Body odor can be offensive, and it will make your life miserable. A combination of bacteria and sweat on your skin gives your body an odor. Hormones, the food you eat, infections, drugs, or underlying medical disorders like diabetes can all affect how you smell. Medication or prescription-strength deodorants may be helpful.
Everyone has sweat-related body odor at some point in their lives. Bromhidrosis, a phrase derived from the Greek words “bromos” (stench) and “hidros” (sweat), is the medical term for excessively foul-smelling sweat that is regarded as pathological. The terms “bromidrosis,” “osmidrosis,” and “ozochrotia” are all synonyms for bromhidrosis.
The level of odor deemed “excessive” and necessary for a bromhidrosis diagnosis is not set in stone. When a person’s detectable body odor negatively affects their self-perception, social interactions, or quality of life, they likely suffer from bromhidrosis.
Although sweating is normal, it can smell unpleasant when touching your skin due to particular foods we consume, poor hygiene habits, or genetics. Your body odor or sweating patterns may have changed, which could signify a medical illness.
This article will examine the clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and treatment of bromhidrosis. Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is discussed separately. (Read more about “primary focal hyperhidrosis“).
What is body odor?
When your perspiration comes into contact with the microorganisms on your skin, body odor results; although sweat itself has no fragrance, when it comes into contact with the microorganisms on your skin, it does. Body odor might be onion-like, sweet, sour, or tangy. The perspiration you produce may not necessarily affect how your body smells. Because of this, a person may have an offensive body odor but not perspiration. On the other hand, a person can perspire heavily without smelling. This is because body odor results from the type of bacteria on your skin and how those bacteria interact with sweat rather than being a cause of perspiration. Sweating is the fluid discharge of sweat glands onto the surface of your skin. Eccrine and apocrine are the two different categories of sweat glands. The apocrine glands are in charge of creating body odor.
Why does my perspiration have a foul odor?
Your sweat may smell unpleasant for several reasons. For instance, certain drugs, vitamins, or foods can cause your sweat to smell foul. Remember that the germs on your skin mixed with the sweat cause the odor, not the sweat itself. Several illnesses and medical problems are linked to variations in a person’s typical body odor:
A change in body odor could indicate diabetic ketoacidosis if you have diabetes. Your blood becomes more acidic, and you start to smell fruity with high ketone levels. Your breath may smell like bleach if you have liver or kidney illness because of the buildup of toxins in your body.
Who is prone to bromhidrosis?
Bromhidrosis can affect people of any age, race, or gender. Because apocrine sweat glands and sebaceous glands are inactive until puberty, bromhidrosis is more common in adults than children. The body odor of the elderly differs from that of newborns, prepubescent children, teenagers, and adults. It primarily affects men and can be problematic in hot, humid tropical settings. Studies indicate that axillary malodor is more common in Europeans and Africans than in Asians, suggesting a hereditary susceptibility.
Causes of bad body odor
When perspiration and microorganisms on your skin come into contact, body odor results. The germs on our skin are present by nature. When we sweat, the bacteria in our bodies mingle with water, salt, and fat to produce odor. The smell may be strong, weak, or nonexistent. Your meals, hormones, and medications can influence body odor. A condition known as hyperhidrosis is the cause of excessive sweating. Although people with this illness frequently have sweaty palms and feet, the eccrine sweat glands commonly cause the most discomfort, making them more prone to body odor.
There is a possibility that you will develop an offensive body odor whenever you perspire. Some individuals are more vulnerable to unpleasant body odor than others.
Other elements that could influence body odor include:
- Anxiety or stress.
- Warm conditions.
Apocrine and eccrine bromhidrosis
Based on the type of sweat gland implicated, bromhidrosis is further split into apocrine and eccrine types. The axillae, anogenital regions, and breasts have the highest densities of apocrine glands since these are where they grow after puberty. Pheromone secretion appears to be the primary function of apocrine glands. Except for the external auditory canal, lips, clitoris, labia minora, and glans penis, eccrine glands are found throughout the body. Eccrine glands mainly carry out thermostat regulation.
Apocrine and eccrine bromhidrosis are two types of bromhidrosis. The axilla is the location of apocrine bromhidrosis most frequently. The feet are the most typical site of eccrine bromhidrosis.
Sweat is directly released to the skin’s surface by the eccrine glands. Sweating aids in cooling your skin and regulating body temperature as it dries down. It doesn’t smell at all. The cooling impact of sweat on heated skin occurs when your body temperature increases due to physical activity or heat. Your body is mainly covered in eccrine glands, including the palms and soles.
