Body odor originates from odorants- elements that carry smells in the body. They are useful in regulating body functions and rarely cause unpleasant smells in small amounts. But when the elements accumulate excessively, they result in smells. For instance, sweat is odorless, but rapid bacterial multiplication and its transformation to acids can cause unwanted smells. This makes individuals who sweat more develop body odor.

‘’Normal” Hormonal changes that cause body odor may result from the usual development, for example, transforming from adolescence to puberty. When the body stimulates hormones and sweat glands, it possibly causes odors. Exercising normally causes sweating, but it may also lead to more sweat and bacteria buildup that make you smell unpleasant.

Eating some foods, such as asparagus, may bring a sudden change in body odor, including a strong urine smell. It only diminishes when the food is fully metabolized unless you consume it every day. Some foods also produce more gas, causing belching that could cause a bad smell, such as asparagus, cabbage, and broccoli.

Health issues causing body odors

Vaginal infections

Vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis is a popular infection in women known for a fishy smell. It has similar symptoms as of a yeast infection. Trichomoniasis may lack symptoms, but the vagina becomes frothy with a color change and bad odor.

Athlete’s foot

It comes from a fungal infection in the foot, which may itch and smell badly.


Diabetes entails insufficient insulin production or ineffective use of what is produced. This results in high blood sugar levels that cause diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketones can accumulate to irritating quantities and get poured into urine and blood. Consequently, one produces a fruity breath.

I recommend consulting a specialist if;

  • Your body odor accompanies other infection symptoms
  • The bad smell does not disappear
  • The odor comes with bleeding and pain
  • You have cancer
  • If you have a poorly managed diabetic condition
Ieva Kubiliute

Ieva Kubiliute is a psychologist and a sex and relationships advisor and a freelance writer. She's also a consultant to several health and wellness brands. While Ieva specialises in covering wellness topics ranging from fitness and nutrition, to mental wellbeing, sex and relationships and health conditions, she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain and joining an £18k-a-year London gym. Someone’s got to do it! When she’s not typing away at her desk—or interviewing experts and case studies, Ieva winds down with yoga, a good movie and great skincare (affordable of course, there’s little she doesn’t know about budget beauty). Things that bring her endless joy: digital detoxes, oat milk lattes and long country walks (and sometimes jogs).

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