What Does Your Body Odor Say About Your Health?

Everyone has an occasional case of body odor which can be embarrassing but also easily cured by a quick shower. However, what do you do if the odor persists or is coming from a more private place? This article covers common body smells, what they mean for your health, and how to prevent them.

Bad Body Odor #1: An Overpowering Foul Odor, Like Rotting Garbage

This could be caused by a forgotten object, such as a tampon, in your vagina. If this is the case, you will notice a pungent smell within 24 to 48 hours caused by vaginal bacteria multiplying.

For treatment, you can try to remove the tampon. Whether or not you remove the tampon yourself, follow up with your doctor, as there is a chance the bacteria grew and caused an

Bad Body Odor #2: A Strong Foul-Smelling or Fishy Odor From Your Vagina

This could be linked to bacterial vaginosis, which develops when “good bacteria (lactobacillus) get outnumbered by “bad,” infection-causing bacteria in the vagina. It is most noticeable after sex, or during or just after your period.

For treatment, your doctor may analyze culture to confirm the diagnosis. If you have bacterial vaginosis, the standard therapy is an oral antibiotic, usually clindamycin or metronidazole.

Bad Body Odor #3: Vaginal Discharge With a Pasty, Yeasty Smell, Like Bread Dough

An overgrowth of the fungus candida could cause this vaginal yeast infection. It occurs naturally in the vagina, but its growth is usually kept in check by acid produced by another naturally occurring bacteria, lactobacillus.

When this balance is disrupted, a yeast infection can occur. To treat it, try an over-the-counter antifungal remedy for three days. If symptoms worsen, see your doctor for a stronger prescription cream or oral antifungal medicine.

Bad Body Odor #4: When You Take Off Your Shoes, Your Feet Smell Terribly

This could be caused by sweat, which creates a moist environment for the growth of fungi and bacteria. These organisms are what cause the odor. For treatment, you can use a deodorizing foot powder or a regular underarm spray antiperspirant to stop the sweat.

You can also spray both shoes and feet with athlete’s foot spray powder or try activated charcoal insoles to combat the smell in your shoes.


Your body odor can indicate health issues that make you uncomfortable and ill. However, you can avoid these problems by maintaining good hygiene and using products as your doctor recommends.