Your hair follicles’ apocrine glands protrude out from within. The tube-like structure that retains your hair in your skin is called a hair follicle. Apocrine glands are located in the armpits and groin. When sweat from these glands comes into contact with bacteria on your skin, it might begin to smell. Because apocrine glands do not function until puberty, young children do not have noticeable body odor.
What is the bromhidrosis treatment?
- Regular washing with detergents and cleaners,
- Removing sweaty garments is an example of good hygiene.
- Shaving, electrolysis, or laser hair removal
- Regions of keratin breakdown are exfoliated
- Specific actions
- Avoiding foods and drugs that cause odors
- Infection of the skin treatment
- Treatment for excessive sweating
- Nasal foreign body removal
- Apocrine gland removal via laser, surgery, or liposuction; microwave-induced fibrosis, curettage
- Changing one’s diet to treat metabolic problems
Hormonal fluctuations affect the scent of body odor.
Yes, hormonal changes can make your body odor smell. During menopause, hot flashes, nocturnal sweats, and hormonal changes result in increased perspiration, which affects how one smells. Some people think that while they are pregnant or menstruating, their body odor changes. According to research, a person’s body odor changes during ovulation—the menstrual cycle phase when they have a chance of becoming pregnant—to entice a mate.
Certain meals make you smell bad.
Body odor may be analogous to the adage, “You are what you eat.” You may develop body odor if you consume foods high in sulfur. Sulfur has a rotten egg odor. It can emit a foul odor when it is produced from your body through sweat. Examples of foods high in sulfur include:
- Beef – red meat.
Other typical food sources of offensive body odor include:
- MSG, or monosodium glutamate.
- Curry and cumin, for example.
- Spicy meal or other hot sauce.
- Removing or cutting back on these triggers might help you smell better.
What bad body odor and sweating signs should you be concerned about?
Bad body odor is typically more of a nuisance than a significant health concern. Ask your doctor or dermatologist for advice if you discover that lifestyle adjustments like regular washing and antiperspirant/deodorant are not enough to control sweating and odor. The following criteria may require professional attention:
- Even when not physically active or in a warm environment, frequently sweating, or wearing sweat-soaked clothing.
- Excessive perspiration makes it challenging to carry out ordinary tasks like using a computer, turning a doorknob, or holding a pen.
- Dozing and perspiring.
- Sweat that is constantly wet on the skin.
- Recurring skin infections in sweat-prone body regions.
- A fruity body odor can be a sign of diabetes.
- A bodily odor that reminds you of bleach could indicate a liver or kidney illness.
- An unexpected shift in sweating or body odor.
How do doctors manage bad body odor?
The underlying reason for your body odor and excessive perspiration will dictate the best course of treatment, which your doctor can ascertain through a physical examination and blood or urine testing.
Possible remedies for body odor include:
Personal care and way of life
- Take a regular bath or shower with antibacterial soap to keep your skin clean. Pay attention to the places you perspire the most, such as your groin and armpits. Unpleasant body odors can be avoided by frequently removing some microorganisms from your skin.
- Maintain a clean-shaven appearance in your armpits to ensure that sweat escapes rapidly and has less time to interact with bacteria. Viruses and bacteria thrive in hair.
- Wear clean clothes and wash your clothes frequently.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton apparel. As a result, your skin can breathe. The same guidelines apply to bras and undergarments. Clothing made of moisture-wicking material is also beneficial because it may draw moisture away from your skin.
- Use a topical deodorant that draws perspiration back into your sweat glands. When your body is informed that your sweat glands are full, sweat production decreases. Both over-the-counter and prescription antiperspirants fall into this category.
- Try eliminating items with strong odors from your diet, or watch for foods that worsen your body odor. Some foods, like alcohol, garlic, and onions, might cause your sweat to smell more foul.
- Look for strategies to lessen your stress. Your apocrine glands may become active as a result of stress.
Medication and treatments
- You can temporarily stop sweating by getting small injections of botulinum toxin (like Botox®) in your armpits.
- Prescription medications may prevent sweating. Your healthcare practitioner would advise you to use caution if they recommend this because your body needs to sweat to cool itself.
- Surgery involves removing sweat glands beneath your arms or blocking nerve signals from reaching your sweat glands, which is necessary for some severe disorders.
- Antibiotics to lessen skin-surface bacteria.
