Home Men's Health Why Is Your Penis Smelly?

Why Is Your Penis Smelly?

by Glenn Fitzpatrick
man shocked what's inside his shorts

A penis having some kind of odor is not unusual at all. However, if the smell has become pungent, unpleasant, and bad, there may be something going on that needs your attention. If you do not find what causes it as soon as possible, it will be hard to figure out what the best treatment for it is. The problem will just worsen, and cause self-esteem issues and conflicts with your sex partner in the bedroom.

Most smelly penis problems are not medical emergency cases, and they can be fixed quickly and easily. But, there are others that need medical attention right away to avoid making matters worse.

What are the common causes of bad penis odor?


If there is a buildup of skin cells, grease, moisture, dirt, and other particles around your penis shaft, or under the foreskin if you are uncircumcised, that is called smegma. It occurs if you do not properly and regularly wash your penis, and your sweat, bodily fluids, and other things accumulate in this part of your body and become a haven for bacterial growth.

With poor personal hygiene, your penis can get infected or inflamed because of smegma. To prevent this from happening, you should learn how to get rid of smegma. If you are uncircumcised, when taking a bath or a shower, pull your foreskin back and wash with soap and water. Make sure that you get everything covered to not leave a single trace of smegma in there. Rinse thoroughly, pat with a clean towel to dry, and then put your foreskin back in place.

Yeast infection

man checking his goods

Also sometimes referred to as thrush, yeast infections are caused by the Candida fungus, which brings about a variety of symptoms, such as redness, itching, shiny or moist penis skin, and burning sensations, and produces a moldy odor.

It is transmitted if you have unprotected sex with an infected partner, or if you have poor personal hygiene.  If not diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible time, it can cause more severe problems, such as inflammation or other infections.

To protect yourself from it, you should always practice safe sex. Use a condom every time you partake in oral, vaginal, or anal sex. You should also clean your penis everyday, most especially if you are not circumcised, as you are at higher risk of smegma.


A common sexually transmitted infection, gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium, which lurks in the dark, moist, and warm areas of the body, such as the genitals, urethra, and throat. It is usually transmitted from one person to another through direct contact with an infected person’s genitals, mouth, or anus.

If have gonorrhea, you are likely to manifest some signs and symptoms that include an unpleasant odor coming from your penis, a burning sensation when you urinate, pain when pooping, a white or greenish discharge coming out of your penis, itchiness around your penis or anus, and soreness or bleeding around your penis or anus.


A medical condition that strikes about 3% to 11% of men, balanitis is characterized by the inflammation of the head of the penis or glans penis. In uncircumcised men, it involves the inflammation of the foreskin too.

Sometimes caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria, it can be contracted if you engage in unprotected sex, have poor personal hygiene practices, or use soaps and body washes that contain harmful elements. It also has a higher chance of striking you if you have an infection, eczema, psoriasis, or other skin conditions.

Among its symptoms are strong penis odor, itchiness and irritation, redness and soreness, fluid accumulation in the foreskin, and burning or pain when urinating.


Transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal sex, Chlamydia is a widespread sexually transmitted infection caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium. In the United States, it is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection, and it strikes almost three million men and women each year, with 2/3 of the documented cases occurring among those between the ages of 15 years old and 24 years old.

Among the typical Chlamydia warning signs include a burning sensation when urinating, swelling of the testicles, a strange discharge coming out of the penis, and an unpleasant penis odor. If not diagnosed and cured right away, it can lead to long-term damage to the reproductive system, and ruin your sex life.

How do you keep yourself away from these infections and diseases that cause bad penis odor?

If you want your penis to perform satisfactorily in bed, and be at its best for a long time, you should observe the following precautionary measures against the infections and diseases enumerated above:

1. Clean your penis regularly

It is important that you shower or bathe on a daily basis to give your penis some good cleaning. Sweat, semen, oil, and other things can get stuck around your penis or under your foreskin, if you are uncircumcised, and can create an environment that attracts bacterial and fungal growth that can cause the bad smell and put your sexual and reproductive health in danger.

2. Practice safe sex

opening a condom pack

Using condoms and other barriers is necessary to lower your risk of contracting gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted infections that can trigger bad penis odor. These things might not be able to guarantee that you are 100% safe from these infections, but they can at least significantly lower the odds of you getting infected. In addition, you should also avoid abusing alcohol and/or drugs, because these substances can impair your brain functions and make you more reckless and careless when in sexual situations.

3. Get tested

It is strongly advised that you get tested for STIs routinely, especially if you are sexually active. Getting an STI test allows you to detect an infection early on, before it starts to wreak havoc on your body. If you test positive, you can seek treatment right away. And, if you test negative, you can stop worrying and breathe a big sigh of relief.

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