Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

An unpleasant smell produced by the bacteria on the skin by breaking down the acid in the sweat is known as body odor. Body odor is a normal condition when not connected to a bigger problem.

What Are The Types Of Sweat Glands Which Produce Body Odor?

Sweat glands are of two types:

  1. Eccrine Glands. These are the coiled glands found all over dermis. Sweat produced by eccrine glands contains increased salt content. The high salt content in the sweat makes it harder for the bacteria to break it down, thus making it less smelly.
  2. Apocrine Glands. These glands are found in the armpits, pubic areas and groin. Apocrine glands empty into hair follicles rather than duct, like eccrine glands. Sweat is produced by apocrine glands when the body temperature increases and under stress. The sweat that is generated by apocrine glands has increased protein content, which when broken down by bacteria produces bad smell, which we commonly refer to as body odor. Apocrine glands remain inactive until puberty, which is why children do not get body odor. Men sweat more than women so are likely to have more body odor.

What Are The Common Causes Of Body Odor?

There are certain factors which make you more susceptible to develop body odor; some of the common causes of body odor are:

Being Overweight. Folds in the skin of obese people hold on the sweat and the bacteria for a longer time; thus causing an increase in body odor.

Excessive Sweating. People who sweat more are likely to have more body odor.

Spicy Diet. Eating spicy, pungent foods does not increase the body odor, but the scent of such food can permeate through the skin, causing and worsening the body odor.

Medical Conditions. Certain medical conditions, such as overactive thyroid, diabetes, kidney and liver function can alter the body scent and cause and produce more body odor.

Serious Medical Conditions. Body odor can also be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as urine-like or bleach-like smell of body odor or sweat can indicate kidney or liver problem.

Stress. Stress increases sweating from the apocrine gland. That is why you may notice more of the body odor before any big presentation or any stressful event.

Genetics. It is mostly seen that some people develop more body odor than the others. Though not much proved, body odor is also thought to be inherited.

How To Get Rid Of Body Odor?

Body odor can be embarrassing and in some can also be a sign of some serious medical illness. There are certain things which can be done to banish the body odor or at least reduce it and these are.

Keep Yourself Clean To Get Rid Of Body Odor. Shower at least one time in a day. This will wash away the sweat and help you get rid of the bacteria on the skin and hence help you get rid of body odor. In hot and humid weather, a shower twice a day helps, as you tend to sweat more.

Use Antibacterial Soap To Get Rid Of Body Odor. As the bacteria are responsible for breaking down the sweat to create odor, an antibacterial soap or a body wash helps get rid of body odor. Also if a regular shower is not helpful in removing the body odor, these antibacterial soaps do the trick in getting rid of body odor.

Dry Yourself Completely To Get Rid Of Body Odor. After a shower, makes sure that you dry yourself completely, especially in those areas which sweat. Leaving the body humid allows the bacteria to crop up and produce body odor.

To Get Rid Of Body Odor, Use Antiperspirants/Deodorants. Deodorants make you smell good by blocking the body odor. If you don’t perspire much and just have a strong body odor using deodorants can help mask the body odor. If you sweat excessively, using antiperspirants deodorants is suggested. The antiperspirants block the sweat glands reduce the perspiration and body odor. If you get a stronger body odor, use can use a product with a higher percentage of active ingredients to get rid of body odor.

To Combat Body Odor, Wear Breathable Clothes. Certain fabrics like cotton allow the skin to breathe and sweat to evaporate, thus resulting in lesser body odor. Avoid wearing fabrics such as nylon, polyesters, and rayon to keep the body odor away.

To Prevent Body Odor, Avoid Spicy & Pungent Food. Spicy foods, such as curry, garlic, spicy peppers, and even alcohol cause more pungent sweat. Reducing spicy food in diet can help eliminate body odor.

If you have tried everything and see no improvement in the body odor, consult a doctor. Something else might need to be addressed to alleviate body odor. In extreme cases of sweating and body odor, there are certain other fixes which would help, such as antibiotics, botox, laser treatments or even surgery of the sweat glands.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 30, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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