- An electromagnetic wave-emitting hand-held gadget can destroy sweat glands under your arms.
How may foul body odor be eliminated naturally?
There may be solutions that work if you choose a more natural approach to addressing body odor in the armpits. Consult your healthcare professional regarding the following:
Using water and baking soda, create a paste. Put the paste on your armpits, then wait for it to dry. The acid on your skin is balanced by baking soda, which also lessens smells.
Warm water with green tea bags is added. Put the wet tea bags beneath your armpits daily for a few minutes. Green tea might assist in clogging your pores and lowering sweating.
Fill a spray bottle with a bit of water and apple cider vinegar. Your armpits should be covered with the mixture. The acid in vinegar can kill bacteria.
In a spray bottle, combine water and lemon juice. Use the mixture to mist your arms. Lemon juice’s citric acid destroys germs.
Acupuncture for Bad Body Odor.
Foul body odor often causes more annoyance than serious health issues. If you find that lifestyle changes like routine washing and antiperspirant/deodorant are insufficient to reduce sweating and odor, consult your doctor or dermatologist for help.
According to TCM theory, Wei qi, sometimes referred to as protecting qi, controls the exterior body. Consider the immune system’s role in regulating the opening and closing of pores as a wall separating the inside from the outside. Sweating appropriately to the situation and environment depends on the healthy operation of both the lungs and the heart, which regulate Wei qi (Qi) and are fluids of the body. To balance the internal and external bodies and control temperature, Yang qi evaporates bodily fluids through the pores and out of the body when we sweat. Sweating when a disease is present might assist in relieving symptoms. Still, if it is not controlled, excessive sweating can significantly reduce body fluid levels (which is why it’s crucial to drink plenty of fluids when you’re sick).
According to specific research, acupuncture may help the body detoxify, especially in drug addicts. According to one study, acupuncture is a helpful treatment for detoxification because individuals who received it were less likely to need to be readmitted for detoxification within six months. According to a different study, acupuncture with electrical stimulation may be a helpful treatment for the withdrawal process, particularly in reducing anxiety and sadness. However, it is generally agreed that more study is needed in this area.
According to TCM, acupuncture enhances the health of the liver, kidneys, and digestive system, all of which aid in the body’s ability to expel waste and toxins. In essence, acupuncture removes any obstructions brought on by pollutants, enhancing the flow of energy throughout the body and re-establishing the body’s average balance.
Acupuncture can aid in detoxification by assisting the body in releasing various poisons. However, don’t automatically assume that “toxin” refers to harmful compounds; it can refer to substances that are present in things that are used in daily life, such as:
- Poor diet, food, and beverages
- Poisons in the environment
- Alcohol and illicit or prescription drugs
- Other substances you encounter every day
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the term can also refer to energy (Qi) obstructions that prevent the body’s natural energy flow. It is believed that these obstructions are to blame for some illnesses and well-being problems.
The nerve system is stimulated during an acupuncture treatment, which helps to release chemicals that activate the body’s natural healing processes in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. This encourages mental and physical health, especially when therapies are sustained over time.
According to research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acupuncture helps the body create more nitric oxide in the areas where the needles are put when it is done correctly. It also causes the body to generate natural anesthetics, which can produce a warming or cooling sensation. This boosts blood flow. Following more NIH studies, acupuncture can effectively treat the following conditions or lessen their symptoms:
- Pain Addiction
- Migraines and headaches
- Period cramps
- Muscle-skeletal problems
- Osteoarthritis Asthma
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), disturbances in the body’s energy (Qi) flow lead to illness and disease. Acupuncture stimulates the relevant area of the body to release the Qi that has accumulated and obstructed the flow. The Qi is then allowed to continue flowing normally through the meridians.
Homeopathy for bad body odor
The stinky, foul body odor can limit social interaction out of shame and embarrassment. Deodorants and powders used for camouflaging body odor are only temporary and short-term methods. They are just suppressive techniques and do not eliminate body odor from the root. However, adequately selected natural homeopathic remedies can effectively treat body odor and extinguish it from the root. Natural remedies aim to cure the condition rather than suppress it. When selecting remedies for body odor, the site of the body part emitting the odor and any specific kind of body odor are considered. The character of odor may vary from person to person, like sour, fishy, fetid, cadaverous, putrid, garlic-like, onion-like, or pungent. In addition to these symptoms, characteristic constitutional symptoms of patients like likes and dislikes in food, appetite, thirst, sensitivity to heat or cold, and any symptom that stands out dominantly are given a lot of importance while recommending the best remedies.
