Why do my armpits smell like onions? (2023)

Everyone wants to smell clean and fresh, but sometimes body odor can sneak up on them. Have you ever turned around and sniffed and smelled onions? The unpleasant odor is undesirable, but it is also not uncommon. Many people struggle with body odor.

There are many possible causes of a sudden change in your sense of smell. It can be anything from your environment to the food you eat. A health condition may even be at the root of your body odor emanating from your armpits, genital area, and feet.

Fortunately, you don't have to live with smelly armpits. We'll go over why your armpits smell like onions and what you can do about it.

What causes body odor?

The body odor you smell is a combination of sweat and bacteria from your skin. Everyone has bacteria on their skin that breaks down when it comes in contact with sweat. When this happens, the smell can be sour, sweet, sour, or like onions.

Your sweat doesn't actually have an odor, so it doesn't matter how much you sweat. Some people may sweat profusely but don't smell like B.O. Sweat is produced by two types of sweat glands in your body: eccrine and apocrine.

eccrine glands

Your eccrine glands are responsible for the sweat you see on the surface of your skin. They cover most of your body and help regulate your body temperature. When you start to overheat, the glands produce eccrine sweat to cool you down. As sweat evaporates from the skin, it has a cooling effect that can bring body temperature back down. It's like a built-in air conditioner.

druses apocrinas

you also havedruses apocrinasopening into hair follicles. They are located on the scalp, armpits and groin area. They are usually larger glands that produce more sweat than eccrine glands.

(Video) why do my armpits smell like onions even with deodorant

These glands do not produce sweat until puberty. The smell of sweat from these glands comes from contact with bacteria that live on the skin.

Reasons for aChange in body odor

If you're not going through puberty, there are other reasons you might experience a sudden change in body odor.


A change in diet can lead to a change in body odor. For example, asparagus can change the smell of urine. Foods like onions, cumin, garlic, and broccoli can also cause body odor. Once your body metabolizes the food, the odor will go away.

One study found that men whohealthy nutritionof fruits and vegetables had better body odor. People who ate more carbohydrates reported a less pleasant smell.

To emphasize

You may sweat more when you have high levels of stress and anxiety. Stress can cause many problems by releasing more hormones. The main stress hormones are cortisol and adrenaline, which can increase sweating. The extra sweat combined with bacteria already on your skin creates body odor.


Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the human body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use it properly. It leads to problems like high blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which can alter body odor. In this case, you should immediately consult a doctor.

menopause and menstruation

According to research, when a woman is menstruating withhigh fertilitymore attractive because their smell changes. Other hormonal changes can affect body odor. For example, a woman going through menopause may experience changes in body odor.

(Video) Sweat Smells Like Vinegar or Onions

skin infections

If you develop a skin infection or have a pre-existing condition, you may notice bad body odor. Certain skin infections smell more than others. For example, a bacterial infection in the hair follicles of the armpits will cause a sudden odor. Other types of bacterial infections also cause bad odor.


Your body odor may be caused by the medications you are taking. Certain medications and supplements can cause excessive sweating, which leads to a bad odor. You should be able to read a list of the medication's side effects, but remember that not everyone will have the same experiences.

How to prevent armpits from smelling like onions

Since there are many causes, there are many solutions to get rid of onion smell.

1. Clean your armpits

The easiest way is to shower regularly. Look for a product that can cleanse, exfoliate, and condition your skin, such as Spongelébody tampon. Massage the tampon into your underarms for at least 10 seconds. Helps eliminate bacteria that cause onion odor.

Spongellé offers dual-performance body sponges and invigorating scrubs. Tampons are made with a self-preserving formula that prevents bacterial growth and resists contamination. You don't have to worry about the spread of bacteria like you would with other cleaning tools.

2. Secalos well

Be sure to dry your underarms completely after you shower. You can even use a hair dryer to dry your armpits. Use the heat setting of the blow dryer and stop when you notice redness.

Since bacteria thrive in moist environments, drying your armpits can help prevent some of this growth. Less bacteria equals less onion odor! You can also use the blow dryer on other areas that can trap moisture, such as under the breasts or between skin folds.

