Nothing ruins a romantic overture like penis odor wafting from a man’s crotch. The lights are low, the stakes are high, and once the scent of what can only be a smelly penis hits the air, the night is over. When the stench becomes public, it’s embarrassing and off-putting; but even if only the man who owns the penis is smelling it, this can be a serious problem. There are several infections that may be at play that can endanger a man’s health if left untreated. This article contains some information on what can cause penis odor, as well as how to get rid of it.

1) Hygiene issues- The number one cause of penis odor is poor hygiene. Men who neglect to shower daily are more likely to experience a buildup of oil, dirt, and sweat which lead to irritation, infection, and unpleasant odors . Uncircumcised men can experience even greater pain and inflammation if they do not take special care in cleaning the smegma from underneath their foreskin.

2) Smegma - Smegma is a combination of dead skin cells, sebum (oil), and moisture. It appears in the folds of the foreskin and is a common concern for uncircumcised men. It looks like a thick white matter. It's completely normal for this to secrete from the genital area as it aids in lubrication for sex; however, when it builds up, it lets off an unpleasant fishy smell.

3) Yeast infection- It’s not just women who have yeast infections; men can get them, too! Yeast naturally occurs in the body, but when there’s a change in body chemistry or environment, yeast can grow uncontrollably and take over. This can lead to a fishy smell, red skin, and a chunky white discharge. See a doctor for treatment.

4) Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) - A strange penis odor can be a symptom of a UTI. These occur when a part of the urinary tract becomes infected by a bacteria or virus. If a man experiences a burning sensation when urinating, cloudy or pink urine, and a frequent urge to urinate in addition to a smelly penis, he may have a UTI and should see a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis.

5) Balanitis - Balanitis occurs when the head of the penis is inflamed and can be a result of several things including smegma, poor hygiene, psoriasis, unprotected sex or scented body washes. The penis odor also may be accompanied by other symptoms like redness, swelling, fluid buildup, and a burning sensation when urinating.

6) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) - There are several STIs that are associated with a smelly penis. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia both exhibit unpleasant penis odor. Chlamydia presents with other symptoms such as testicle pain and swelling, abnormal discharge, and a burning sensation when urinating. Gonorrhea, however, doesn’t always display secondary symptoms. Both STIs require immediate medical care.

7) Ketonuria - This condition happens when urine contains ketone bodies. This can be as a result of starvation, dieting (specifically the Keto Diet which restricts carbohydrates), or diabetes.

Abolishing Smelly Penis

First and foremost, it’s important to regularly clean the body and penis with warm water and gentle cleanser. Avoid harsh soaps that can cause irritation and inflammation in the genital area. It is also important to practice safe sex to avoid contracting STIs. If the penis odor does not go away with regular cleaning with soap and water, see a doctor for a professional diagnosis.

In addition to regularly cleaning the skin, a specially formulated penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) should be applied. Nutrient cremes created expressly for the penis should contain natural moisturizers, such as Shea butter and vitamin E. Also, look for moisturizers with vitamin A as it is a natural antibacterial agent that attacks unpleasant penis odors caused by bacteria that thrives in the warm, dark genital area.