Sulphur and Psorinum: Best Remedies for Body Odor
The top two natural medicines for treating body odor are Sulphur and Psorinum. Both of these remedies act as potent agents to eliminate body odor. These natural body odor remedies successfully treat even acute cases of body odor. Persons who complain of foul, disagreeable body odor over the whole body that does not leave even after bathing can best benefit from these remedies.
Sulfur works best for people with heat sensitivity who cannot tolerate heat. They also suffer from heated sensations in various body parts, mainly in the palms and soles. Psorinum is selected mainly for those with body odor who are extremely sensitive to a cold environment. Such people are so sensitive to the cold that they sometimes need to cover themselves warmly, even in the summer. Persons needing any of these medicines also tend to perspire freely. Their skin also looks dirty and unhealthy, with a constant filthy and foul smell.
Hepar Sulph and Rheum: For Sour Body Odor
Hepar Sulphur and Rheum are the top natural remedies for sour body odor. Hepar Sulphur brings about the best results in cases of sour body odor as soon as there is any exertion. The exertion can be either physical or mental. The person also starts sweating after any of these exertions. Rheum is the ideal remedy when the sour smell from the body does not disappear even after washing with water. When using Rheum, the sour odor may be present over the whole body or specifically on the head. The sour odor in persons needing Rheum may appear after exertion or even in the resting position.
Silicea: For Foul Odor from Feet
Silicea is a natural remedy that treats foul odors from feet. Silicea is even more successful in treating offensive odor emanating from the feet. Along with the intolerably offensive odor, excessive sweating on the feet may also be found in most patients. Due to increased sweat on feet, cracks and fissures in between toes may also show their presence.
Apart from Silicea, the other medicines that greatly help treat offensive odors from feet are Baryta Carbonica, Graphites, Sulphur, and sepia. Baryta Carbonica is a remedy for children who have offensive sweat on their feet. Most children needing Baryta Carbonica are chronic sufferers of throat complaints with the inclusion of tonsil inflammation. Graphites is the best natural remedy for foot sweat and offensiveness when deep fissures or cracks appear between toes. Graphites help in both getting rid of the offensive foot sweat as well as the cracks between toes. Sulfur is the top choice when extreme heat insoles accompany stinky foot sweat. Such a person may also need to put their feet out of bed due to excessive heat in soles at night. Sepia is the best remedy when feet remain cold with an offensive odor.
Alternative homeopathic remedies for Armpit Bad Body Odor
Most people have terrible armpit odor since many hair follicles are in the armpit area. Sulfur, Bovista, Hepar Sulph, and Sepia are natural medicines that treat foul odor from the axilla or armpits. When armpits emit a fetid stink, Sulphur is the treatment of choice for body odor. Washing won’t get rid of that stench. Some people who need sulfur may particularly smell garlic in their armpits. Utilizing sulfur for foul armpit odor may also cause excessive body heat. The natural medicine Bovista is most effective at removing a particular onion-like odor from the armpits. Conversely, Hepar Sulph and Sepia perform admirably when sweat stains the clothing and produces an offensive odor from the armpits. When highly irritating sweat from armpits leaves a yellow stain, Hepar Sulph is chosen, and when a brown stain is left, Sepia is chosen.
A natural treatment for bad body odor in Philadelphia.
Many people deal with the innocuous but unpleasant problem of bad body odor, especially in the summer. Sweat and the microorganisms on our skin are typically to blame for this. A strong odor is released as the bacteria decomposes when you sweat. Skin odor might develop due to hormonal changes associated with puberty, excessive sweating, or inadequate cleanliness.
Consumers typically choose chemical-based solutions like deodorants and antiperspirant roll-ons when combating body odor. These, however, are only short-term fixes, and the dangerous ingredients they contain even have the potential to cause inflammation and rashes on your skin. So, switch to these all-natural, at-home remedies to quickly and easily eliminate your body odor.
If you live in the City of Brotherly Love or the nearest suburbs and need medical attention for bad body odor, consider the Philadelphia Holistic Clinic. We provide alternative and integrative medical treatment for most medical conditions at the clinic. We provide acupuncture, homeopathic treatment, ayurvedic remedies, Chinese medicinal herbs, and reiki.
Contact us at (267) 403-3085 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Victor Tsan and undergo treatment and eliminate bad body odor.
You can also schedule an appointment by using the widget below.