Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can a bad smell indicate I have an STD?"

ZocdocAnswersCan a bad smell indicate I have an STD?


I'm a 20 year old guy and have unprotected sex sometimes. I've noticed that my penis and that area have a strange smell all of the time, even right after a shower. Does this mean I have an STD? Why would this area smell while the rest of me doesn't?


Sexually transmitted infections are very common. In men, the symptoms that they are most likely to cause would include burning with urination, pain in the penis, or discharge of material from the tip of the penis. Odor alone in the groin would not likely be from a sexually transmitted infection. What would be more likely to cause odor in the groin would be a fungal infection of the area, known in common everyday speech as 'jock itch'. Other symptoms might include redness or scaling of the skin of the groin or itching. If you have these symptoms, you will need an anti fungal cream or medication, which your primary care doctor can prescribe for you. Another possible cause of odor would be bacterial overgrowth on the skin. Bacterial live in dark, moist areas of the skin like the groin and armpits and they feed off of the skin's natural sweat and oil secretions. A byproduct of this process is that the bacteria produce smelly chemical substance. Using methods to reduce colonization with the bacteria, such as more frequent showering and a strong anti bacterial soap can help. If this issue persists, please start by seeing your primary care doctor.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.