagus, and certain spices are known to produce changes.
Medications Some drugs, such as antibiotics and herbal medicines, can change the way your vagina smells.
Hormonal changes Hormone treatments, such as birth control pills and vaginal creams, can alter your vaginal odor.
A change in hormone levels during pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, or menstruation can also have an effect.
Vaginal Odor and Douching
Douching is a method of washing that removes healthy bacteria from the vagina.
Doctors don’t recommend douching because it can lead to many different health problems.
Because douching can change the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, it can raise your risk of infection — along with your chances of developing unwanted vaginal odor.
Douching and other cleansing products designed to help vaginal odor can actually make the problem worse in the long run.
How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor
Remedies for your vaginal odor will depend on the cause.
You may need to see your doctor for certain treatments.
Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic such as Cleocin (clindamycin), Flagyl (metronidazole), or Tindamax (tinidazole) if you have an infection such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis.
In general, you can control mild vaginal odor by:
- Wearing cotton underwear and loose clothing, to prevent moisture buildup and increase airflow to the area
- Changing clothes promptly after exercising
- Losing weight (if necessary)
- Practicing good hygiene, by washing your vaginal area with warm water and non-irritating soap
- Avoiding foods that increase the odor
- Wiping front to back after urinating or making a bowel movement to prevent spreading bacteria from your anus to your vagina
- Eating yogurt or other probiotic foods — or taking a probiotic supplement — to balance the bacteria in your body
- Avoiding feminine sprays and creams, which can lead to irritation
An herbal supplement called Femanol is also available to help reduce vaginal odor.
The manufacturer claims that it helps your body build a strong immune system and restore good bacteria in the vagina.
Note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate supplements or confirm their safety or effectiveness, so you should use caution when using Femanol.
Don’t take any dietary supplement without first discussing it with your doctor.
When to See a Doctor
You should visit your healthcare provider if your vaginal odor is:
- Persistent or long-lasting
- Accompanied by other symptoms, such as itching, burning, discharge, or irritation
How To Get Rid of Vaginal Odor: Causes & 8 Effective Home Remedies
by Teya Janelle Posted on January 04, 2017
Every girl wants to have a healthy and happy vagina. Women understand the importance of fashion, home decors and GOOD HYGIENE.
We don’t just invest in expensive lipsticks and brushes, but we also invest in good feminine hygiene products to feel clean and refreshed.
Vaginal odor is one of the major problems of most women. Feminine hygiene companies and manufacturers take advantage of every woman’s strong urge on how to get rid of bad vaginal odor that’s why there are many feminine wash products available with different scents and packaging.
Before thinking about trying out vaginal odor treatments, let’s discuss some common causes of vaginal odor.
Causes of Vaginal Odor:
- You are what you eat – They say that if you love eating spices such as garlic and onions, you’ll have smelly armpits and a bad breath problem. Your smelly vagina is also affected by the food that you eat. According to research, if you love consuming foods with strong unusual scents such as pepper, garlic, broccoli, onions and cheese, then you’ll surely notice a change in the smell of your vagina. Although some researchers suggest using garlic to treat unwanted vagina odor, instead of eating it, you can try putting fresh garlic inside your vagina for a few minutes. If irritation occurs, then it’s advisable to stop.
- Infection – Women who have bacterial vaginosis tend to have an unpleasant odor. Also known as vaginal bacteriosis, this infection is mostly experienced by women of childbearing age. Having a sexual intercourse with a new partner is one of the reasons of acquiring the infection although it’s not considered a sexually transmitted infection. Yeast infection can lead to discharge, soreness and itching. Your vagina has good and bacteria and it needs balance in order to be healthy.
- Hormones – Your hormones change during ovulation and when you’re having your period. During menopausal stage, you may experience a smelly and watery discharge because your estrogen level is lowered.
- Sweat – When it’s sweaty down there, then expect it to be smelly. Blame your sweat glands and bacteria. Like your armpits, eyelids and ear canals, your vagina also has apocrine sweat glands. Such glands secrete fluid with the presence of bacteria which can cause fishy vaginal smell.
So what makes your vagina happy? Here are eight effective home remedies to get rid of vaginal odor:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
The presence of bacteria is one of the reasons why there is vaginal odor that’s why you need something with antibacterial and antiseptic properties such as apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best choices to eliminate vaginal odor, either by drinking or having a warm bath. For menopausal women, it’s natural to have low estrogen levels and less acidity.
Apple cider vinegar contains the much needed acidity and antiseptic quality to fight the bacteria.
What to do:
- Mix a glass of water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar everyday. If you don’t like the strong taste of vinegar, a tablespoon is okay. Or you can mix it with honey.
- A warm bath can be soothing for your vagina. Try mixing two cups of apple cider vinegar in warm bath water and soak for 20 -25 minutes to kill the bacteria.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Most feminine wash products today contain tea tree oil. Like the apple cider vinegar, it also has antiseptic properties that can help fight off toxins and bacteria.
What to do:
- If you’re a regular tampon user, you can dip it in olive oil and add a few drops of tea tree oil in it.
- For strong vaginal odor, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a cup of water whenever you’re washing your genital.
Consuming yogurt is healthy not only for you but for your vagina too! Yogurt has lactobacillus bacteria, a good kind of bacteria that help fight candida infection, considered one of the common reasons of having vaginal odor.
Yogurt is helpful for most women who have low estrogen levels because it helps balance your normal vaginal pH level.
What to do:
- Eat unsweetened plain yogurt everyday. Try probiotic supplements.
- If you don’t like the taste of yogurt, you can try soaking a tampon in your yogurt and insert the tampon in your body. Rinse and remove the tampon after two to three hours.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the most common household products that you can easily find in the kitchen. Aside from being used for baking cakes and pies, it’s also used as a cleaning agent to absorb odors by neutralizing pH levels.
Baking soda neutralizes your vaginal pH level, eliminating yeast infection and your unpleasant vaginal smell.
What to do:
- Add one-half cup of baking soda in your warm bath water and enjoy soaking in it for fifteen to twenty minutes.
5. Indian Gooseberry
Apart from its high vitamin C content, the Indian gooseberry is also helpful in getting rid of an unpleasant odor down there. When there is a vaginal discharge, there is a vaginal odor.
Indian gooseberry acts as an organic cleanser and natural blood purifier, helping you stay out of bacteria and other vaginal infections.
What to do:
- Eat it like any regular fruit or try juicing.
One of the causes of vaginal odor is your hormones. Fenugreek actually helps balance your hormones which helps lessen vaginal discharge and its unpleasant odor. Another health benefit is it helps in regulating your irregular menstruation cycle.
What to do:
- Make a herbal tea out of fenugreek seeds. Just boil the seeds, strain them and drink the tea with an empty stomach.
- Soak fenugreek seeds on the water overnight. Strain the seeds and drink the water early in the morning.
7. Citrus and Vitamin C
We are familiar that citrus fruits contain vitamin C. Apart from boosting our immune system, eating citrus fruits is also beneficial in flushing out toxins from your body and fighting infections such as vaginal infections. Bacteria could not survive for so long in body with strong immune system.
What to do:
- Eat grapefruits, pineapples, cranberries, lime, oranges, lemons etc.
Neem is known as an insecticide and its medicinal value should never be underestimated. Neem or Indian lilac can be beneficial to fight vaginal bacteria, which is one of the causes of vaginal odor.
What to do:
- Boil the neem leaves and allow it to cool. Take out the leaves and use the solution to wash your vaginal area.
When to see a doctor?
If you notice that your vaginal odor doesn’t improve after trying out the home remedies mentioned and the burning sensation continues with excessive discharge, then it’s better to see your gynecologist.
Your vagina is one of the most sensitive parts of your body. Your vaginal health depends on how you care for it.