(Video) 😩 MY TOP 5 TIPS ON HOW TO GET RID OF UNDERARM ODOR INSTANTLY!!!! 💨💪🏾👏🏾🤜🏾🤛🏼💯 😃 | Fumi Desalu-Vold

3. Use antiperspirant

If you like to wear sweaters, try a prescription antiperspirant. It's not the same as deodorant because it temporarily clogs your sweat glands. You can buy deodorant and antiperspirant in one over-the-counter product, but it's not strong enough for everyone.

4. Try Botox

You can also try Botox injections to reduce underarm sweating. It is a safe and effective solution to prevent excessive sweating, but the effects are not permanent. You need to get it every few months to get the results. Insurance may cover Botox, so check the requirements.

When is body odor a concern?

A little sweat and bacteria are nothing to worry about. Sometimes, however, body odor can trigger a red flag. You may need to speak to a doctor if you experience any of the following.

  • When you sweat so much, it soaks your clothes, even if you're not physically active.
  • Sweaty palms that make daily activities difficult, such as B. turning a doorknob
  • Wake up drenched in sweat
  • Skin infections in areas where you sweat
  • A fruity aroma that may indicate that you have diabetes.
  • Sudden changes in body odor and/or increased sweating

Treating the root of the problem can help eliminate body odor. There are also prescription medications that can prevent sweating. However, sweating is a natural way for your body to cool down, and preventing this process can be harmful. Doctors can also prescribe oneAntibioticwhich can help reduce bacteria on the skin.

Eliminate the smell of your clothes

If the odor from your armpits smells like onions, the stench is likely transferring to your clothing. Even after washing clothes, the smell can remain. You don't have to throw out all your stinky clothes. There are ways to get rid of the smell.

Try adding a cup of vinegar to your clothes the next time you wash them. If you don't have vinegar, you can use a cup of baking soda or baking soda to get rid of the onion smell. You shouldn't use both, as vinegar and baking soda cancel each other out.

You can even try soaking clothes in vinegar or baking soda before washing. Put your clothes in a large container with two gallons of warm water and a cup or two of vinegar or baking soda. Let them soak for an hour or two before washing them.


You can turn the clothes inside out before soaking to make it easier to remove the odor. Your clothes will also fade more slowly when turned inside out. Do not put your clothes in the dryer until the odor has completely disappeared. High temperatures can burn the smell, making it difficult to come out.

Products to help you smell amazing

The products you use can help you get rid of that onion smell, while others can make it worse. Antibacterial soaps seem to be the way to go, but beware, they kill both good and bad bacteria on the skin. If you don't have enough good bacteria, the bad bacteria will multiply and can make the problem worse.

Try some of these products instead:

  • Bulgarian Rose Wildflower Bath Sponge: ThisspongeIt will help eliminate bad odors leaving you fresh and clean.
  • Beach Grass Body Lotion: This luxuriousBody lotiondeeply hydrates with an invigorating fragrance that includes green and spicy notes.
  • Morning Bloom Reserva Privada Petite Eau de Toilette: DiesFragranceIt's the perfect product to spray on the body to get that floral citrus scent all over your body.

Last Takeaway Meals

Lots of people struggle with body odor, but you don't have to live with that onion smell. There are several ways to get rid of odor-causing bacteria on your skin. You can bathe regularly with Spongellé products to keep your skin smelling nice.


Apocrine Gland Definition - NCI Dictionary of Cancer | NIH

Diet quality and the attractiveness of male body odor | science straight

(Video) What causes body odor? - Mel Rosenberg

Original Article Women's Ratings of Other Women's Natural Body Odor Depend on the Fertility Status of the Target | science straight

Treatment and management of bromhidrosis: approach considerations, medical care, surgical care | medscape


How do I stop my armpits from smelling like onions? ›

The best way to prevent smelly armpits is to wash daily and after sweating. Using antiperspirant or deodorant and shaving the armpits can also help. Avoiding alcohol and certain foods, such as onions and garlic, will also help prevent smelly armpits in some cases.

What does it mean when your armpit sweat smells like onions? ›

When the bacteria break down the sweat they form products called thioalcohols, which have scents comparable to sulfur, onions or meat. "They're very very pungent," says Bawdon.

What disease makes you smell like onions? ›

Trimethylaminuria is a disorder in which the body is unable to break down trimethylamine, a chemical compound that has a pungent odor.

What does it mean when you smell like onions? ›

A dry mouth allows bacteria to thrive. Bacteria that live in the mouth can make compounds that have sulfur. These compounds are especially stinky. They can smell like rotten eggs or onion, for example.

