Why do women’s armpits smell like onions?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Women’s armpits can sometimes emit an odor that resembles onions, and this can be attributed to a sulfur compound called thiol. When this compound combines with bacteria present under the arms, it produces the distinct onion-like scent. This phenomenon occurs due to the natural processes that take place in our bodies.

To understand why women’s armpits may have this particular odor, it is important to delve into the science behind it. Our bodies have various types of bacteria residing on our skin, including the armpits. These bacteria play a crucial role in breaking down the sweat and other substances produced by our bodies. When sweat is broken down by bacteria, it can result in the release of different chemicals, each with its own distinct smell.

In the case of women, the sulfur compound thiol is responsible for the onion-like odor. Thiol is produced when certain substances, such as sulfur-containing amino acids, are broken down by bacteria. As a result, when these substances mix with the bacteria under a woman’s arm, thiol is formed and the onion scent becomes noticeable.

On the other hand, men tend to have increased levels of an odorless fatty acid in their armpits. This fatty acid, when combined with the bacteria present, can give off a cheesy smell. The differences in the odor between men and women can be attributed to variations in the types and quantities of bacteria, as well as hormonal differences.

It is worth noting that body odor can also be influenced by factors such as diet, hygiene practices, and overall health. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, can contribute to the smell of sweat as their compounds are excreted through the skin. Additionally, poor hygiene or excessive sweating can create an environment where bacteria thrive, leading to stronger body odor.

Personal experiences and situations may vary when it comes to body odor. Some individuals may be more prone to producing onion-like scents under their arms, while others may not have this issue at all. It is important to remember that body odor is a natural occurrence and can vary from person to person.

The onion-like smell in women’s armpits is caused by a sulfur compound called thiol, which is produced when certain substances are broken down by bacteria. This odor can be influenced by factors such as diet, hygiene, and individual variations. It is a natural occurrence and can vary among individuals.