Here are some additional tips to feel fresh and eliminate the fishy odor down there:
Drink plenty of water
Water has many health benefits. Drinking lots of water helps flush out the bad bacteria and the toxins present in your body.
Less bacteria means less infection and no more worries about discharge and vaginal odor. Don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Avoid anything sugary and caffeinated drinks
Candida is a type of yeast infection that causes irritation, itching and unpleasant vaginal odor. Sugary foods and drinks can encourage overgrowth of candida.
You also need to avoid too much pasta and other foods that are rich in carbohydrates because they promote yeast growth.
Avoid using scented feminine wash
Girls are attracted to scented feminine wash products which can do more harm to your vagina. Retain your vagina’s natural scent instead of washing it with scented products to avoid irritation and disrupting its natural pH level.
Wear cotton panties
You perspire in every physical activity that you engage in. You are aware of your sweaty armpits, wet back and your sweaty groin. Cotton fabric panties allow air circulation and absorb your sweat.
Keep your vulva ventilated and avoid moisture as much as possible. Keep your vaginal area clean and dry.
Some girls who want to wear lacy panties agree that wearing them can sometimes be itchy and uncomfortable which leads to irritation and infection.
Wash after sex
Sex can be an exciting activity to be shared with a partner if you don’t suffer from irritation and unpleasant odor afterwards.
Your genital area tends to be wet and moist after sex due to natural secretion and lubrication which may attract bacteria. You can wash it after sex with warm water.
Use warm water instead of soap
Some girls are used to using soap or feminine wash product every time they wash their genitals. Your vagina prefers water instead of soap. Some soaps may cause itching and irritation.
Frequent scratching of your vulva may result to infection which can cause unwanted discharges.
Using soap might disrupt your natural vaginal pH. If you’re not satisfied using water only, then you can try very mild soap to avoid irritation.
Sex is one of the best pleasures of life and you will enjoy it more if your vagina is itchy and redness free. Having unprotected sex with multiple partners can sometimes cause bacteria and infection.
Your bacteria are not familiar with the new bacteria from a new sex partner, which leads to infection. Sex-related infections cause vaginal itching, redness, excessive vaginal discharge and burning sensation during and after intercourse.
Avoid douching too much
Douching can actually get rid of the bad bacteria. However, it can also eliminate the good bacteria. Trust how your body works naturally and just use warm water to wash your vaginal area.
Maintaining your pH level is very important to fight infection. If you need to use white vinegar, baking soda or other essential oils with water, it’s recommended that you don’t do it often.
Study says that too much douching may cause health problems in the future.
Change pads during your period
For most active women who are having their menstruation while at work, they tend to forget changing their sanitary pads from time to time.
The problem with using sanitary pads is that wearing used pads for long hours might cause infection. Why not use a re-usable menstrual cup like the Anigan EvaCup instead?.
Have a balanced diet
What you eat affects your physical and mental health. Although your body needs carbohydrates, too much carbs can also cause yeast growth.
While eating too many sweet oranges and berries or sweet fruits to get vitamin c can attract candida and encourage its growth.
Candida is a type of infection that can cause vaginal irritation, redness and discharge. Yeast is the last thing you want to be with your vagina.
Avoid wearing too tight jeans
Your vagina is sensitive that’s why it needs extra care. Wearing tight jeans prevents proper ventilation of your vagina and groin area.
If you live an active lifestyle, avoid wearing tight clothing because it’s your sweat glands can be the reason why you’re smelly down there. Oxygen is important to have a healthy and happy vagina.
Having a good hygiene routine is important to get rid of your vaginal odor. If you regularly go to the gym, make sure to shower after because being sweaty means having bacteria and being smelly down there.
Take a shower after work and feel refreshed. If you want to use feminine sprays, spray it externally and not internally. However, if possible, try not to use any feminine products that can affect your vagina’s natural pH balance.
Is this blog interesting enough for you? If so, please leave your comment below. 🙂
How Your Vagina Is Supposed to Smell
Let me turn my chair around and sit in it backwards. Guys, let’s rap. I think it was Leo Tolstoy who said, “All happy families are alike, but every puss is stank in its own way.”
In other words, vaginas are supposed to have a smell. According to a one study, there are 2,100 separate “odiferous effluents” (translation: scent molecules) that compose the smell of a vagina, meaning each vagina’s unique bouquet is made of many—in the words of the study—”mini-odors.”
The main thing causing these mini-odors? Bacteria.
“Any smell you have is a combination of what the human metabolizes and what the bacteria metabolizes,” says Dr. Maria Mendes Soares of the Mayo Clinic. You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and apparently your vagina also smells like what you eat. Several women on Reddit mentioned in a recent post that when they eat onions or garlic, their vulva takes on a similar scent. It’s perfectly normal—you’re just secreting. While there maybe some odor in your vaginal discharge, the garlic or onion smell is but it’s likely coming from your urethra, since those foods make your pee smell that way, too.
Read More: Men Explain Why They Don’t Eat Pussy
What about in general? How should your vagina smell most of the time? Like your stomach and your mouth, your vagina is home to billions of bacteria. The bacteria to which Dr. Mendes Soares refer are called the vaginal flora, or vaginal microbiota. The vaginal flora work to keep your vagina’s pH at 4.5, or slightly acidic. It’s likely that your vagina has a slightly sour smell. There will also most likely be a slight musty smell, from sweat that builds up in the nooks and crannies of the human body. Neither of these smells should be overpowering. In a blog post on WebMD, Dr. Heather Rupe says you should be able to smell a vagina from one foot away.
This is not to say that all vaginal odors are normal. If you actually smell like fish, it is a sign of bacterial vaginosis, and you should go set a watchman down there. If your vagina smells rotten, there may be a tampon or tampon bits lodged deep within. See a doctor; they’ve dealt with it before.
According to Dr. Mendes Soares, the majority of vaginas are primarily colonized by a species of lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is one of the “probiotic” bacteria; they need to be in your gut and vagina to stop more serious disease-causing pathogens from taking hold. There may be other bacteria in the mix, but four out of five vaginas are “90 to 95 percent one species of lactobacillus. Lactobacillus ferments sugars into lactic acid, which helps to keep the vagina ever-so-slightly acidic. Some beers and yogurts are cultured with lactobacillus. Beer aficionados describe the taste of lactic acid as “a soft pleasant sourness,” and beers that are fermented with lactobacillus have a characteristic subtle mustiness.
You’re probably asking yourself: “If lactobacillus is used to ferment beer and yogurt, have people used vagina bacteria to make these things?”
The answer is yes, of course.
A University of Wisconsin PhD student made her own probiotic yogurt using her personal vaginal flora as the starter. Doing this at home is not advisable, since you can’t separate your good bacteria from your bad in a non-microbiology lab setting. A Polish brewing company called, The Order of Yoni, have made Bottled Instinct, a sour ale fermented via vagina. The lactobacillus for Bottled Instinct was gathered from one woman, Czech model Alexandra Brendlova, who has bona fide credentials avowing her cleanliness and moral purity. They are currently looking for funding on their IndieGogo.
So if your boyfriend is a beer drinker but complains about going down on you, tell him he can sit on a bottle of Bud Light and spin.
Image via Flickr/bec.w
Ask-Hole is a regular column in which Broadly investigates questions you probably already knew the answers to, but we didn’t, so here it is. Do you have a question about honestly anything at all? Ask us about it.
Vagina or discharge smells like onions: What to do
Possible causes of a vagina that smells like onions include:
Eating food with a strong smell can affect body odor. Onions, garlic, spices, and vinegar are among the foods that can change the smell of sweat.
Sweat can combine with vaginal discharge to make the vagina smell of strong foods, such as onions or garlic.
