By CARINA WOLFF
When you get a sniff of your body odor and it’s not pleasant, it’s easy to think something is wrong. But there are plenty of body odors that are normal, and some even indicate that you are perfectly healthy. Although it would be wonderful to smell clean and pristine all the time, sometimes a body odor just means your body is at work, and it doesn’t always indicate that something isn’t going right with you.
“In general, body odors may occur partly due to certain glandular secretions of the body,” Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, physician and health and wellness expert, tells Bustle. “Your odor may or may not relay certain information about your health status, and it is really key to realize that certain odors are totally normal and should not cause sudden alarm or panic. Additionally, one should be aware that certain dietary habits, stress, varying levels of physical activity, and even some underlying medical problems, may indeed contribute to your scent.”
Just because you smell something coming from your body doesn’t necessarily mean you should panic. Here are five body odors that actually just mean you’re healthy, according to experts. Even as unpleasant as they may be, there’s no need to stress.
1. Sweating After Exercise
“Bromhidrosis is the technical word for smelly sweat or body odor (BO),” dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD tells Bustle. “It is a combination of the fatty acids and testosterone precursors produced in apocrine sweat glands with skin bacteria, which produce enzymes that break down the fatty acids to smaller, smelly molecules. Certain fatty acid and bacteria combinations can produce specific odors.” It is completely common to sweat in areas such as the armpits, armpits, genitals, areolae and navel (belly button), all of which have apocrine glands. You can minimize body odor in these places by showering regularly to remove bacteria and dried on sweat from the skin, especially after exercising, says Dr. Shainhouse.
Everyone produces gas, and it’s really no big deal if it happens to have an odor. “Flatulence is caused by gas forming in the large intestine from undigested food,” Dr. Jennifer Caudle, family physician and Associate Professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, tells Bustle. “Bacteria in the intestine consume some of that gas, but the rest is released by passing gas. Most of the gas we put out is odorless. Some, however, will contain odors generated through the digestive process, but this is entirely normal.”
“There is no vagina that exists that is devoid of some degree of a scent,” says Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe. “It is absolutely normal for your vagina to have an element of a mild and subtle smell. Every woman’s scent will be quite unique. What is key to be aware of are sudden foul changes that are different from your baseline scent.” For example, a strong fishy odor may be a sign of an infection such as bacterial vaginosis.
Stinky feet are most common in people who have sweaty feet. It is particularly common in people who don’t wear socks and wear shoes made of synthetic materials that don’t allow the feet to breathe or the fabric to quickly dry out. “Stinky feet are usually just residual smell from stinky shoes,” says Dr. Shainhouse To get rid of this odor, keep your feet and shoes dry. Wear socks when possible, and rotate use of your shoes. “However, if the smell persists, and/or if you see rashes, dry scale on your feet, or if you notice thick, yellow or crumbling toenails, see your dermatologist to check for a fungal infection on your feet and/or nails,” she says.
“Although we all try to extend the life of our blow-outs, by day two, your scalp will begin to [smell] due to a build up of oils and dead skin cells on the scalp skin and around the hair roots,” says Dr. Shainhouse. “Normal yeast on the scalp may contribute, as well.” To get rid of the smell, you can opt to wash just the scalp or the roots, or consider using a clarifying shampoo to remove oil.
Some body odors are completely common and no reason to worry. However, if you notice any changes in your scent, you might want see a doctor.
Learn more at Bustle