It’s no surprise that most men deal with penis odor at some point in their lives. After all, the groin is an ideal incubator for not-so-pleasant aromas. It’s hot, dark and humid and trapped beneath layers of clothing. It’s no wonder why some of most common penis concerns relate to odor.

But just because it’s a common problem doesn’t mean you have to live with a smelly penis. While its embarrassing to talk about, most causes of penis odor can be fixed with simple lifestyle changes. Other more severe causes of unpleasant smells can also be reversed with proper identification and prevention.

Quick Fixes

Often, the cause of penis odor can be resolved with minimal lifestyle changes. Here are some of the most common, non-threatening reasons a penis might smell.

Improper hygiene : Like any other part of your body, its essential to thoroughly clean your groin area. Many men often neglect to specifically wash their penis, but it’s an important showering step that can’t be forgotten. For men who are uncircumcised, this is doubly important. Sweat, bacteria and dead skin cells can build up underneath the foreskin, causing a distinct, fishy odor. Uncircumcised men should always be sure to pull back the foreskin completely while showering and wash the area underneath with warm water and a mild soap.

A dysfunctional haircut : An overgrowth of pubic hair isn’t just unsightly, it can be smelly, too. Groin-area hair can often trap dampness, resulting in a less-than-ideal musky scent. Particularly thick hair will also prevent the skin underneath from staying cool and dry. But not to fear; men don’t need to shave themselves bare in order to prevent unpleasant odors. Those with particularly full or thick hair, however, may want to considering trimming themselves to keep odors at bay.

Never Properly Drying : After a shower, men may not thoroughly dry themselves prior to getting dressed, especially during the hot, humid summer months. However, getting dressed with a damp or even slightly moist groin area is an easy way to wind up with a smelly penis. Odor-causing bacteria thrives in damp, dark areas, making a post-shower groin a prime target. This common problem can be resolved merely by ensuring the entire groin area is dry before getting dressed.

More Serious Problems

Sometimes, smells can be an indication that a much more serious problem is at hand. If the above problem don’t apply to you, but you’re still experiencing unpleasant smells, consider these other common culprits.

Yeast Infection : While this is often more thought of as a problem impacting women, men are capable of contracting a yeast infection as well. Caused by a fungus called candida, yeast infections can occur by being in contact with someone else with one or poor hygiene. Symptoms typically include a distinct, fishy smell accompanied by a thick, white cheese-like substance. Men also find that these infections come with a burning or itchy red rash. An antifungal crème is required to rid oneself of a yeast infection.

Urinary Tract Infection : Another common medical problem more often occurring in women, men can be susceptible to urinary tract infections is their hygiene isn’t up to par. This type of infection happens when bacteria, most often e. coli, makes its way into the urethra. The trademark symptoms of a urinary tract infection is a frequent urge to urinate and burning while voiding. A man with this type of infection will also notice that his urine has an unpleasant odor, which can often linger in the groin area. An antibiotic is required to clear up a urinary tract infection.

Prevention is always key

As with many penis ailments, proper hygiene and prevention is the best way to keep unpleasant penis smells at bay. When showers, always be sure to specifically cleanse the entire penis using warm water and a mild soap and after showering, always completely dry the entire groin area. A penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) is a great way to be proactive about penis odor as well. If odor is your main concern, be sure to pick a crème that includes vitamin A, which is known for its ability aid with odor control.