A person would generally have to eat more onion than usual for it to affect their body odor.
2. Forgotten tampon
Share on PinterestA forgotten tampon may cause an unpleasant odor.
If someone forgets to remove a tampon, it can cause an unpleasant odor. The smell can occur with or without discharge.
If there is discharge, it may be an unusual color such as pink, grey, brown, green, or yellow.
Other symptoms may include fever, pain between the belly button and genitals, pain when urinating or having sex, or itching and redness around the vulva.
It is essential to remove the tampon as soon as possible. If the individual cannot find or remove the tampon, they should see a doctor.
If a tampon remains in the body for too long, there is a risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Symptoms of TSS include:
- symptoms of flu, such as a headache, sore throat, or cough
- a red rash on the skin
- difficulty breathing
- feeling faint or dizzy
TSS can be an emergency. Anyone with these symptoms who suspects they may have TSS should seek immediate medical attention.
The vagina keeps itself clean naturally by producing a discharge. However, a person should regularly wash the vulva with warm water to remove any discharge and keep the area free of harmful bacteria.
The vulva is close to the urethra and rectum, so cleaning properly after urinating or passing stool is also important.
Urine sometimes has a strong odor, which people may confuse with a vaginal odor, especially if there is undetected urine leakage.
The natural balance of bacteria in the vagina keeps it healthy, but if an imbalance occurs, it can cause problems.
Simple hygiene tips can help to maintain the optimal balance of vaginal bacteria and reduce the chances of an unpleasant smell developing. These tips include:
- wearing clean underwear every day
- choosing underwear made of a breathable, natural fabric, such as cotton
- using a mild soap and warm water to wash the vulva
- avoiding the use of douches or perfumed products
- showering regularly, particularly after exercise
4. Hormonal changes
Hormone levels in the body change throughout the menstrual cycle, as well as during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. These hormonal changes can affect the way the vagina smells.
Vaginal odor usually becomes more noticeable when there is an increased level of the hormone estrogen in the body. This will occur when a person uses certain hormonal contraceptives as well as during ovulation and pregnancy.
The amount, texture, and scent of vaginal discharge can also vary over time. Vaginal discharge will not usually have a strong or foul smell. If it does, this may be a sign of infection.
5. Bacterial vaginosis
Share on PinterestAn unpleasant smell may be a symptom of bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection resulting from an imbalance in the bacteria in the vagina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is the most common infection of the vagina for women aged 15–44.
One of the symptoms of BV is an unpleasant smell. Other symptoms may include:
- watery discharge that is white or gray
People who are sexually active and those who use douches are more at risk of getting the infection, which will require treatment with antibiotics.
A doctor should be able to suggest ways to prevent reinfection in the future.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause an unpleasant-smelling discharge. The discharge may be yellow or green, and the vulva may feel irritated.
Doctors will treat the infection with medication and will often recommend abstaining from sexual activity until the infection clears. All sexual partners should also seek treatment so that the infection does not continue to pass back and forth.
7. Yeast infection
Yeast occurs naturally in the vagina and helps to keep it healthy. However, it can multiply above normal levels and cause a yeast infection.
A yeast infection can result in thick, white discharge. Although this often does not smell, in some cases it may have an unpleasant odor.
Other symptoms include itching, burning, and redness around the vulva. It is possible to treat the infection using antifungal medication.
My Vagina Stinks – Why?
What IS “stinky” when it comes to vaginas? A lot of women show up to my office saying there is a strong odor when they pull their pants down to go pee, or that their partners noticed that it smells different. But what people don’t realize is, that despite what the latest douching ads say, your vagina is supposed to have a bit of an odor. Our vaginas are home to billions of bacteria and the balance of this bacteria changes constantly, creating different aromas varying from musty and fermented to coppery or sweet smelling. These smell variations are likely a result of your menstrual cycle, your hygiene habits, or just you.
The feminine hygiene industry has convinced us that vaginas should smell breezy fresh and flowery; anything else is unclean. I’m sure you have seen lots of ads for feminine washes, refreshers and douches. Or you can find hundreds of videos on YouTube about vaginal hygiene routines and see things like steaming or inserting different foods and essential oils. This is nothing new. Lysol is known today for making cleaning products, but their advertisements from the early 1900s told women that their husbands would leave them unless they washed out their vaginas with it —anything less would be “intimate neglect.” Women suffered poisoning because of the insecurity the company pushed. Women actually died from poisoning by doing this.
So what smells ARE normal? One if the most common smells is tangy or yeasty like sourdough bread or Greek yogurt. This is typically a sign of the good bacteria that dominates the vagina, lactobacilli. Sometimes this can produce a thin white discharge as well.
Another common smell is a coppery or metallic smell. This is usually from some blood in the vagina and typically nothing to worry about. Either menstrual bleeding, some spotting or a little bleeding after sex may be the culprit. You do not need to see the blood for it to cause a change in the odor.
A third common description is a musty or skunky odor. Unfortunately, the groin has lots of sweat glands and thanks to that, can smell like body odor. Your body contains two types of sweat glands, apocrine and eccrine. The eccrine glands produce sweat to cool your body down and the apocrine glands respond to your emotions. These apocrine glands populate your armpits and, you guessed it, your groin. So, stress and emotional turmoil may cause a stronger odor than at other times.
So when should you call the doctor? Bad vaginal odors are not subtle. It definitely should not smell like fish or rotting food. Likewise, some discharge is normal and varies through the month, but you should not have pain or irritation from it. Those things should be checked out to see what is going on.
For the most part, the vagina is self-regulating. If someone told you to wash your wool sweater in hot water, you would think they’re crazy. You should have the same response if someone tells you to put something in your vagina! Though it may be tempting to douche or use a vaginal deodorant to decrease vaginal odor, these products may actually increase irritation and other vaginal symptoms. Vaginas have an odor that is healthy and normal. We need to accept that and not be self-conscious about it with others.
As a final note, I recently read an article and this line resonated with me: “If someone speaks to you about your body with anything but kindness and concern, it is he who has a problem.”
– Submitted by Dr. Kristen Bannister
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Quick Fixes for Your Stinky Body Parts
Get a whiff of this: If you’re cursed with bad body odor, you are not alone. Many women are ill-fated with pits, private parts, even hair that stinks. And the stench tends to worsen during the summertime, when you’re more likely to sweat.
The good news: Heavy sweating and body odor happen to everyone when they exercise, are nervous, or get stressed or too warm.
Let’s take musty vaginal odor as an example. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have vaginal odor without any other vaginal symptoms, it’s likely that the odor is normal.
There are common causes of vaginal odor such as a sweaty vagina after having sex or odor during and after your period or after a workout. Other causes that need attention include:
- A forgotten tampon
- Bacterial vaginosis (fishy odor discharge, itching, burning during urination)
- Poor hygiene
- Trichomoniasis (foul smelling vaginal discharge, itching, painful urination)
Bathing more frequently and good hygiene measures will take care of common vaginal odor; bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis are infections that require a doctor’s visit, diagnosis, and medication.
Excessive sweating and body odor is a problem for many during extreme workouts. For women who live in warmer climates, this problem of excessive sweating is common year-round. While sweat in and of itself is odorless, the type of sweat produced in your armpits, feet, and groin smells bad when it combines with bacteria that’s already on your skin. That’s why frequent bathing or showering with mild soap and warm water is important to rinse sweat off the skin. Follow this with the best deodorant for women you can find.
If you get too sweaty during exercise, consider wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Dark fabrics increase your body temperature and reduce evaporation, causing sweat to stay on your skin. Loose-fitting clothes allow air to pass over your skin, providing for sweat evaporation and cooling.
