Can Women’s Hormones Cause Smelly Feet?

It’s a common experience for many women – those pesky smelly feet that seem to get worse around certain times of the month. But can hormones really be to blame for stinky feet? The short answer is yes. Here’s a look at why women’s hormones can cause smelly feet.

Hormonal Changes During Menstruation

When women menstruate, their bodies go through a shift in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can lead to excessive sweating, which creates a prime environment for bacteria growth on the feet. The bacteria feast on the sweat, breaking it down into isovaleric acid, which produces a cheese-like smell.

So in the days leading up to and during a woman’s period, she may notice her feet smell worse than usual. The hormonal influx increases moisture and sweat, making feet more prone to odor. The smell often lets up after her period is over.

Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy

A woman’s hormones go into overdrive during pregnancy. Increased estrogen and prolactin can cause excessive perspiration all over the body, including the feet. Plus, pregnant women tend to retain more fluid. Moisture gets trapped in shoes and breeds bacteria.

As the feet sweat more, the bacteria multiply. The bacterial breakdown of sweat creates foul-smelling feet. To make matters worse, expectant moms’ sensitive noses make smelly feet all the more noticeable. This hormonal foot odor usually resolves after giving birth.

Hormonal Changes During Menopause

When women go through menopause, plummeting estrogen levels throw the body out of whack. Hot flashes and night sweats are common as estrogen declines. Excessive sweating can turn the feet into a bacteria breeding ground, upping odor production.

On top of that, menopause can trigger adult-onset athlete’s foot. The fungal infection thrives in warm, moist environments like sweaty feet in shoes. The infection itself, as well as bacteria eating away at the fungi, can make feet stink to high heaven. Getting athlete’s foot under control can help reduce odor.

Other Hormonal Factors

Birth control pills can also spark smelly feet in some women because of hormones entering the bloodstream. The influx of estrogen and progestin may increase sweating and stimulate oil gland production. And obesity can increase foot sweat and odor issues due to hormonal imbalances. Estrogen gets stored in fat cells and can throw off the hormonal ecosystem.

No matter what stage of life a woman is in, hormonal fluctuations and changes can definitely make her feet reek worse than usual. Pay attention to when foot odor seems the worst to identify hormonal triggers. Then try anti-odor tips like soaking feet, applying antiperspirant, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and using a foot deodorant spray to help control smelly feet. With some extra foot TLC, those hormones don’t stand a chance!