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What Your Body Odor Says About Your Health

One day you take on the world smelling like roses, but the next, despite continuous freshening up, you’re praying that the faint, yet putrid stench following you around isn’t coming from you — is it?

Sometimes you can’t help but fall victim to bad body odor, and it’s not your fault or even a reflection of your personal hygiene — it’s your health. If you can’t quite sniff out the culprit, read on to see if medical intervention might be the cure.


It’s like the foul odor of rotting garbage is seeping from between your legs, and you suspect it’s coming from the place you fear the most — your vagina. There’s no way you can go out in public smelling like this.

But what does it mean?
This admittedly sounds worse than it is. According to NYU Langone Medical Center associate professor Miriam Greene, M.D., women can simply forget a tampon is in. Look for signs such as abnormal pressure or discomfort accompanying the smell. She also points out that a string may not be there, but a little digging can still reveal the culprit.

Once the tampon is removed, Dr. Greene suggests following up with a doctor because antibiotics may be needed to prevent infection.


It’s reminiscent of freshly baked bread, but more yeasty, and it’s definitely not coming from an oven. Instead, you trace this oddity to a source a little farther south and nearer your belt buckle.


Vaginal yeast is often kept in check by a delicate balance of the naturally occurring fungus candida and its bacteria counterpart, lactobacillus. However, a stinky yeast infection can ensue from the most innocent of mistakes. For example, it can result from wearing damp clothing, such as a bathing suit or sweaty gym shorts, for too long.

The best remedy is to try an OTC antifungal for three days. If the stench persists, and especially if it’s paired with discharge, seek a doctor’s help to get a stronger prescription — it might be a bacterial infection.


Joking about “fishy” nether regions can be funny, but it can also be mortifying if it becomes reality. And we’re not talking a fleeting foul smell; we’re talking fully stocked fish market on a warm, busy day.


The odor, according to Natasha Johnson, M.D., is the result of “bad” bacteria outnumbering “good bacteria” (lactobacillus) in the vagina. It’s most noticeable after sex or around menstruation and can be accompanied with discharge, itching and burning.

The condition signifies an increased pH level (from the presence of semen or blood). The most effective treatment is oral antibiotics.


It’s like a little fruit punch powder was added to your toilet bowl to create an unexpectedly sweet bathroom aroma. This may not be the worst smelling situation, but — and it’s a big but — if the phenomenon persists, you’ll want to get a medical opinion.


If you didn’t know better, you’d guess you hadn’t brushed, flossed or bothered to visit the dentist in a year. No gum or mint is a match for this bout of bad breath.

But what does it mean?


Sinusitis is a bacterial or viral infection that causes inflammation in sinus tissues, especially the hollow spaces in the bones that connect with the nose. It causes horrific breath because of the mucus draining slowly down the back of your throat. It can also come paired with neon nasal discharge and ear, tooth or jaw pain — oh joy.

Luckily, sinusitis usually rights itself with time. But consult a physician if you develop a headache, stiff neck and swelling around the eyes or forehead or a change in vision.


Taking your toes out really puts you in a jam because, nine times out of 10, they fill the area with stinky feet stench. So while the kids are out dancing to the “stanky leg,” you’re like, “Hey, that’s not funny anymore.”

But what does it mean?


It sounds a lot worse than it is. Really, it means excessive odor from sweat. In terms of feet, the smell occurs from sweaty feet fostering an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow in your dark, warm shoes. This often leads to itchy, red feet.

The best cure proves to be OTC deodorizing powder and diligence in shoe upkeep. For example, use athlete’s foot spray regularly; don’t wear the same shoe each day; wear cotton socks; and don’t store shoes in dark, dingy closets.

No really, do you stink? Sometimes we are our own biggest critics, but that’s not always a bad thing, especially when it comes to hygiene.

Life Script


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