Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Armpit Odor in Toddlers

Sweat and body odor go together in adults. This is because body odor or bromhidrosis usually occurs due to the bacterial breakdown of sweat. However, body odor is not seen in toddlers because enough fatty acids and ammonia are not present in their sweat. This prevents the bacterial activity, and so no odor is produced in the toddlers. When toddlers have odor in areas like their armpits, it can be a sign of an underlying illness. Armpit odor in toddlers can also occur due to the colonization of certain bacterial strains. Read on to know more about armpit odor in toddlers.

What Causes Armpit Odor in Toddlers?

Apart from bacterial infections, other factors which can contribute to body odor in toddlers are presence of parasites in the body, hyperhidrosis and consumption of foods like meats, spicy foods, non-organic dairy products and eggs. Generally, body odor does not occur until a child attains puberty. If a child experiences puberty early, i.e. before 9 years in boys and 8 years in girls, it is considered as premature puberty or precocious puberty. During this period, armpit odor can be noted in that particular child.

Excessive sweating due to hot and humid climate can also lead to body odor in toddlers. Some unusual conditions which can cause bad body odor in toddlers are heavy metal toxicities, fish odor syndrome, and rare metabolic disorders like Phenylketonuria, Trimethylaminuria, Tyrosinemia type 1, methionine malabsorption metabolic disorder, and Diabetic ketoacidosis.

What are the Symptoms of Armpit Odor in Toddlers?

It is easy to notice the problem of body odor in toddlers, as they start smelling pungent when suffering from this problem. Armpit odor or odor in other parts of the body is observed in such toddlers. Armpit odor in toddlers itself is a symptom of some underlying disorder.

How Can Armpit Odor in Toddlers be Diagnosed?

Proper diagnosis is essential for proceeding with the appropriate treatment for armpit odor in toddlers. The toddler should be taken to a doctor for understanding the cause of body or armpit odor. The child should not be bathed before taking them to the doctor. The doctor can suggest tests, even genetic tests, to detect the primary cause of armpit odor in toddlers. If any metabolic disorder is not revealed in genetic testing, parents can try simple experiments to diagnose the exact cause for body odor in toddlers. Hormones in cow milk are one of the prime reasons for body odor or armpit odor in toddlers. So, regular milk can be switched with organic milk, i.e. cow milk should be substituted with almond or rice milk. However, soy milk should not be used as the phytoestrogens in it can interfere with hormonal development. Common foods like meat, eggs, corn and wheat can also be eliminated from the diet for diagnosing the body odor causing food.

How Can Armpit Odor in Toddlers be Treated?

Treating armpit odor in toddlers becomes easy once the underlying cause of body odor is identified. If the body odor is being caused due to bacterial infection, an antibiotic course to eliminate the odor-causing bacteria can be prescribed by the doctor. The homeopathic medicines, Silicea 6X or 6C, also work well with toddlers suffering from armpit odor. The doctor can also check for parasites in the toddler having body odor. Once the type of parasite causing the armpit odor in toddlers is identified, then subsequent treatment can be carried out.

How Can Armpit Odor in Toddlers be Prevented?

Prevention is always better than cure. Certain simple measures can help to keep body odor in toddlers at bay. By helping the toddler stay clean by following all the normal hygiene measures, bathing them every morning and evening, and regularly laundering their bedding and clothes, the build up of odor causing microbes can be prevented. Special antiperspirant aluminium chloride (Driclor) should be applied on the infant’s armpits to reduce sweating and prevent armpit odor in toddlers. Toddlers should not be fed foods like meat, non-organic milk, spicy meals containing chilli, onion and garlic. A dietician can also be consulted for getting a list of foods which should be avoided by the little one to prevent armpit odor. Parents should consult a doctor before using any deodorant or perfume on their toddler’s armpits. Using a mild deodorant, without antiperspirant, may be suggested by the doctor. However, compared to chemical laden deodorants, products containing sage tea, baking soda, diluted apple cider vinegar, diluted essential oils, natural baby wipes, and natural deodorant crystals are considered safer for use on toddlers suffering from armpit odor or body odor. But before using any natural substance, like essential oils, on the little one’s skin, they should first be tested on a small area on the child’s leg or hands to avoid allergies or infections.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 24, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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