Bariatric procedures carry with them a lot of positive impacts on overall health, but they also come with some inconvenient issues, at least in some cases. One of these issues is the feminine odor after gastric sleeve. 

First of all, the perception of smell is highly subjective. Different people experience the smells of things differently. Hence, some people can actually experience strange smells after medical procedures, but this usually is attributed to internal physiological processes, not psychological reasons.  

Interestingly, some patients experience changes in their sense of smell after gastric sleeve, particularly in regard to certain foods, especially during the first few months following the procedure. However, these changes often correspond to the period of most significant weight loss and usually return to normal within six months.

In fact, different studies have investigated the changes in smell and taste perception in gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients, and many of these studies linked these changes to dietary choices after these procedures.

The Feminine Odor After Gastric Sleeve

Feminine Odor Gastric Sleeve

The exact nature of the feminine odor after gastric sleeve is unclear and a matter of controversy. Some patients use the term “feminine odor” to refer to foul-smelling breath. Others use it to describe the bad smell in the groin or private area, which is unlikely to be triggered directly by the surgery.

Although rapid weight loss is often the primary goal for people who undergo bariatric surgery, it can come at a cost. It might sound counterintuitive, but your foul-smelling breath can be an indication that you are losing weight at a rapid rate, which is generally desirable.

Dryness in the mouth is often reported by several patients immediately after the surgery, despite their best efforts. This happens as the metabolic process of ketosis sets in due to the new diet. The odor can come out from the mouth or the genital area, and some people may call it “keto crotch“.

Ketosis happens when your body starts to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This metabolic process leads to higher levels of ketones. Individuals who are in ketosis often have a more pronounced odor, sometimes in their genital areas. The source of the feminine odor could be just that.

Causes of Feminine Odor After Gastric Sleeve

Following bariatric surgery, many patients may experience an increase in body odor or unpleasant breath. This is due to a change in your body’s metabolic processes. Before surgery, your body primarily uses carbohydrates for energy, but after surgery, your diet will consist mainly of protein. As a result, your body will shift into ketosis, where stored fat is used for energy, producing ketones that can lead to a fruity odor.

This effect is more common in the early weeks or months after surgery, particularly during the liquid diet phase. Thankfully, bad breath is less common among gastric sleeve patients than gastric bypass patients.

Several factors may cause bad breath in gastric sleeve patients, including stomach issues and dietary changes. Cheating on your pre-post diet may solve the problem, but the consequences might be dangerous. In any case, the common reasons for bad breath after gastric sleeve surgery are numerous and can also include:

  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • Indigestion and other stomach issues,
  • Excessive sugar and alcohol consumption
  • Dehydration
  • Blockage in the digestive system
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking

How to Deal with Body Odor After Gastric Sleeve?

Body Odor After Gastric Sleeve treatment

Experiencing body odor after bariatric surgery can be a frustrating side effect and a source of regret for many sensitive people. Unfortunately, there are limited ways to prevent it, but the good news is that it will not last for a long time. It’s a small sacrifice to pay for achieving a healthier life.

Maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing won’t help much in overcoming the change in diet that leads to bad breath after the surgery. After all, the issue is caused by the metabolic process of ketosis.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. When you start adding soft solid foods, around five weeks after the surgery, the natural carbohydrates in vegetables will help resolve the issue. Hence, you must avoid cheating on your post-op diet at all costs. In addition, if you’re experiencing bad breath after bariatric surgery, there are several things you can do to alleviate the problem:

  • Drink water to help keep the mouth moist and prevent bacteria from accumulating on the surface of the teeth and gums.
  • Try sugar-free gums, especially those that contain cinnamon, which can stimulate the production of saliva, which can wash away odor-generating bacteria.
  • Brush and floss after every meal are also important as the tongue can harbor bacteria and food particles that contribute to bad breath.
  • Maintain good hygiene habits, including regular cleaning and bathing with mild soap and warm water, especially in the vaginal area.
  • Keep the area around your surgery site clean to prevent infections.
  • See a dentist to rule out the possibility of tooth decay or gum disease as a cause of bad breath.

Other Concerns After Gastric Sleeve 

Besides feminine odor and bad breath, patients also report other concerns and troubles after gastric sleeve. Some of these concerns include:

  • Redness on the incision site: You must keep an eye on your incision site after your surgery and report any unusual issues, such as redness, itching, or swelling around the area.
  • Scars: Although most scars after gastric sleeve dissolve with time, some unlucky patients could develop large, noticeable scars on the incision site.
  • Discharge: Although very rare, some females report discharge and itching in the private area following gastric sleeve. However, this is unlikely to be the result of the surgery.

The Bottom Line

Although gastric can provide a range of benefits and help you lose weight quickly, there are some considerations to keep in mind, such as the possibility of experiencing feminine or body odor.

There is still an ongoing debate among researchers and investigators about the exact nature of feminine odor after gastric sleeve, but it’s most likely related to the ketosis process that occurs due to rapid weight loss.

International Clinics in Turkey provides gastric sleeve and bariatric follow-up care to international patients who seek affordable, top-of-the-line medical care abroad. You can reach us now using the Contact Us button below to get a free consultation.

Feminine Odor After Gastric Sleeve consultation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Happens To Your Hormones After Gastric Sleeve?

Your hormones change a bit after gastric sleeve, especially those produced by the stomach and intestines, including ghrelin, which is widely recognized as the “hunger hormone”. The surgery also affects the level of a hormone called “GLP1”, which has a role to play in regulating glucose metabolism.

Why Does My Pee Smell Strong After Bariatric Surgery?

Potentially, your pee smells strong after bariatric surgery because of urinary tract infections, which can result from leaking gastric juices and subsequent internal infections after the surgery. However, this is quite rare.

How Do You Get Rid of Body Odor After Surgery?

Depending on the source of the odor, you can use different types of products that can get rid of the bacteria behind the odor. A topical antibacterial agent such as chlorhexidine may be recommended. In the case of gastric sleeve, the odor is unlikely to be caused by bacteria; rather, the odor is the result of rapid weight loss and fat breakdown.

Does Your Menstrual Cycle Change After Gastric Sleeve?

Your menstrual cycle can change after gastric sleeve because of surgery’s effect on the regulation of sex hormones, especially estrogen. Women often experience enhanced ovulation after the surgery.

Why Do I Stink After Bariatric Surgery?

Your odor stinks after bariatric surgery because your body turns to fat breakdown as an alternative source of energy instead of glucose and sugar breakdown. This process of fat breakdown generates a distinct odor that may be noticeable during the early postoperative period.

Is It Normal to Smell Different After Surgery?

It’s normal to smell different after surgery. Also, expect changes in the perception of taste and smell, such as a complete loss of smell (anosmia), loss of taste (ageusia), reduced taste sensitivity (hypogeusia), or distorted taste (dysgeusia).

Why Do I Suddenly Have Body Odor?

You may suddenly have body odor due to various factors such as hormones, food choices, infection, medications, or underlying medical conditions like diabetes. Luckily, there are different antiperspirants or medications that provide relief.

Read more: Gastric Sleeve Surgery Abroad: Best Destinations & Packages