Do your breasts smell like beer? Or do you notice that your breasts smell like yeast? You're probably not imagining things: There's a chance "the girls" have a yeast infection.
Your chest might seem like an unlikely spot for a yeast infection. After all, we're so used to only hearing about yeast infections in vaginas. It gets even stranger when you realize you have a problem because of an odd smell — like bread or beer — coming from the skin on and around your breasts. But if you've ever asked yourself, "Why do my breasts smell like beer?" you're certainly not alone.
Why do my breasts smell?
A reader asked us: "Last week when I took off my bra, I noticed a faint beer-like smell wafting up from my breasts. I took a shower and forgot about it, but I keep catching hints of the smell when I undress at the end of the day. Sweat seems to make it worse. What’s going on?"
The answer: It sounds like you may have a yeast infection on, between, or under your breasts. A stale beer-like or vinegary odor coming from the breasts is a telltale sign of yeast overgrowth on the skin. The problem can cause itching or peeling, and it's more common in the summer when high temperatures make the undersides of the breasts warm and damp, which creates an ideal environment for yeast growth.
What is a yeast infection on the breasts?
Yeast infections of the skin, also called cutaneous candida, often occur under the breasts as well as other areas of the body. Yeast normally lives on skin tissue and grows readily in moist, warm environments. Skin beneath the breasts is the perfect host for yeast overgrowth if perspiration or other moisture remains on the breast folds, which are difficult to clean and keep dry. Therefore, both men and women with large breasts or who are overweight are more at risk of yeast infections under the breasts. People with conditions like diabetes, or who take medications including antibiotics, corticosteroids, and some birth control pills, are also more at risk.
Cleansing beneath the breasts and drying skin thoroughly may help decrease the risk of yeast growth.
Natural Remedies for Yeast Infection in Breasts
The good news is, there’s a simple, natural remedy: grapefruit-seed extract. It contains flavonoids with potent anti-fungal properties. Simply mix three drops of the extract with 1 oz. of water and use a cotton ball to apply the solution to your breasts twice a day for one week. One option to try is the NutriBiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract ($16.49, Amazon). You should notice an improvement after two days.
Once the infection is cured, we suggest dusting your breasts and bra with sweat-wicking cornstarch or applying antiperspirant to the undersides of your breasts as needed throughout the day to keep the area dry and discourage future problems.
Medline Plus, a division of the National Institutes of Health, recommends using antifungal powder beneath the breasts, if appropriate, to control moisture and inhibit yeast growth. Women may find wearing a cotton bra helpful, as cotton allows for better air circulation and drying of skin.