The odor produced by our bodies is the result of bacteria living on the skin that breaks down protein into acids. This distinctive body odor comes when people sweat and is also known as B.O., bromhidrosis, osmidrosis, ozochrotia, or bromidrosis. Although this is natural, there are ways of improving the scent your body produces. You can get rid of this unpleasant smell by controlling the healthy and unhealthy bacteria living on your skin.


What Causes of Bad Body Odor

What is Body Odor?

Each person’s unique odor can be influenced by diet, gender, health, and medication. This smell can have a distinctive scent to the specific individual. Perspiration itself is virtually odorless to humans. In most instances, this odor becomes evident when humans reach puberty.



What Might Cause a Person to Smell?

It is the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of perspiration and the breaking down of this moisture into acids that causes the unpleasant scent. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and hyperhidrosis, are more susceptible to an unpleasant odor.

Essentially, it depends on where this perspiration is being produced and what type of sweat glands are involved. Odor can originate in the following places:


  • Anus
  • Behind the ears
  • Belly button
  • Anywhere hair is present
  • Genitals
  • Armpits
  • Groin
  • Feet


What Can Cause Body Odor?

The glands responsible for causing you to perspire and leading to odor are generally apocrine. These are glands located in the underarms region, eyelids, genital area, breasts, and ears. In the breasts, these glands secrete fat droplets found in breast milk while the ones found in the ears help form earwax. These glands are generally responsible for creating odor because the perspiration produced is high in protein and germs that can be broken down easily. Apocrine glands are in the skin and the eyelids, and you can find apocrine glands in the groin, underarms, and around the nipples.



How Do You Keep Yourself Squeaky Clean and Smelling Fresh?

When the bacteria living on your skin’s surface mixes with this moisture, an unpleasant scent may occur. You can shower to wash away sweat and remove some of these germs, which lowers the risk of such odors forming. Washing thoroughly, especially in the areas where you tend to perspire, can help reduce this from occurring.



The Best Body Odor Treatment Options

There is a list of treatments available. However, following these tips may help control the smells our bodies produce:

      • Wash daily: Have a bath or shower at least once a day. It’s important to remember that warm water helps kill bacteria present on your skin’s surface. If you’re living in a hot area, washing more than once is recommended.
      • Only wearing suitable clothes: natural fibers ensure your skin can breathe, which helps with airflow. Hence, effective evaporation can take place, reducing sweat build-up.
      •  Avoid spicy foods (like garlic, curry, and red meat): Spicy and other certain foods have the potential to make perspiration more pungent. Some experts have medically reviewed red meat and have found it may raise the risks of developing rapid and unpleasant smells. Alcohol can exasperate body odor, too.
      • Your shoes: Fitness and other types of sneakers you use should breathe well. However, if you choose to wear leather boots and other attire, you shouldn’t walk sock-free, as this can cause unpleasant scents coming from your feet.


Easy Treatments to Consider

When looking at medically-reviewed treatments, one treatment involves the underarms. This is because a large concentration of apocrine gland ducts is present in the underarms, which makes this area susceptible to underarm smell. Nonetheless, you can remove this underarm odor by following these steps:

      • Keep your armpits clean: Wash regularly with any anti-bacterial soap. This helps limit the bacteria that live on your skin’s surface, resulting in less smelly underarms.
      • Remove any hair on your armpits: Having hair in areas where perspiration glands are present can slow down the evaporation process. This gives the bacteria on your skin’s surface more time to break down into smelly substances. Nonetheless, shaving your underarms regularly may help regulate these odors while stopping excess perspiration and unpleasant scents that occur from these regions.


How Can Deodorant Help?

Aluminum chloride is the main active ingredient in antiperspirants. This, along with other ingredients in these deodorants, make the skin’s surface more acidic. Such ingredients make it more challenging for bacteria on your skin to live, helping stop smelly substances from forming.

Antiperspirant is another feature included in most deodorants, which blocks the sweating action in your glands, resulting in less sweat production. Nonetheless, some peer-reviewed studies and more professional research from Mayo Clinic have shown that these antiperspirants may be linked to prostate or breast cancer.

If your body doesn’t respond to the remedies mentioned and these symptoms persist, talk to a pharmacist or your doctor about a suitable product containing aluminum chloride. Additionally, these issues may be related to your stage of life, which is why professional advice is always recommended. This sudden change in your body’s perspiration may be from medications, infections, stress, heart rate, blood sugar, those who eat a spicy diet, and injury.



When Should You See a Doctor?

Some conditions can alter how we perspire, changing the way we smell while other circumstances can change how much we perspire. For example, menopause or an overactive thyroid gland can make people perspire more. In such instances, advice, diagnosis, or treatment can only be offered by a medical professional.

You must go to a doctor, as these are the only individuals who can provide medical advice, diagnosis, and a suitable treatment plan. Liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes can change the consistency of sweat so that the person smells differently. A fruity smell could indicate diabetes due to high levels of ketones in the bloodstream. Urine-like scents may be a sign of liver or kidney infection. You should also see your doctor if your body’s scent is different than usual.

It’s highly recommended to see your doctor if you notice the following problems (as these can be symptoms of a medical emergency):

  • You’re experiencing cold sweats.
  • You have begun sweating at night.
  • Sweating has started disrupting your daily routine.
  • You’re experiencing excessive sweating more than you normally do without having a plausible explanation for this.

In some instances, this may be caused by an underlying infection of some sort. It isn’t a good sign if you’re in pain. Hence, medical attention is essential to find out if this is an infection and what may be done to return you to normal health. Ear discharge, bad breath, and other symptoms could be a sign that children need medical attention.


The Bottom Line

Take these considerations into account the next time you find yourself smelling a little strange during your day and seek immediate medical attention if you experience the symptoms outlined above.