Why Does My Crotch Smell Like An Armpit?

Like it or not, your crotch has its own scent. Usually it’s sweet and indicates healthy bacteria, but sometimes a stronger smell can arise.

Many things can affect the scent down there, including diet and hygiene. Yeast infections, getting your period, and sex can all cause a change in odor.

Sweat glands

Sweating is a natural part of the body’s cooling process, but sweat glands in the armpits and groin can also trigger odor. This happens because eccrine glands in the vulva and crotch produce a watery sweat, but those in the armpits and groin release a thicker fluid that, when mixed with bacteria, has a strong odor. This odor is usually harmless and goes away with exercise or stress.

Healthy vaginas are home to a variety of beneficial bacteria, and some of these create scents that are reminiscent of tangy vinegar, pickles, sauerkraut, or a mild molasses flavor. These are normal and reflect the healthy flora in the vulva.

On the other hand, if your crotch smells like rotten eggs and you have yellow or brown vaginal discharge with chunks of cottage cheese in it, this is a sign of a yeast infection. These are common and treatable with antibiotics.

The best way to reduce the odor is to wash the area daily with warm water and nondrying soap. Avoid using deodorants and douches in the vulva, as they can cause irritation. If the odor persists, it’s a good idea to see your health care provider, especially if you experience other symptoms, such as itching or pain. They can test you for bacterial vaginosis, trichomonas, or other infections that may require treatment with medication.

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Bacteria

Everyone has their own distinct body odor, which can vary throughout the day depending on activity. The groin skin and vagina contain healthy bacteria that are a part of the body’s microbiome, and sweat glands that are able to produce an odor that can be similar to BO or a sweaty gym smell. The odor in the groin area can change during a woman’s menstrual cycle, when pregnant, or after having sex.

Slightly tangy or fermented aromas, like those of some vegetables and fruit, are normal in the vulva and groin area because they help maintain balanced pH levels in these areas. A coppery or metallic smell is also common during a period because blood from the uterus contains iron and can emit a strong metallic smell. A metallic smell can also result from light bleeding after sex or contact with semen that alters the pH balance in the vulva.

However, if the normal odor suddenly changes or becomes stronger or is accompanied by other symptoms, it could be an indication of an infection or other medical issue. A fishy odor may be a sign of bacterial vaginosis (BV). If leaking urine is present, a gynecologist should be consulted to evaluate the cause of the problem and develop an appropriate treatment plan. This can include behavior therapies, dietary modifications, pelvic floor exercises and medications.

Fungus

The groin and outer vulva area contains sweat glands called the apocrine glands, which produce a milky fluid that can smell like body odor or a bad gym locker room. The groin is also warm and moist, a perfect breeding ground for fungus. Fungus can cause itching, little bumps and the foul odor you’re probably thinking of when you compare your crotch to an armpit.

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Fungus can cause yeast infections that lead to a fishy, musty or even skunk-like smell in the vagina and vulva. This is a condition known as bacterial vaginosis or trichomonas, and anti-fungal medication usually helps get rid of it.

Other causes of a foul odor in the vulva and groin include a forgotten tampon (this should never be retrieved with tweezers), excessive sweating from menstruation, or an infection that can lead to a coppery or metallic smell. These are best checked out by a health care provider.

Cleansing the vulva area regularly, wearing cotton panties most of the time and using natural menstrual products such as pads or menstrual cups can help cut down on these odors. Regular washing with warm water and unscented soap is recommended, but it’s important to never put soap inside the vagina. You can also use products such as talcum powder or deodorant, just make sure they’re safe to use on the vulva.

Blood

A strong odor like rotten meat is often caused by a forgotten tampon, which can cause infection. If you notice this smell, contact your gyno as soon as possible to avoid complications. A metallic smell that resembles copper coins can also occur, and is usually caused by iron in the blood. This can happen during menstruation or after sex.

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Another common smell is tangy or yeasty, and is usually caused by the good bacteria in your vagina. The odor is most likely to be a concern if it’s not present during your period, or if it changes to something other than the typical flavor. This could be a sign of an infection, such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) or trichomoniasis.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s vulva is different. The odor will vary depending on the time of day, weather, and even what you eat. It’s also normal for the odor to change during your menstrual cycle, after exercise, or while you have sex. However, if you notice an out-of-the-ordinary smell that persists, it’s always best to consult with your gyno. If the odor is accompanied by other symptoms, such as burning during peeing or after sex, it’s definitely time to visit your doctor. They’ll be able to diagnose the issue and prescribe you the right treatment. A fishy smell is another indication that you may have BV, which is a bacteria-caused infection that’s a leading cause of vaginal itching and discharge.

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