Is It Normal to Smell Myself Through My Pants?

Is It Normal to Smell Myself Through My Pants

Sometimes, our body may surprise us by developing weird symptoms. From pleasant surprises like getting glowing skin to unfriendly ones like discomfort in a body part, there could be anything. 

While experiencing temporary signs is normal as they often subside over time, if the problem persists, it may indicate some underlying issue. One such condition is getting a smell through the pants. 

If you experience a bad smell right before you shower, it’s pretty normal. Usually, such a smell resolves once you take the shower and come out. However, if the smell is so strong that you can smell it through the pants, it could be a matter of concern. 

Let’s find out what the probable reasons for being smelly through the pants are and how to prevent and cure the problem.

Reasons For Smell Through The Pants In Women

Reasons For Smell Through The Pants In Women

Women often complain that they can smell through their pants. The reason behind this groin smell can be blamed on vaginal discharge.  

In order to have a healthy vagina, the body discharges certain fluids from there that help maintain the right pH down there. It keeps most of the infections at bay. However, if some pathogen still makes its way to the urinary tract, the pH balance is disrupted, causing a typical odor.

Below are some of the common reasons behind smelly vaginas-

1. Bacterial Vaginosis 

Often, women of childbearing age get this problem due to the overgrowth of bacteria. Below are its symptoms-

  • Excessive white or gray discharge 
  • Strong odor 
  • Itching and burning sensation 

Bacterial vaginosis requires medications, and doctors usually prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medicines to clear the infection.

2. Trapped Tampon 

Women who use tampons are also prone to getting smelly vaginas. However, it happens only when the tampon turns sideways, or its string goes up to the vagina, making it hard to remove. As tampons stays longer than they should, they cause symptoms such as-

  • Fouls-smelling discharge 
  • Painful urination 
  • Fever and chills 
  • Swollen vagina 

In severe cases, women can get toxic shock syndrome. Therefore, it is essential to know how to use tampons safely. 

3. Trichomoniasis 

It is an STI, a sexually transmitted infection that can affect anyone. The common symptoms of trichomoniasis include the following-

  • Excessive vaginal discharge 
  • Pain during urination 
  • Soreness around the groin 
  • Fishy odor 

Clearing infection by using antifungal medications is the only way to combat the problem.

4. Rectovaginal Fistula

It is a rare condition wherein an abnormal connection is created between the rectum and the vagina. Due to it, the stool leaks into the vagina, causing a fishy odor. Usually, it is caused as a result of trauma during childbirth, leading to fourth-degree vaginal tears. 

Symptoms include the following-

  • Intestinal gas smell from vagina 
  • Abnormal bleeding 
  • Stool passing through the vagina 

Surgical intervention is the only way to treat rectovaginal fistula. 

5. Hormonal Changes 

As a woman’s age progresses to menopause, the vaginal tissues start thinning, which affects vaginal pH. It causes a weird smell through the pants. 

It’s common among aging women and subsides over time. However, if the smell is too strong, topical or oral hormones are given. 

6. Cervical Cancer 

A smelly vagina due to cancer of the cervix is a last-stage symptom. Usually, it is accompanied by the following signs-

  • Pain during sex
  • Unusual bleeding 
  • Unusual vaginal discharge 
  • Foul smell from the vagina 

Reasons For Smell Through The Pants In Men

Reasons for smell through the pants in men

It’s not only the vagina that is susceptible to infections but the penis equally. Below are some of the common reasons why men can smell through their pants.

1. Hyperhidrosis 

It’s a problem that causes excessive sweating. As the testicles rub against the skin, sweating increases as a result of extra sweat, fungus, and bacteria growing, causing foul smells among men. 

Controlling sweat by keeping the area dry and clean is the first step to clearing the smell. Prescription medicines are the last resort that prevents excessive sweating.

2. Smegma 

Often this condition arises in uncircumcised men, which leads to the build-up of dead skin cells, oils, fluids, etc, at the tip of the penis. As a result, men develop a strong odor underneath the foreskin. 

To cure, it becomes essential to remove smegma, the thick white buildup, and clear the area gently with warm water.

3. Balanitis 

When smegma is left untreated, it leads to balanitis, infection, and irritation of the foreskin. The symptoms are-

  • Discharge from penis 
  • Pain and itching 
  • Tight foreskin
  • Painful urination 

Using certain topical creams that can help reduce inflammation of the foreskin can provide some relief. Additionally, using oral antibiotics and antifungal creams helps. 

4. Non-Gonococcal Urethritis

Inflammation of the urethra is non-gonococcal urethritis that can happen due to chlamydia infection, injuries to the urethra, etc. 

As a result of infection, bacteria grow, causing an unpleasant smell. Usually, antibiotics are prescribed to clear the infection.

5. Fournier’s Gangrene

It is a serious infection of the penis, perineum, and scrotum that cause symptoms like-

  • Genital inflammation 
  • Fever 
  • Foul smell 
  • Tissue death 

Antibiotics can help clear the infection, and surgical intervention is required later to remove the dead tissues. Since it’s a life-threatening problem, immediate medical help is necessary. 

Besides these underlying health issues, there are some more reasons why one can smell through the pants. These are-

  1. Poor hygiene: Not bathing regularly builds up sweat, dirt, and discharge in the pants and groin area, leading to a strong smell.
  2. Sweating: Not cleaning the area can cause sweat to build up, which invites various infections.
  3. Poor diet: Foods with a strong smell, like garlic, onion, vinegar, fermented milk products, etc., can also develop a strong smell that you can feel through the pants. 
  4. Sex: Experiencing unusual smells after sexual activity is also common, especially when the other person has some active yeast or some other infection. 
  5. Urinary tract infections: UTIs are a common problem among women wherein bacteria invade the urinary tract and develop symptoms like pain while urinating, fever, nausea, and foul smell.   
  6. Sexually transmitted infections: Different STIs can be transmitted during sex or using unhygienic washrooms, causing unusual discharge and a smelly groin. 

When To Seek Medical Help?

Smelling through the pants often resolves on their own, especially if proper hygiene is maintained. It also rules out the chances of getting any type of infection. However, if the problem persists and, besides a smelly groin, problems like fever or urination come up, it is better to seek medical help. 


I can smell through my pants, and it’s embarrassing. If this is your concern, make sure you maintain good hygiene, change your undies daily, and prevent excess sweat from developing there. 

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