Everyone sweats and produces an unpleasant smell that we have come to know as body odor, also known as bromhidrosis. It is a distinctive, usually stinky, scent that occurs when a person sweats. Body odor can be the result of too much sweating, and a person can even be unaware of his/her body odor. This can be a sign of poor hygiene, but could also be related to a more serious issue. Body odor is more common in men than women and children usually don’t develop body odor until puberty. This is because the hormones stimulate the child’s sweat glands and oils under the armpits and genital region.
These are found all over the body and produce a salt solution when the body increases its temperature. This is normally odorless sweat, but it can start to smell if bacteria break down this sweat. It can also start to smell after consuming certain foods, alcohol, or medications.
These glands are typically found in the armpits, breasts, or genital region. They produce a thicker sweat that contains a “personal scent.” At first, apocrine sweat is odorless, but bacteria that live on the skin break it down within an hour to produce an offensive odor. If you produce more apocrine sweat or have more bacteria on the skin, the scent will be more potent.
Symptoms of Body Odor
Some people sweat more and others sweat less, and certain people smell and others don’t. This is mostly attributed to how efficiently people digest foods. Symptoms of body odor can be:
- Night Sweats
- Unpleasant scent (usually all the time)
- Unexplained or Excessive Sweating
- Cold Hands
- Weight Loss
Causes of Body Odor
Sweat itself is essentially odorless to people. Body odor is caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down sweat into acids. The genitals and armpits tend to smell worse because those sweat glands produce oils and proteins, which bacteria feed on. Certain people inherit a tendency to sweat more than others and sweat on their hands and feet, in addition to their armpits and genital region. People with poor eating habits tend to smell worse because the body cannot efficiently break down foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wheat, or processed foods. Some common causes include:
- Poor Hygiene
- Unhealthy Diet
- Hormonal Changes
- Medication (a side effect may include excessive sweating)
- Poor Digestion
Maintain Personal Hygiene
One of the best ways to treat body odor is to maintain good personal hygiene. Washing regularly, wearing clean clothes, and changing sheets frequently can curb the foul smells of body odor.
Drinking the right amount of water can make a difference in the way one smells. It’s suggested to consume eight 8oz. glasses of water each day to stay properly hydrated. A great way to remember how much water to drink is to halve your body weight and drink it in ounces of water per day. This means that if you weigh 150lbs, your water intake should be 75oz. daily.
Make A Dietary Change
Making a change in your diet can also improve the way you smell. If you eat processed foods, fried foods, alcohol, genetically engineered foods, sugar, meat, dairy products, and salt, then you will be sweating these toxins out, making your sweat more desirable to bacteria. Eating raw vegetables and fruit, raw nuts and seeds, and whole oats like barley or buckwheat can help improve digestion, ultimately helping to improve body odor.
Don’t Do Dairy
Roughly 30 million Americans are lactose intolerant and a lot of people cannot properly digest dairy products. A lot of people can’t break down tyrosinemia, an amino acid in dairy, meat, fish, eggs, and wheat, and that can cause the body to smell like boiled cabbage. In addition to contributing to body odor, consuming lactose can also increase your risk of diabetes.
Poor digestion is commonly the cause of body odor. Consuming foods high in probiotics can help the digestive system function smoothly and improve overall body odor. Apple cider vinegar and water can be a great digestive aid. Try to mix one or two tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in one cup of alkaline water and drink that about 30 minutes before you eat a meal.
If you are stressed out you can emit some strong odors. Stress hormones contain lipids and proteins that bacteria, which naturally exist on your skin, love to feed on. The bacteria then produce a smelly waste and you end up not smelling that great. To help decrease your stress, it is beneficial to try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, Tai Chi, acupuncture, or massage therapy.
Wear Loose Clothing
A lot of people like to wear clothes that are made of spandex, leather, or other non-cotton materials. These materials make it difficult for your pores to breathe, trapping the sweat against the skin. Let your skin breath a little with some soft cotton clothes and that may help you smell better.