Get a hang of this: If you’re doomed with bad body odor, well it’s not just you. Many women are ill-fated with pits, private parts, even hair that stinks. And the smell tends to worsen during the summertime, when you’re more likely to sweat.
The reason to rejoice is: 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.
Too much 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 all 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
Find the Best Deodorant for Women for Stinky-Armpit Solutions
Do you wash your underarms and use an over-the-counter women’s deodorant? Good — this should keep armpit odor in check. But some women still seem to have a problem with smelly pits, no matter how strictly they adhere to hygiene rules. If you’re one of them, you may be an excessive sweater and need a prescription women’s deodorant or antiperspirant from your doctor, says Dana Simpler, MD, a physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. In extreme-sweat situations, a prescription pill can lower the body’s ability to sweat. Botox treatments under the arms can help, too: It puts a stop to excessive sweating and the resulting body odor.
Are you anti-antiperspirant? Dr. Simpler tells her patients who prefer not to use a deodorant to soak a cosmetic pad with rubbing alcohol and apply it under their arms. (Beware: Doing this right after shaving your armpits will sting!) The alcohol kills the bacteria that lead to body odor. You’ll still sweat, but wearing loose-fitting clothing should keep sweating down, she says.
The Deodorant Fix for Funky Feet
When your feet sweat or get wet, bacteria build up and cause odor, says Kelly Geoghan, a podiatrist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. The best solution? Keep your tootsies as moisture-free as possible. Dry them well after every shower and be sure to wipe in between your toes. If sweat’s your problem, spray your feet with a women’s deodorant or antiperspirant from the deodorant aisle of the drugstore, Dr. Geoghan suggests. An excess of foot sweat can even lead the dry skin between your toes to ball up into another icky foot issue: toe jam.
Avoid wearing socks and heavy shoes outside in the heat if you can help it. If these methods don’t get rid of the stench, says Geoghan, a prescription-strength roll-on made for body odor can probably kick it.
What’s the Most Common Cause of Bad Breath?
The most common cause of stinky breath? Your diet, says David M. Leader, DMD, a dentist and an assistant clinical professor at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. Spices, garlic, and onions are known to make your breath smell for hours after you eat them, Dr. Leader says. Fortunately, you can fix this right up by brushing and flossing.
But if your toothbrush isn’t doing the trick, you could have halitosis, which can be caused by bad dental hygiene (bits of food get stuck between your teeth and gums and begin to emit foul odors). Gum disease, dry mouth, and other dental health problems could also be at the root, so it’s important to talk to your dentist.
How to Prevent Musty Vaginal Odor
For the most part, your vagina shouldn’t have a naturally bad odor — but sweating “down there” can cause a stench (just as it does on other parts of your body). To prevent a sweaty vagina, wash it daily with warm water and a mild, nondrying soap (but skip the soap on the thin tissues of the inner vulva or vaginal opening). And keep the area dry — change your undies as needed if you get sweaty — and opt for fabrics that breathe, like cotton.
If you do have vaginal odor — and it has nothing to do with the fact that you’re perspiration-prone — it could mean harmful bacteria in your vagina has caused bacterial vaginosis. In addition to an unpleasant smell, bacterial infections can also cause discharge, pain, itching, or burning. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor for treatment.
You may be able to avoid some vaginal infections by keeping your blood sugar levels low, Simpler says — at the first sign of a possible infection, cut out sweets, sugar, and soda.
The Antibacterial Cure for Smelly-Hair Syndrome
Most women deal with stinky breath and smelly feet — but what about hair that reeks? According to Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist, “smelly hair syndrome” is a condition that results in a pungent stench from the hair and scalp. What does smelly hair smell like? In a Huffington Post article, Romanowski said people with the condition have “compared the smell to ‘sour milk, wet dog, moldy hay, potatoes, an old shoe or dirty socks, a jacket that’s never been to the dry cleaner, and an oily smell mixed with vomit.’”
Researchers haven’t pinpointed a cause for smelly hair syndrome, but Romanowski recommends treating it with Dial antibacterial liquid body wash and soaps that contain sulfur.
Fight Gas Odor With These Supplements
Beans, bananas, and onions will make anyone gassy — and most people are uniquely sensitive to other foods, too. If you’re a gas-passing offender, one of the best things to do is to take Pepto-Bismol. Gas-reducing supplements like Beano can also help, but be sure to take them while eating the offending food item.
It may sound silly, but you also should be paying attention to your bowel movements. Why? If you’re not moving your bowels regularly, the buildup can lead to excessive gas. To stay regular, be sure you’re getting more fiber and less white flour in your diet and head to the bathroom at your first urge to go, because you may get the signal to move your bowels only once a day, Simpler says.
But if gas is a persistent problem for you, it could be a sign of gallbladder disease (other signs include frequent burping and abdominal pain, especially after eating greasy foods). Check in with your doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms.