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What Is Keto Crotch? New Details About The Rumored Smelly Side Effect Of The Keto Diet

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Keto crotch
Self, Health And Wellness

Don't panic just yet.

We go on the keto diet to look and feel better. And though there are plenty of benefits, there are also keto diet side effects to be aware of. Imagine dropping pounds and, in the process, you start to smell kind of funky in your most intimate spots.

We already probably know about keto breath, which is a common reported side effect of the keto diet. “When you're in ketosis, your body makes ketones (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone),” says Alix Turoff MS, RD, CDN, CPT Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Consultant and Certified Personal Trainer. “In ketosis, your body makes more of these chemicals and, as a result, your breath can start to smell a bit fruity or even like nail polish remover (acetone),” says Turoff.

But apparently, there’s another part of your body getting that bad breath, leading to what's known as "keto crotch." What is it and why is it happening to our lady parts?

RELATED: 7 Life-Changing Things That Happen When You Try The Low-Carb, High-Fat Ketogenic Diet

This has been getting a lot of attention lately due to a Reddit thread regarding the smell that is often associated with the keto diet's impact on your nether region. Technically, keto crotch just means a change in your vagina’s smell. The inclination isn’t necessarily that it stinks; the smell can be a good smell or a bad smell, it’s just a change in the way it normally smells.

"I've been on the diet for about a month and a half now, and I've noticed that my vaginal odors have gotten much stronger," user SxarAnise wrote on Reddit. "I'm not exactly sure how vaginas are 'supposed' to smell... Many say 'musky' but I feel like that's too mild of a word... It's much stronger than 'musk' for me."

But what is it about the diet that makes this smell change happen?

“Keto crotch hasn't been studied and there doesn't seem to be an understood mechanism for why this happens, but many women are reporting that this does happen to them,” advises Turoff. Changes in vaginal odor can be related to changes in pH, which can be affected by many things, including diet and hormones (both of which are affected by the keto diet).

Re-balancing that pH can help, though. According to Dr. Omnia Samra-Latif Estafan, board-certified OBGYN, a healthy vaginal pH and a healthy gut will help that lady garden have a "healthy acidic pH by keeping its own microbiome of Lactobaccili in check.” A product like Nelly De Vuyst BioFemme pH Balancing Gel helps to re-balance vaginal pH while protecting from external aggressors. 

Now, don't panic — just keep in mind that diet is a major factor in vaginal pH and also how our vagina smells, good and bad. (And for the record, the same goes for a man's diet and his crotch.) According to Dr. Latif, eating habits will impact your gut health, so a nutritionist will help you as much in this scenario as your OB/GYN.

As for other ways to get rid of keto crotch? Turoff says there aren't a lot of answers, but it does go away. “There’s no real scientific answer for this (yet), but people do report that it goes away after a period of time.” At least that's good news!

RELATED: Should I Be On The Keto Diet? Here's What You Should Know Before You Try It


Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at alywalansky@gmail.com.

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