Why Does My Penis Smell

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Have you noticed an odour that’s coming from down there? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of men across the world experience this at one point or another, and it’s not the end of the world.

Our bodies are pretty interesting, and they do a lot of cool things. However, they can also do some not-so-cool things. One of those things is the production of smelly scents, which is something that most men experience at some point or another.

The thing is, these smells can be pretty embarrassing and may make you feel uneasy. But don’t worry—there are ways to make sure your penis doesn’t smell.

As part of your daily hygiene regimen, it’s important to keep your penis clean. It’s also critical to keep it dry. When you get out of the shower, dry it off completely and gently apply lotion to help prevent chafing.

If you’re experiencing an odour that is somewhat more serious than usual, like an unpleasant smell or an odour that’s not going away, you may have an infection or another medical condition. In this case, you should see a doctor.

What is Penis Odour?

The penis has a lot of sweat glands, and it is also one of the areas that has the most hair. This combination makes the penis an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Many men are unaware of this and may not wash or clean their penis regularly, which can result in a smelly penis.

When a penis smells bad, it is usually due to a bacterial or fungal infection, sexual dysfunction, or improper hygiene.

Hygiene is important, as poor hygiene can lead to different kinds of infections. It's also critical to know that the more often you sweat, the more often you need to clean your penis.

Should You Worry If Your Penis Smells Bad?

When it comes to your penis, even the smallest change or smell could be a red flag for something serious. The good news is that most of the time, this isn’t the case.

Many men experience a change in penis smell or notice a smell that they don’t normally notice. This is frequently the result of either improper hygiene or an STI.

If you notice an odour, especially one that is stronger than usual, you should pay attention to it. It could be a sign of an infection or an STI, and it’s essential to take care of it as soon as possible.

If your penis smells bad, or you have other symptoms, such as pain, discharge, or itching, you should see a doctor to get checked out.

What Causes Your Penis to Smell?

Your penis usually has a mild smell. When you’re healthy, your penis is free of odour and discharge. When you have an infection or an STI, the smell becomes more noticeable.

There are a number of infections that can cause your penis to smell. Some of these infections are sexually transmitted and others are not. Most of them are treatable.

Should You Be Worried If Your Penis Smells?

A healthy penis can smell like a whole range of things depending on your diet, personal hygiene, and even where you live.

If your penis smells bad, it’s probably a good idea to do some investigating. It certainly depends on what is causing the odour.

Here are some situations where it makes sense to be worried if your penis smells:

  • The smell is accompanied by discharge
  • The smell is foul and gets worse after sex
  • The smell is accompanied by burning
  • The smell is accompanied by itching
  • The smell is accompanied by pain
  • The smell is intolerable and noticeable by others

Penis odour can also be a sign of infection, STIs, and STDs.

If you’re worried that your penis may have a bacterial or fungal infection, it might be a good idea to visit a doctor.

Doctors can diagnose any potential infections and prescribe treatment as needed.

Reasons For A Smelly Penis

1. Smegma Buildup

Smegma is a combination of dead skin cells, waxy secretions, and bacteria on your penis. It is more common in uncircumcised men, as the foreskin can hold in moisture and dead skin cells.

Smegma is harmless and only needs to be cleaned off with lukewarm water. It can be difficult to clean under the foreskin, but this is something you should do daily, otherwise smegma can lead to issues such as phimosis (a too tight foreskin) or balanitis (inflammation of the head of the penis).

Smegma also can lead to a smelly penis if it gets trapped in the foreskin. Though smegma is harmless, it can smell a bit due to the bacteria on it.

Treatment: To solve smegma buildup, you should take a shower and clean the area with lukewarm water. Make sure to clean under the foreskin and wash off any residue from soap.

If this doesn’t help, you might just need to increase the frequency of your showers. If your foreskin is tight, and it’s hard to clean under it, you should consult a doctor to see if you have phimosis.

2. A Yeast Infection

Yeast infections don't just happen in women, men can also get them. They are a common cause for a smelly penis.

Yeast is a fungus that lives in your body naturally, but it can overgrow and cause problems. The most common place for a yeast infection to occur is on the penis, in the pubic area, and in the anal area.

Men can get yeast infections from their partners, or from sharing sex toys. Yeast infections are commonly passed on during oral sex.

Symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Itching, burning, or pain when urinating
  • Irritation or redness of the penis
  • White, thick discharge from the penis
  • Pain or tearing when having sex.

Treatment: See a doctor for a diagnosis. They will prescribe you a cream that you rub on the affected area. You should also wash the affected area and urinate before and after sex to avoid spreading it to your partner.

3. Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections can cause a smelly penis, especially if you have a urinary tract infection in your bladder.

Urinary tract infections can cause a smelly penis due to the chemicals that are released as a result of the infection. Urine also has odours to begin with, so any infection that increases the volume of urine can also make it smell worse.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • Blood in the urine
  • Fever

UTIs can be caused by bacteria, or they can be caused by a fungus. This is why it’s important to see a doctor to make sure you don’t have a more serious infection.

Treatment: Antibiotics can cure a urinary tract infection. If you have a bacterial infection, you should take antibiotics for at least a week. If it’s a fungal infection, you might have to take them for a month. Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements can also help.

4. A Fungal Infection (Jock Itch)

Fungal infections are another possible cause of a smelly penis.

It’s possible for men to get a fungal infection also known as jock itch, which is caused by fungi that live on the skin. It’s more common in men who sweat a lot, as the fungi like moist environments.

Jock itch usually starts as a small rash and can spread to the groin area and inner thighs. The rash and itchiness are the most common symptoms of jock itch, but sometimes it can also cause a smelly penis.

Treatment: To cure jock itch, you should take an antifungal cream or a pill. Some of these creams can be used on the penis and other areas, while other creams are only intended for the groin area. You can also get pills that you take daily to prevent a jock itch outbreak.


Penis odour can be caused by a number of things, whether it’s an infection, a medical condition, or simply some poor hygiene habits. However, it’s important to remember that minor penis odour is completely natural and not a cause for worry. The best way to deal with it is to keep your penis clean and dry and to talk to a doctor if you’re experiencing a stronger odour than usual.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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