In addition, look for an over-the-counter women’s deodorant that helps combat odor-causing bacteria. If the best deodorant for women does not help you, you may be an excessive sweater (called hyperhidrosis). People who have hyperhidrosis sweat even when the body is not overheated. Talk to your doctor about this condition and seek appropriate treatment.
With most cases of bad-smelling body parts, there’s an easy fix; however, in certain situations, your body odor could be signaling that it’s time to see a doctor. Don’t be the “smelly kid” — get to the root of your problem so you can banish body odor for good.
Every once in a while, you develop a health symptom so bizarre—like suddenly emitting a truly offensive body odor—that it sends you into a total shame spiral. But guess what: We all have weirdo body issues that creep up and freak us out. That’s why we asked an expert to solve them in the March “Confessions” issue of Women’s Health. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve suddenly got a case of bad B.O.
Why you can stop spiraling: It’s temporary. Sudden, super-strong odor can have surprising causes. The first? Stress. Your body has two kinds of sweat glands. Eccrine glands, which are located all over, let out non-stanky fluid when you need cooling off. But apocrine glands, mainly in your pits, go into hyperdrive when you’re anxious—and they spew out a fatty, protein-rich sweat that turns rank when it mixes with bacteria on your skin, explains Hooman Khorasani, M.D., chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
If you’re not frazzled, your odor might be from certain foods. Spices such as curry and garlic, and veggies like onion, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus, can leak compounds like sulfur into your sweat glands, resulting in musty or urine-y B.O. six to 12 hours later, Khorasani says. (Learn how bone broth can help you lose weight with Women’s Health’s Bone Broth Diet.)
Related: 7 Tips That’ll Keep Your Pits Smelling Fresh All Day Long
What to do now: Stress-related funk will disappear as soon as you feel less sapped. Until then, use an antiperspirant with 19 to 20 percent of an ingredient called aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly (a less irritating version of the typical sweat-blocking aluminum), suggests Lauren Eckert Ploch, M.D., a dermatologist at Georgia Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center in Augusta. (Try Secret Fresh Collection Invisible Solid, $5, amazon.com.) If you sweat excessively on the reg, a dermatologist can write you an Rx for a more powerful pit stick or an oral med. (And never ignore these 5 body odors.)
Watch a hot doctor teach you the best way to clean your ears:
Not tense? Back off the offending foods and work in some fruit. A recent Australian study found that people who ate more of it had better-smelling sweat.
Cassie Shortsleeve Freelance Writer Cassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance writer and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on all things health, fitness, and travel.Photo: 68/GK Hart/Vikki Hart/Corbis What It’s Like to Have a Condition That Gives You Extremely Terrible Body Odor “I have an ammonia-like scent that comes out of my armpits and groin. My breath varies between eggs and garbage.”
Trimethylaminuria, commonly known as fish-odor syndrome, is a rare condition impacting a sufferer’s ability to break down a pungently scented chemical compound, naturally occurring in the body, called trimethylamine. Those who have TMAU are plagued by extreme body odor: Their urine, breath, and sweat are laced with a thick scent akin to that of rotting eggs, garbage, or stale fish, and it’s completely impossible to control with bathing, deodorant, or other forms of personal hygiene.
Some sufferers are born with the genetic mutation that causes TMAU, but others acquire it in adulthood (hormonal changes or chronic illness are two possible triggers). But not everyone can smell the TMAU scent, and most of those who suffer from it are unable to detect it themselves – one British woman recently described desperately searching her house for a dead animal carcass because she couldn’t believe she was the source of the offensive odor described by her friends.
Science of Us recently spoke with a 38-year-old woman from Savannah, Georgia, who suffers from TMAU.
Tell me about your condition.
I have type-two TMAU, the acquired type, which means I developed it later in life. It’s a metabolic disorder that prevents your body from converting trimethylamine into another non-odorous compound. It means you have extreme body odor. It’s an embarrassing, lonely condition.
How strong is the smell?
I have a very strong, fishy vaginal odor and an ammonia-like odor that comes out of my armpits and groin. My breath varies between eggs and garbage. If I get really upset I get a skunky smell.
Can most people you meet smell it? Can your family and friends?
My husband can’t smell it and has never been able to. The first time I smelled the odor, and I asked him if he could, too, he thought I was joking, seriously, because he couldn’t smell anything.
For the most part, my kids cannot, but there’s been a few times where they’ve said something about my breath. Kids are so honest. But you become paranoid, and you go to your family members to ask if they smell anything on you, because you want the truth. That’s where I think even if family members can smell it they don’t want to hurt you, so they don’t tell you. But it’s frustrating because at the same time you want validation that the condition exists. I saw therapists who told me I have body dysmorphic disorder and prescribed me several strong antipsychotic drugs to help me with my “psychosis.” They told me I had a mental problem. That really made me question my sanity. I’d think, Maybe I don’t smell? Maybe I am just crazy? And then someone reacts negatively to you, and you think, Surely not.
So you can’t smell it yourself?
No. For the most part if you have this condition you’re completely unaware that you’re emitting any kind of scent, your nose is so accustomed to it. You can’t smell your own smell. But I have a very sensitive nose, which is why it’s so confusing that I can’t even detect my own odor. I love perfume. I love the smell of baking. I love the smell of babies.
When did you first develop it?
I remember that during puberty I had to take extra measures to stay fresh. I didn’t know what was going on, and I guess I just thought, Well, I’m going through puberty … I applied deodorant frequently, and I had to change my clothes, but I wasn’t getting a lot of hints from other people … Still, I could tell that something just wasn’t right.
I figured was just a very sweaty person. My grandfather sweats a lot, too, so I just thought it was genetic. It really didn’t inhibit me: I dated, I had friends, and I went to prom. I got married to my husband, whom I met when I was 19, and I went college for a few years. It wasn’t until 2000 when I was pregnant with my first child that the condition kicked in. The hormonal change was a catalyst for me. But, still, because I couldn’t smell it I didn’t know it was happening.
How’d you find out?
We had difficulties with the birth of my son, and while I was in the hospital I met a lady who had a similar pregnancy experience. We bonded and became good friends. Then when the babies were about a year old, the weirdest thing happened. She started giving me little hints in conversation. One day I complimented her on the perfume she was wearing, and she said: “It’s not perfume, I just took a bath and used soap and water,” as if I had never heard of such things. The climax came when both our families went out for dinner and her husband told a crude joke involving a woman who had really bad smell, downstairs, you know in “that” department. After he told the joke he laughed and said directly to me, “Well, there’s a joke you can appreciate.”
Nobody had said anything up to that point?
Body odor is such a taboo subject — I don’t think anyone really feels comfortable going up to someone and saying, “Hey, man — you need a bath!” After that incident I noticed that my friends would drop similar hints or avoid getting close to me. When we were having a conversation they’d get this glazed-over look, or they would back off or put their hand over their mouth. Then I noticed, when I was out shopping, store assistants would say rude things very loudly because they wanted to let me know I had a problem. Things like, “Oh, here comes that woman! Don’t let her come down my line.” I’d hear words like monkey or skunk as I walked past with my cart. I just said I was so sorry, I felt bad, they thought I was going in there without bathing or brushing my teeth, but the truth was I had this odor I could not get rid of.
I’ve had baggers just walk off midway through serving me. One of them looked up, and she said, “I’m not bagging this,” and she just walked away. Once I went to get video games for my kids at a store, and when I walked past a teenage boy who was working, he reached down behind the counter and took out air freshener and sprayed it behind my back and said to his colleague, “Check this out! Now I can breathe.” It was horrible. I went home and cried.
Do you constantly monitor people’s reactions or avoid certain situations?
Oh, yeah! I’d go into most social situations dreading it because you just know what’s going to happen. You’re looking around for coughing, sneezing, rubbing the eyes. It makes you very paranoid. If someone whispers something to someone else I think they were talking about me.
