The truth about 'keto crotch'

If you've been on a ketogenic diet, you've probably discovered that this weight-loss plan has some unusual side effects. Eating high-fat foods and almost completely eliminating carbohydrates can put your body into a state called "ketosis," which might feel like a complete rewiring. As keto dieters happily shed pounds — as many as 10 in the first week, according to HighKey — they may also experience trouble sleeping (via Psychology Today). And of course, there's the one-week induction period known as the "keto flu," which includes not-so-fun symptoms like muscle soreness, nausea and exhaustion (via Healthline). 

But most people emerge from this initial keto stupor with baggier pants, and more visible collarbones, madly in love with bacon, and eager to tell everyone they know about their new way of eating (or "WOE," as Reddit's ketoers call it). 

There is one unexpected side effect of the keto diet that women may be less chatty about, though. And it's called, well, "keto crotch." 

Keto changes the way you smell

Completely changing the way you fuel your body, it turns out, can change the way your body smells. "Keto breath" is a widely known phenomenon, and this term doesn't refer to the lingering scent of bacon in your mouth, but to a smell that will make you think of a freshly-removed manicure. Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass explained to Health, "One type of ketone, acetone, is an ingredient in some nail polish removers, which is why your breath may smell like this familiar scent." 

Having nail polish remover breath is one thing. Keto crotch — more akin to rotting fish — is another. As Dr. Lisa De Fazio told Insider, "Foods change the pH of the body. When this happens, the body will emit certain odors." Thus, your underwear "may not smell like roses" due to keto. To make matters worse, this stench can indicate a medical problem. She added, "A high-fat diet, particularly saturated fat like on the keto diet, increases vaginal pH...therefore increasing the risk of bacterial vaginosis."

If concern about keto crotch is making you reconsider your diet, don't throw away the butter just yet. One way to improve this condition is by increasing your intake of alkaline, but still keto-friendly, foods. According to MindBodyGreen, leafy greens, coconut oil, and avocado can all help minimize unwanted odors.