How do you detox your armpits? ›

How to Detox Your Armpits
  1. Drink Plenty of Water: Water helps your body remove everyday toxins in an efficient, natural way. ...
  2. Mind What You Eat: Believe it or not, certain foods can change the way that your body odor smells. ...
  3. Dry Off Carefully After a Shower: Think back to high school science.
Aug 16, 2022

Why do my armpits stink even after a shower? ›

Smelly armpits occur when bacteria break down the otherwise odorless sweat on your skin. Some people sweat more than others and have a condition called hyperhidrosis. This excess sweating can lead to body odor.

Does stress sweat smell like onions? ›

Shiseido experiment finds humans produce 'stress smell' similar to onions. Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. has found that human bodies produce a distinctive odor that is similar to that of an onion or a long onion when they come under stress.

Why have my armpits suddenly started smelling? ›

Changes to body odor may be due to puberty, excessive sweating, or poor hygiene. Sudden changes are typically caused by the environment, medications, or foods that you eat. However, body odor, especially sudden and persistent changes to your normal odor, can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition.

Why do my armpits still smell after deodorant? ›

Research has found that the salts in antiperspirants can cause an imbalance of bacteria. The aluminum compounds kill off the less smelly bacteria, giving the smellier bacteria more opportunity to thrive, causing more body odour.

How do I know if I have Trimethylaminuria? ›

Trimethylaminuria symptoms can be present from birth, but they may not start until later in life, often around puberty. The only symptom is an unpleasant smell, typically of rotting fish – although it can be described as smelling like other things – that can affect the: breath. sweat.

Can hormone imbalance cause body odor? ›

Hormone imbalances and body odor often go together. Dips in estrogen can trigger hot flashes and night sweats, meaning you simply sweat more, which in turn can result in more odor. This is also a time of life filled with high levels of anxiety or stress, which can make you sweat, too.

Why does female body odor smell like onions? ›

Food. As you might expect, eating a lot of onion or garlic can cause your vaginal discharge and urine to take on a strong onion or garlic scent. Asparagus can also cause your urine to take on a strong scent, which could be mistaken for vaginal odor.

What does diabetes body odor smell like? ›


Credit a complication of diabetes called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which occurs when your body runs low on insulin and your blood sugar spikes, says Robert Gabbay, M.D., Ph.

How do you reset armpit bacteria? ›

Shower More Frequently. Infrequent showering can cause bacteria to build up on your skin. Shower at least once a day (or every morning and night) and scrub your extra-sweaty areas with a scent-free, antibacterial bath soap. Stay away from strongly scented soaps, which can make your armpits smell worse.

Does rubbing alcohol clean armpits? ›

Deodorize your armpits

Rubbing alcohol can get rid of the bacteria that leads to armpit stink. Wipe or spritz the lower or middle concentration alcohol onto clean pits to stop the odor-causing germs in their tracks (but you probably don't want to do it right after shaving — it can sting).

Can apple cider vinegar help with armpit odor? ›

Apply some apple cider vinegar

"Apple cider vinegar is a great natural underarm deodorant," says Georgianna Donadio, PhD. She suggests applying it directly to your armpits to kill body odor.

What is the home remedy for smelly armpits? ›

Baking Soda

You can take a small amount of baking soda and mix a little bit of water to form a semi-solid paste. Apply this paste to your armpits and allow it to dry. After it dries, wash it off. This might prove to be a good remedy for smelly armpits.

Does shaving armpits reduce smell? ›

Less body odor

When you remove hair under the armpits, it reduces trapped odor. A 2016 study involving men found that removing armpit hair by shaving significantly reduced axillary odor for the following 24 hours.

Should you wash your armpits with soap? ›

Cleaning your armpit with soap and water daily will kill the bacteria and prevent its growth. It will reduce the risk of skin problems and make your smell good.

Is it normal for Bo to smell like onions? ›

Sweat itself doesn't smell, but when the bacteria on your skin mix with your sweat, it causes an odor. Body odor can smell sweet, sour, tangy or like onions. The amount you sweat doesn't necessarily impact your body odor.

What does anxiety sweat smell like? ›

But your apocrine glands, usually only found in your armpit area, are activated when you're under psychological stress, explains Preti. This sweat produces a strong, sometimes even sulfurous odor when you're anxious or scared.