Are there any specific situations you avoid?
Simple things like getting a haircut or having my nails done. I used to just let my hair grow until it got to a point where I had to go to a beauty salon, and I’d avoid going to the same place more than once because I had a few incidents where they were nice to me the first time and then when I went back they’d look at their co-workers and say, “Oh no … we don’t have an opening.” I always try and do self-checkout at the grocery store because sometimes I’m just too scared to go down the regular line.
I hate to go to the movies or restaurants because you’re in close quarters with other people. There’s a Mexican restaurant I go to regularly, and every time I go in there the owner gets this look on his face like he’s seen a ghost. But this confidence has come with time and age. When I was younger it was so traumatic. I’m lucky I handled it without harming myself. A lot of sufferers think about suicide every day. They can’t see any hope, and then there are people who do the diet and find that while it may not eliminate the odor, it helps. The saddest part about it is that you isolate yourself. I feel bad because I understand: It’s human nature to want to avoid bad smells.
When were you formally diagnosed?
In 2007 I was researching my condition on the internet when I came across a support group run by someone in the U.K. who has TMAU. I discovered an entire anonymous network and a name for my condition. I think that community slowly pulled me out of the depression and encouraged me to go and get tested, which I finally did about a year ago. When I got the test results I started looking around for information and discovered that it’s really impacted by your diet, but there was hardly any information out there. So I started coming up with simple recipes with carefully controlled choline content. I thought, This is easy, because I love to cook and I’m a housewife. I stay at home with my kids, so I had the time to devote to that.
I waited from 2007 to 2013 to actually bite the bullet and take the test. There’s a lot more research being done in the U.K. than there is here in the USA. There’s a clinic in Cleveland where the tests are conducted. I went through MEBO (a patient advocacy group for systemic body odor and halitosis), and they collected a batch of tests for me. They then send out frozen urine samples to the clinic. It takes about a month to hear back, and when I got the results … well, honestly, I was afraid to look at the results. I had mixed emotions, but when I saw that I had TMAU I just cried and cried. I felt validation for all that I had been through. I wanted to pick up the phone and call everybody and say, “See, this is why I smell bad. This is why I’ve been mistreated, this is a real condition, and it’s called trimethylaminuria!” It was liberating. It was also sad that I did have a name for the odor problem and that, yes, I really smell that bad. I always thought, Well, I smell sweaty, that’s all … But with this diagnosis I realized why people reacted to me the way they did. I started the diet and noticed a huge change in my interactions with others. I found that I could control my odor through the diet. I gained my self-confidence and my life back! So getting tested was the best thing I ever did. I only wish I had done it sooner.
What can you eat, and what can’t you eat? How easy is it to keep to the diet?
It’s easier to say what you can’t eat. You avoid red meat, pork, eggs, nuts, and soy. Processed and packaged foods all contain soy, so you have to prepare all your own meals from scratch. Some of us can tolerate almond milk, and most can tolerate white bread and white flour, so we can make pancakes and waffles. We can do protein, but we tend to stick to chicken and turkey. But you don’t want to eat too much in one sitting, so you have to weigh all your food, and that’s really annoying.
The thing that we are trying to avoid is choline, but you can’t cut it out of your diet completely because your body needs it. If you simply eat fruits and vegetables and very little protein you’ll get sick. After I went on the diet it took me about three months to get “clean,” and people’s reactions started to change. I could talk to people, I could socialize, I could get up in their face, and I realized that for the last three years I’d been really socially isolated. I decided I wasn’t going to let it control me anymore, and I started throwing myself into my life and enjoying things. But you have to have a lot of self-control, so I eat clean for the most part and then give myself a cheat day. I’ll stick to it for three weeks and then reward myself with dinner, but I know when I do it I’m going to suffer for a couple of days afterward.
Can you drink alcohol?
Oh no. I mean I can and I do occasionally, but I know it’s going to be a problem. Beer is really bad, and some people can drink wine, but it really impacts me. Just about anything does, but beer is the worst.
Can you describe your daily routine and how it’s affected by the disorder?
It starts from the minute I get up. I shower really well using a product that’s closer to the natural pH level of your skin like acid soaps with a pH close to five, or Neutrogena body wash or Neutrogena Clean and Clear things with salicylic acid. I go over once with soap and then again with body cleanser. It’s tiring, but I know it’s something that I just have to do.
I’ve had some of the worst experiences talking to people when my breath is really bad. They’d call me dragon breath and step back when I was talking. So I use peroxide to gargle and then follow it with alcohol-free mouthwash because alcohol will dry your mouth out and make it worse. And then I put on special creams to dry my skin, and excessive deodorant. I’m always thinking about reapplying it if I get hot. I always carry wet wipes to clean my armpits and groin area. Body sprays tend to mix with the odor on your skin and make it ten times worse, so I don’t use those. If I follow the diet I can use a little perfume on my clothing but not on the skin directly. I don’t work right now, but if I did I’d probably have to come home and shower during the day
How many times a day do you shower?
When the odor is really bad I do it about three or four times each day. You want to be clean, and you don’t know how to get clean, and as soon as you get out of the shower you worry that you smell again. It’s something that makes you feel better psychologically, but it probably hurts more than it helps because it dries your skin out. I think of it as an aura, like a cloud that you can’t get out of.
What’s summer like? Have you ever traveled to a really hot destination?
When my family goes to the beach I really don’t want to go with them. I know it will be really hot, and that brings out the odor. In the past I just wouldn’t do it, and I would tell my husband that I’m not feeling well. He doesn’t seem to understand, even with the diagnosis, because he can’t smell the odor. When you have your period the odor gets worse, really crazy, and that’s the only time I can’t control it even if I’m strictly following the diet. I’ll tell my husband that we should do something where we can sit outside, if I even go out at all. My kids like to go to amusement parks to ride the roller coasters and things like that, but when I stand there with them and it’s hot I’m always really worried that I’m emitting the odor.
How has it impacted your relationship with your husband?
We’ve been married for 18 years, and you want to feel like you can talk to your partner about anything. And while at the beginning he was very understanding, he’s never smelled anything so it just doesn’t exist to him. He thinks I use it as an excuse for not doing something or going somewhere, and that causes a lot of tension. I try to avoid using it as an excuse — instead I’ll say that I feel sick. There was a family wedding, and we were all going to go, and I just couldn’t do it. I had so many bad experiences the week before, and I think I would have had a panic attack right there in the church. So I told him I was sick. Emotionally, I just couldn’t go through with it, so they all went without me.
So you don’t work outside the home?
No, and honestly it’s because I’m afraid. I’m comfortable enough to do things with my friends, take vacation, go to the movies, and take my kids and their friends bowling. But I don’t know if I’d be strong enough to go outside the home and work every day. Strangers will go out of their way to say something and make you feel so bad. You just want it to stop. You want them to treat you like you are human. You feel subhuman. They look at you like you are filth, and you just wish you could be equal. The diet helps, but I think because of my past experiences, the fear is still holding me back. I love working with the elderly, and I want to work in a nursing home, but I know people who do that, and their colleagues are tortured by their smell. I’m very lucky my husband has a good, stable job, but I also wish I wasn’t afraid to work. I hope one day I get to the point where I can.
Does it make you paranoid about how you present or groom yourself?
I was really small when I was younger, but I recently gained weight, and I think that’s made me self-conscious — people think you smell because you’re large. You really worry about how you come across. You want to look good, and you don’t want to feed into the social misconception that if you’re overweight you smell.
People have pity for you if you have a physical disability, but if you have something like this they don’t think there’s any excuse. You aren’t taking care of your body, and you have total disrespect for people around you, and they take that personally.
