What It Really Means When Your Body Odor Changes

We all have body odor. And like our personalities, our stench is unique to us. So it's understandable to be concerned if you notice or someone tells you that you suddenly smell different. Sure, we all notice an extra pungent smell after a heavy workout, or if we forget to brush our teeth on a particularly stressful morning. But what happens if there is a chance that can't be explained?

If you're so used to how your sweat smells after a workout that you barely notice a stench on your soaking gym clothes, then you might start to wonder why you suddenly smell a little off after an afternoon of back to back stressful meetings at work. As it turns out, we have two different types of sweat glands, claims Bustle —the eccrine and the apocrine glands. The eccrine glands excrete the sweat you are used to wiping off in your weekly spin class, while apocrine sweat is what is produced if you are feeling frustrated or stressed. So two glands, two different scents. Healthline also shares a variety of reasons the body could be giving off a new odor that stress can't be blamed for.

Make a mental list of the foods you've recently eaten

Sudden changes are usually a reaction to your environment, hormonal fluctuations, certain medications, or from the foods that you eat. Berkeley Wellness lists certain foods like broccoli and cauliflower as being a reason for a sudden new odor. Why? Both vegetables contain sulfur compounds that can be excreted through the skin affecting our natural odor. And other foods, like onions, garlic, red meat, and alcohol, may affect our stench, too. 

You'll likely notice the change of odor coming from your armpits, genitals, feet, mouth and throat, notes Healthline. And sometimes the sudden change in body odor might stay for a lot longer after your next shower. Christopher Dietz, D.O., Area Medical Director of MedExpress explains to Bustle how a sudden change in our odor could signal an underlying health condition. "Some metabolic disorders, like diabetes, can certainly affect how a person smells," he says. "For example, people with diabetes have trouble breaking down glucose in the body, so you may notice that diabetics' breath often smells sweet because of a build-up of glucose." So as long as you notice your body odor returning to normal after a few days, there shouldn't be cause for concern. If the new smell persists, then consider making an appointment with your doctor to make sure it's not stemming from an unknown condition.