Can liver problems cause body odor? ›

Certain health conditions.

Some metabolic diseases can cause a distinctive body odor, particularly in their later stages. These include diabetes, as well as advanced kidney and liver disease.

What foods cause smelly armpits? ›

5 Ways Your Diet Can Cause Bad Body Odor
  • Alcohol. Happy hour might have some not-so-pleasant effects on your post-bar smell. ...
  • Cruciferous veggies. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, and the rest of the cruciferous vegetable family can be odor offenders on two fronts. ...
  • Red meat. ...
  • Spicy foods. ...
  • Asparagus.
May 9, 2018

Does stress cause smelly armpits? ›

Your underarms secrete approximately 30 times more sweat when you're under stress than when at rest. Sweat from your apocrine glands tends to be thicker and richer in proteins and lipids. The fats and nutrients in this type of sweat combine with the bacteria that live on your skin, resulting in body odor.

Does underarm odor get worse as you age? ›

The bottom line

Body odor naturally changes as you age. For older people, this change in smell is likely due to an increase in levels of a compound called 2-nonenal. No matter the cause, there's no reason to run from these changes.

Why isn't deodorant working for me? ›

Internal factors, like what you're eating, and external factors, like your environment, can impact how well your deodorant works. Increased humidity and altitude affect your “BO” profile, not just how much you sweat but also your microbiome and how it reacts to sweat.

What vitamin deficiency causes body odor? ›

The two B-vitamins that might have some connection to body odor are vitamin B-1 (thiamin) and the B vitamin choline, Jasonides tells Lucy. If taken in mega doses, thiamin is excreted not only in urine, but also through the skin, and this changes body odor.

What age does trimethylaminuria occur? ›

The first symptoms appeared after the age of 16 in all but one adult (at the age of 9 years) and during the first year of life in both children. Both children are suspected of having TMAU by their parents, who had noticed an unpleasant body odor soon after birth.

Which soap is best for body Odour? ›

15 Best Deodorant Soaps for Female Body Odor
  • Tom's of Maine: Deodorant Soap.
  • Mirai: Purifying and Deodorizing Soap Bar.
  • Solpri: Shield Antifungus Soap Bar.
  • Art of Sport: Body Soap Bar.
  • Megababe: Space Bar Underarm Soap.
  • Duradry: Deep Cleansing and Deodorizing Wash.
  • Lume: Warm Vanilla Soap.
  • Hibiclens: Soap and Skin Cleanser.

At what stage do hormones cause increased body odor? ›

During menopause, your hormonal balance shifts. This shift can also lead to stronger body odor. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall relative to your testosterone, while cortisol tends to increase. Higher levels of both testosterone and cortisol have been linked to stronger body odor.

Does pH imbalance cause body odor? ›

If the skin pH is neutral, bacteria grow more readily on the skin, potentially creating BO. Most deodorants are slightly acidic, meaning they have a low pH. If you apply an acidic toner before you apply your deodorant, your skin pH level will be far too low (acidic) for odor-causing bacteria to multiply.

Why does my groin area smell like onions? ›

Natural body odor can have a musty smell similar to onions. Apocrine glands, which are located in the groin (and armpits) release an odorless, oily fluid during times of stress. When this fluid comes in contact with bacteria on your skin, it often results in a musty odor that many people associate with body odor.

What diseases change your smell? ›

A smell disorder can be an early sign of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, or multiple sclerosis. It can also be related to other medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and malnutrition. If you are experiencing a smell disorder, talk with your doctor.

Why has my body odor suddenly changed? ›

Your body odor can change due to hormones, the food you eat, infection, medications or underlying conditions like diabetes. Prescription-strength antiperspirants or medications may help.

Is there a diabetic smell? ›

If your breath smells like acetone -- the same fruity scent as nail polish remover -- it may be a sign of high levels of ketones (acids your liver makes) in your blood. It's a problem mainly of type 1 diabetes but also can happen with type 2 if you get a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

Can certain diseases cause body odor? ›

Internal health issues may result in unpleasant body odors (BO), as well, such as liver and kidney disease and hyperthyroidism, which can lead to excessive sweat and increased BO. Stagg recommends talking with your doctor if you notice a strong smell from your skin.


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