Is there anything that you wish you could have done and just haven’t done because of this?
Other than working, we don’t go to church regularly, and I would love to do that. I know that sounds silly and simple, but I’ve had some really bad experiences at church, where I was ostracized. I really love the fellowship of other people, and I guess I wish I could be more social. I’m social, but I can’t really attend events or get close to people without having to worry about it. It’s like when you are overweight and you lose the weight and then you look in the mirror and you still see the fat person. It’s kind of like that. It’s really hard to get past it, but you move on. I’m thankful that I’m not totally housebound — it could be so much worse for me.
Vaginal Odor—It’s Common and Treatable!
One of the most commonly occurring and least talked about feminine concerns is odor. We all feel embarrassed to admit that it happens, but the truth is that it’s completely normal. In fact, as many as 80% of women experience it at least every 2-3 weeks.1 Besides perspiration, every woman has a unique scent that fluctuates during her menstrual cycle and may change depending on hormone levels. The scent originates from vaginal secretions and can vary throughout the month. The good news is, you’re not alone, and there is a solution…so don’t stress!
Vaginal odor symptoms and causes
Vaginal odor can have different causes. While some causes are a normal side effect of bodily changes, others may point to an infection. Women often describe their normal scent as musky, which is attributed to the body’s normal cleansing system. A slightly metallic scent is also normal during a menstrual cycle. Foul or fishy odors are not normal and should prompt a trip to see your healthcare professional. Possible causes of vaginal odor include:
- Vaginal secretions
- pH imbalance
- Sexual Intercourse
Treating Vaginal Odor
Stay Fresh Gel provides a new way to restore feminine freshness that you can feel good about. It treats odor by coating the vaginal area with a specially formulated gel that is designed to protect, balance, and restore feminine freshness. It’s a worry-free solution for maintaining feminine freshness and controlling feminine odor. While many OTC products have fragrance, remember that fragrance is an irritant and will only mask the odor.
Many women feel the need to clean their vagina with harsh products or cover up odor by masking it with deodorant sprays. Our bodies have a natural, complex cleansing system that involves a delicate balance of microorganisms. Using strong cleansers, douche, and feminine sprays can cause an imbalance in the normal vaginal environment and result in an infection.2
It’s important to know that strong, pungent or foul vaginal odors can be a sign of infection. Consult your healthcare professional if you experience strong, fishy or unpleasant odors, especially if you also experience abnormal discharge, itching or irritation. For help getting the conversation about your feminine health started, download our Doctor Discussion Guide.
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Let’s face it, groin sweat can lead to some rather embarrassing moments. When your sweat is visible and makes you feel smelly, slimy and self-conscious– it isn’t just bad, it’s darn bad (and gross too). There’s nothing like a sweaty crotch to put a damper on your day. Here are some ways that can help:
10 Ways to Deal with Crotch Sweat
- 1. Wear the Right Clothing
- 2. Loose is Better Than Tight
- 3. Sweat-Resistant Underwear
- 4. Change Your Clothes
- 5. Hygienic Trimming
- 6. Powders and Creams
- 7. Antiperspirants
- 8. Body Wipes
- 9. Botox Injections
- 10. Last Resorts
There are more than a few causes of groin sweat. But, before we get into each of them, let’s take a quick look at the physiology of sweat.
What is Groin Sweat?
Everybody knows that sweat is the mechanism by which the body cools itself and maintains its core temperature. You probably also know that the underarms, crotch, hands, feet, and forehead are the places we sweat most and most often.
The reason that these areas of the body are more prone to excessive sweating than others is no mystery: It’s just a matter of numbers.
The average person has about 2 million sweat glands. Some people have as many as 4 million sweat glands. There are two kinds, eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine sweat glands are distributed just about everywhere on the body (ear canals, lips, and genitals are the exceptions.) The sweat they secrete is clear and mostly made up of water, salt, and electrolytes.
Apocrine glands are found in abundance in and around your armpits, scalp, eyelids, and nipples. They’re concentrated around areas where there are lots of hair follicles. This includes the groin region in both men and women. The sweat secreted by apocrine glands is different. It’s thick and yellow in color and much of it reaches the skin’s surface by way of hair canals. This type of sweat contains much higher concentrations of fatty acids and proteins.
Ladies: There are no sweat glands on the vagina, but there are very high numbers of apocrine sweat glands around the outside of the vagina on the labia majora.
When these fatty acids (lipids) and proteins arrive on the skin’s surface, millions of bacteria are waiting and eager to gorge themselves. As the bacteria break down lipids and proteins, smelly acids are left behind. This causes body odor and that terrible smell we know all too well.
What Causes Excessive Groin Sweating?
First of all, it’s not unusual to sweat between the legs, thighs, and in the groin area. Hot, muggy weather and physical exertion will cause you to sweat, especially down there. The sheer number of sweat glands in the groin can cause profuse sweating.
If hot temperatures or physical exertion are not the cause of your excessive groin sweat, something else may be at work. That something else is called hyperhidrosis. It’s a medical condition that affects an estimated 3% of the population.
There are two kinds of hyperhidrosis: generalized hyperhidrosis and primary focal hyperhidrosis. Generalized hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating over your entire body. It is usually caused by an unrelated underlying condition, like diabetes, cancer, or other disease or disorder.
The other type of hyperhidrosis–and the prime suspect for overactive sweat glands in the groin area–is called primary focal hyperhidrosis. It usually affects one specific area of the body, i.e. the underarms, face, head, hands, feet, or the groin.
Common Causes of Groin Sweat
So, why does your crotch sweat so much? Here are several likely causes:
Even minimal moving around in hot environments will cause you to sweat in the groin area.
Any form of vigorous exercise will cause you to sweat in the crotch (and other places). Exercise that’s focused on the lower body will produce more sweat in and around your groin.
Because apocrine glands are found in and around the groin, pubic hair traps bacteria and moisture from sweat, creating a virtual greenhouse for bacterial growth. The rapid surge in bacterial population causes itching, discomfort and groin sweat odor. If proper cleansing does not take place, the buildup of sweat and bacteria can lead to groin sweat rash, thigh chafing, and infection.
There is good underwear, and then there’s bad underwear. We’re not talking about your Batman briefs. We’re talking about underwear that’s made of synthetic fabrics that don’t breathe. These types of undies don’t wick away moisture and they trap sweat and heat in the groin area. Always choose underwear made from natural, breathable fabrics that can absorb and wick away moisture and allow ventilation. Natural fabrics are also non-allergenic and less likely to cause a rash.
You knew it was coming. Yes, if you’re overweight, the chances of excessive groin sweat are much higher. The body is naturally insulated by fat. Excess fat in and around the hips, stomach, and thighs will cause excessive groin sweating.
Feminine Hygiene Products
May panty liners and pads are made of materials that don’t breathe. Wearing them may increase the temperature resulting in increased vaginal sweating. If you must wear pads and panty liners, try changing them at frequent intervals.
Lack of General Hygiene
This probably goes without saying: Good hygiene is critical. Clean your groin area every day, either by bathing, taking a shower, or using a cleansing wipe. To win the battle of groin sweat, you have to start out right–and that means starting out clean.
Uncontrolled and excessive groin sweat may be a sign of hyperhidrosis. Generalized hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating all over the entire body. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is sweating in one particular part of the body. If you’re experiencing excessive and profuse sweating only in the pubic area, you might be suffering from primary focal hyperhidrosis. A qualified doctor can make that diagnosis.
The changing hormone levels in women over the age of 45 often cause hot flashes, which can lead to heavy perspiration–even in the crotch region. Night sweats are also commonly associated with menopause.
Anxiety or Stress
If you’re sweating a lot, it may be due to anxiety and stress.
