Eating ketogenic has surpassed the diet fad phase and for many, has become a real way of life. Even food companies are taking advantage, plastering bars, cereal and low-carb pancake mixes with keto-friendly labels. And then there’s the celebrities: Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow and Adriana Lima, to name a few, who have claimed they owe their phenomenal figures to keto.
Based on eating meals high in fat and low in carbs with moderate proteins, on a keto diet, the body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis. Instead of burning carbohydrates, it burns fat by turning it into ketones. Going keto has been shown to help people effectively lose weight and lower blood sugar levels. While the health benefits are attractive, there’s been quite a bit of conversation around one of its possible side effects that is definitely unattractive: ketocrotch.
While not completely scientifically proven, some theorize that the change to eating more fat causes an imbalance in the vagina’s PH levels, which in turn creates an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria emitting strong not-so-pleasant odours. Hence the term, keto crotch. There is no research to support this, but when any changes are made to the amount of macronutrients you use to fuel your body, it can create unwanted reactions. Because the keto diet increases fat consumption, the PH or acidity level of the vagina is also altered. A normal PH level is between 3.5 - 4.5--slightly more acidic than you’d think. That’s because moderate acidity protects your vagina by preventing unhealthy bacteria and yeast from multiplying. Anything above the 4.5 level creates the perfect environment for these types of bacteria to thrive.
The jury is still out on whether keto crotch is a real thing and if a keto diet is the main culprit of any type of vaginal odour. More often, the number one cause of vaginal odour is bacterial vaginosis, an overgrowth of bacteria that leads to infection and creates a fishy-like smell. Sometimes, changes in smell can go away on their own, however if the smell is strong enough to make you pause, it’s always a good idea to get checked out. Talk to your doctor and you may be prescribed antibiotics to help clear anything up.
The ketogenic diet isn’t totally in the clear though--it’s also been called out for other bodily smells including keto breath, a foul nail-polish-like smell. It’s actually caused by acetone, a ketone that leaves the body as you exhale and is found in urine. This side effect means the body is in a ketosis state and if you can tolerate it, doesn’t seem all that bad.
In any case - whether you eat keto or not - you should always see your doctor upon noticing any changes in your personal smell. Odour is a strong sign from your body that the downstairs area is off and to do something about it. And as we’re in the personal care business, it’s important to us to share how to look after all of your personal assets.