Diabetes can cause glucose levels to swing wildly, which in turn can cause excessive sweating in both men and women.
Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid gland. Other symptoms include weight loss, elevated heart rate, nervousness, and fatigue.
Got Groin Sweat? 10 Ways to Deal with and Stop Crotch Sweat.
Here are the best ways to prevent and control unwanted sweating in your crotch:
1. Wear the Right Clothing
One simple yet effective way to stop sweating and prevent that heat-related groin rash is to wear the right clothing. Synthetic fabrics like rayon and polyester are tightly woven and don’t allow adequate ventilation. While they can wick away moisture, they will retain groin sweat odors. Use caution when choosing clothes made from these fabrics. Some synthetic blends are breathable and are moisture wicking, too.
Clothing made from natural fabrics, like cotton, linen, and wool, are breathing fabrics which allow air to reach the skin. These fabrics (except cotton) also will wick away perspiration, allowing it to evaporate. Cotton, while super absorbent, holds on to moisture longer than other natural materials–and even other synthetic fibers. Silk is also a natural fiber but is not moisture wicking. Silk hangs on to odor, requires special care, and is fragile.
2. Loose is Better Than Tight
Skinny jeans and tight leggings are all the rage. You may love them, but they won’t love you back. Pants that are tight in the crotch area are going to spike the thermometer down there. If you’re wearing skin-tight clothing, fabric will rub against your skin. Friction creates heat. Then heat and friction are going to gang up on you, making you sweat. The sweat will make you feel uncomfortable, and when bacteria are added to the equation, the result can be offensive sweat odor along with the potential for a burning groin sweat rash.
Instead, to minimize heat and moisture, you should opt for loose-fitting pants. Looser pants will provide plenty of room for movement without creating friction. Less friction means less heat, and less heat means less crotch sweat. Loose joggers are great for casual days. For other, less casual situations, choose something comfortable that won’t rub you the wrong way.
3. Sweat-Resistant Underwear
When it comes to underwear, it’s best to choose function over fashion. Sweat-friendly fabrics are especially important when choosing what to wear underneath it all.
Many manufacturers within the athletic apparel industry have developed special fabrics that do a great job of wicking away moisture so it can evaporate. If sweat is allowed to evaporate quickly, bacteria won’t be able to breed and multiply.
These new, space-age fabrics are capable of not only of moisture-wicking, but they can even help regulate temperature, neutralize odor, and fight bacteria. Bamboo underwear, for example, is rapidly growing in popularity. Underwear made from bamboo is soft and moisture-wicking. Additionally, it can help regulate temperature and kill bacteria. Sweat-proof underwear that will help prevent groin sweat is available for both men and women.
4. Change Your Clothes
It may be obvious, but another simple way to control the problem of sweat glands on the rampage is to change your clothing after experiencing a crotch-sweating episode. This is more easily done when at home or after a workout at the gym, but what about other situations? Yes, it could get awkward and may not be an option at times.
You’ll want to do this for a couple of reasons:
First, yeast is a fungus that loves moist, warm climates, like the one between your legs. Spending too much time in sweaty underwear can lead to an opportunistic yeast infection that includes vaginal itching and burning. Unfortunately, yeast infections can be difficult to treat.
Second, if you continue to function in sweat-soaked underwear, you’re going to feel terribly uncomfortable. And when the unpleasant odor becomes noticeable to you and others, you’ll wish you had a spare pair of underwear in your purse or bag.
5. Hygienic Trimming
Ever wonder why we have so much pubic hair? It’s bad enough that we have so many sweat glands in the crotch area. Pubic hair does have a purpose and function: It can act as a friction reducer from our clothing and also works to wick away groin sweat.
But hair traps bacteria on your skin. In genital areas, that can be both good and bad. The good kind of vaginal bacteria helps to prevent yeast from overgrowing. But when groin sweat mixes with bacteria, oil, and pubic hair, there will be unwanted and unpleasant smells.
If you have excessive sweating in the vaginal area, you can reduce the chances of problems with an occasional trim. Be careful, though! You don’t want to nick or cut the skin while trimming. Specialized electric trimmers are available for this task. Also, grooming scissors for pets which have rounded tips can do the job, too.
6. Powders and Creams
Starting your day by dabbing on a moisture-absorbing powder may be the solution for you. If so, you’ll be able to make it through the day without accumulating problematic amounts of groin sweat–along with the accompanying smell and discomfort.
When it comes to powders, there are three popular choices: baby powder, talcum powder or a starch-based powder like corn starch. Many doctors recommend talcum powder, as it tends to be more effective than corn starch products against crotch-area sweat. Powders enriched with antifungal agents are also available. If using baby powder, be careful not to apply inside the vagina. Researchers have uncovered a potential association between baby powder and ovarian cancer if baby powder gets into the body.
Absorbent powders and body powder lotions can also be a good way to reduce “swamp crotch.” Chafing, sticking, and a vinegar-like odor often plagues men with excessive groin sweating. There are dozens of products specifically formulated to control sweating in the nether region and help prevent a rash from groin sweat.
Creams for application in the groin area are intended to treat irritation and rash that result from groin sweat. Jock itch (tinea cruris, aka crotch rot) is a fungal infection that primarily afflicts men, though women can get it, too. Jock itch causes a rash, pain, and itching in and on the groin folds. It’s easily treated with antifungal creams and it can even clear up on its own if the crotch area is kept clean and dry.
Antiperspirants are not the same as deodorants. Deodorants are fragrance products that mask or neutralize body odor. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, stop sweat before it gets to the surface of the skin.
All antiperspirants contain an aluminum salt compound–usually aluminum chloride. When aluminum chloride comes into contact with moisture (your groin sweat), it forms a gel-like plug that blocks sweat glands from secreting sweat. It’s been used for this purpose for nearly 90 years. The plugs are temporary and will dissipate over time, requiring reapplication to extend perspiration protection.
Should you use a deodorant or an antiperspirant in your groin area? The answer is yes–but be careful.
The skin on your private parts is more sensitive than your armpits or other areas that are subject to a lot of sweating. You don’t want to use a product down there that may irritate your skin and lead to even more serious problems.
A deodorant may help with groin sweat odor, but it won’t do anything to prevent moisture, bacteria growth and possible crotch rash. A deodorant can only partially help solve your groin sweat problems.
Many dermatologists and the International Hyperhidrosis society suggest using an antiperspirant to stop groin sweat, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with primary focal hyperhidrosis.
According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society:
“Antiperspirants are considered the first line of treatment for excessive sweating and can be used nearly anywhere on the body where sweating is a problem. That’s right, antiperspirants are not just for your underarms – you can use them on your hands, feet, face, back, chest, and even groin.”
Check with your doctor if you have concerns about using an antiperspirant in and around your groin–or if you experience irritation, swelling or pain when using an antiperspirant to stop crotch sweat.
8. Body Wipes
A quick, easy and convenient way to temporarily deal with groin sweat is to use body wipes. They are available in single-use packages or in travel versions that can be carried in your purse or pocket.
Flushable (bathroom) wipes are great for this. Most are formulated with vitamin E and aloe, are pH balanced, and they are gentle on the skin. Don’t use wipes with alcohol or antibacterial wipes, as they can kill good vaginal bacteria.
And guys, there are even wipes specially formulated for you and your anatomical differences. Whether its male groin sweat or female groin sweat, there’s a body wipe for you that can help you deal with groin sweat and feel fresh.
9. Botox Injections
Botox injections have been FDA approved for the treatment of excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary sweating) and have become a widely-accepted practice. An increasing number of doctors–particularly dermatologists–are now using Botox to treat profuse sweating of the feet, face, and head.
Today, dermatologists are taking the lead, using Botox to treat other localized areas–including the groin, under the breasts, and on the chest and back. While considered “off label” or “not as intended,” Botox injections in the groin have been successful for many patients.
Botox works by interrupting the signals that your nervous system sends to activate your sweat glands. The beneficial effect usually lasts 3-6 months and must eventually be repeated. When done correctly, there is no negative effect on sexual function.
10. Last Resorts
If your problems with groin sweat are so severe that none of these remedies and treatments are effective, there are other approaches you might want to consider.
These drugs are usually taken orally (by mouth). Anticholinergics act by preventing the nervous system from communicating with sweat glands, which stops the sweat glands from activating. Potentially serious side effects can be experienced with these drugs, and they must be prescribed by a qualified physician.
Sweat Gland Removal
As a last and final treatment, doctors can surgically remove sweat glands. This procedure is not reversible and can cause compensatory sweating in other parts of the body.
All Your Sweaty Groin Questions Answered
Groin sweating can be head scratching. Why it’s happening, how it’s happening and what can you do fix it? For your convenience we’ve organized a list of additional groin faqs to help you get to the bottom of your sweat down under.
When should I see a doctor about my groin sweating?
If lifestyle changes, good personal hygiene, and other non-prescriptive treatments aren’t working for you, consult with your doctor.
Can I put deodorant between my legs?
You can, but it won’t do anything more than mask bad groin sweat odor. Ladies, be sure to avoid getting any inside the vagina.
Can I use an antiperspirant on my groin?
According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society and a growing number of dermatologists, the answer is yes. Remember that your skin in the groin area is more sensitive than other areas. Discontinue if you experience discomfort, redness, or swelling. For women: Be careful not to put any inside the vagina. There are no sweat glands there, anyway.
Can excessive sweating be cured?
If excessive sweating is due to an unrelated disorder or disease (generalized hyperhidrosis), successfully treating that condition usually stops the sweating. Otherwise, excessive sweating can only be successfully managed and treated.
Why does my groin sweat smell so bad?
Sweat in the groin area is different than the sweat we experience elsewhere on the body because groin sweat is secreted by apocrine sweat glands. Groin sweat contains fatty acids and proteins which feed bacteria. As the bacteria break down the nutrients in groin sweat, foul-smelling acids are left behind. Additionally, pubic hair traps heat and sweat, creating the perfect breeding environment for bacteria and more bad smells.
Why does my groin sweat at night?
If you’re experiencing night sweats in the groin area, it could be primary focal hyperhidrosis. Other causes could be diabetes or low blood sugar. Women may be having night sweats due to changing hormone levels brought on by menopause.
Dealing with Groin Sweat
Everyone can experience groin sweat. Often, excessive sweating in the crotch area causes an embarrassing, unsightly appearance and offensive odor. Preventative treatments and remedies range from inexpensive and non-invasive to expensive medical procedures. It’s best to start with simple remedies, then work your way down the list until you find a solution that works for you.
If you’re sweating excessively in the groin region, it may be due to any one of a number of causes. Fortunately for all of us, there are ways to curtail, manage and even eliminate crotch sweating and the accompanying and physical and social implications. One or more of these treatments will likely work for you, and your problems with groin sweat will dry up and disappear.
Men: We’ve been there. It’s 100-degrees, humidity is at 80% and sweat is dripping everywhere. There are no napkins, no towels and absolutely no instant dryers in sight to wick the ooze away. So when it’s muggy, it’s only natural for things to get swampy in the southern regions.
We’ve heard of swamp ass, but what about the funky junk syndrome? One in which the sack becomes so steamed that they let out a putrid-scented musk. With it comes unavoidable circumstances in which certain curious stenches arise.
“It’s natural for this to happen to most men around summer months,” says Dr. Jeffrey Benadio, a board certified dermatologist based out of San Diego. “Two main things that grow in that area is bacteria and yeast. Bacteria grows on the skin and that creates an odor — the same found under arms. The bacteria breaks down oils and then creates a rancid smell.”
It happens frequently to guys like Carl Dulay, 30, a fund accountant supervisor from North Carolina. Dulay is an avid Crossfit enthusiast, an activity in which he claims is where the stinky crotch is made even more obvious.
“ sweat a lot really easily everywhere else, so you can imagine the sweat downstairs,” he says. “Definitely also notice the smell a lot more post workouts when I’m taking off my underwear. That initial whiff is like a slap in the face.”
Nicholas Chung from Brooklyn can relate.
“My experience with other dudes’ hygiene issues are limited to the gym, but yes, it’s a tragedy,” says Chung, 28, a city program coordinator. “Sure, my research methods consists entirely of all the times I’ve been on the bench and a bro passes by all casual like he doesn’t think I’d notice that he has a dead animal stuck between his cheeks, but I’m fairly confident that dudes my age can benefit from reassessing their hygiene habits.”
Image: Bob Al-Greene
Benadio suggests that men become more conscious in their grooming habits.
“Most men aren’t educated with deodorizing the nether regions or keeping it super dry,” says Benadio.
The doctor suggests that men should use antiperspirants along the scrotum on the daily as they would for their underarms.
“I wouldn’t avoid looking for ingredients that are bad down there, instead, look for any deodorants that say ‘antiperspirants,” he says. “Aluminum salt is very effective in preventing moisture and makes the sweat glands shrink, reducing water on the skin.”
One thing that Benadio strongly warns against is using both bleach and alcohol (yes, there are some men who believe those two agents will kill bacteria).
“I’ve had many patients who are so desperate to clean that area that they use bleach and alcohol, which is the worst thing you can do to that area — and dangerous,” he says.
“You don’t want to kill the bacteria but make the environment inhospitable for it, so the biggest thing is to keep that area dry.”
Benadio suggests keeping the area super dry and to cleanse the area thoroughly by taking a shower every day. To get rid of extra moisture after a morning shower, Benadio says to take a blow dryer on a cool setting, and dry any water that your towel may have missed.
“It seems crazy, but it’s what is essential to keeping it dry and for the stench to stop,” he says.
To keep it extra dry, you can use a talc powder like Gold Bond, and or any antiperspirant you’d use for your underarms.
There are plenty of options to defunk the junk these days, many that are catered to this very problem. After washing, drying and thoroughly cleansing, use these products to ensure the bacteria is contained. From powders to creams that cater to deodorizing your schweaty balls, here are a few that we’d recommend.
Fresh Balls by Fresh Body, $11.99
The cream has a fresh scent and has a slight tingle when placed on the testicles. It’s cool, it’s refreshing, it’s strange. While it does keep your nuggets from sweating, it leaves a white residue on your fingers and on your skin after it dries. It’s best to remove if you’re planning on doing any extracurricular activities later.
Dry Goods Athletic Spray Powder, $13.99
The spray-on powder leaves the scrotum tingly, dry and minty fresh from the menthol formula. Works well especially when working out. Keep in your gym bag or close by when you’re performing at a strenuous level.
Matte for Men Manpowder, $22
A more sophisticated and, er, masculine version of baby power, this “man powder” does a good job at soaking up extra sweat and leaves skin silky smooth. It can get messy so best to apply in the bathroom at your own convenience.
Jack Black Dry Down, $20
When applied, the Jack Down powder leaves your boys feeling super fresh. You’ll be so excited you’ll shout “amaze balls” at some part of the day.
Comfy Boys, $14.98
Probably one of the more friendly fragrances of the bunch, Comfy Boys is stellar at protecting your scrotum from both odor and sweat. Like the Fresh Balls mentioned above, it does leave a white residue, so watch out for it getting on your hands — or underwear.
DZ Nuts, $24
With a name like DZ Nuts, how can you go wrong? Initially created Dave Zabriskie, a cyclist, it remedies chafing as well as eliminating any bacteria. Use and abuse and repeat.