Body Odor: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Body odor is a common concern among many individuals. Much as everyone has their distinct body odor, which can be pleasant or bad, people commonly associate body odor with an unpleasant stench. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, if you have body odor, everyone will know when they come close to you.

Body odor changes might be caused by puberty, excessive sweating, or inadequate cleanliness. On the other hand, the environment, drugs, or the foods you eat are the most common causes of sudden changes.

This article will cover all you need to know about body odor, from where it occurs, its causes, prevention, and how to deal with it.

Let’s begin.

Causes of Body Odor.

Usually, sweating is your body’s method of temperature regulation. But when your sweat comes into contact with microorganisms, it causes body odor. Even though sweat has no odor, germs use it as a breeding site and reproduce quickly. It is a frequent issue, but it may significantly impact people’s quality of life.

What you smell is usually bacteria-related keratin protein that breaks down on your skin’s surface, producing an unpleasant odor.

However, note that a sudden strong body odor can indicate an underlying disease. The rise of androgens, or male hormones, causes body odor to start around adolescence. You will realize that until puberty, these hormones are inactive. That’s why body odor isn’t an issue when you’re a youngster.

There are many causes of bad body smells, including;

1. Diet

A sudden, transitory change in body odor can be caused by what you eat. Garlic, curry, asparagus, and onions are examples of fatty, oily, or strong-smelling meals that can soak through your pores and generate body odor. Unless the food is consumed daily, the smell will dissipate once the food has been metabolized.

On the other hand, some foods might cause one to release more gas. That could cause a foul odor depending on your meals and how much gas you release. These foods include broccoli and cauliflower.

Smoking tobacco products can also cause bad breath, which can be associated with body odor.

body odor

2. Certain Health Conditions.

Medical conditions like diabetes, liver disease, or renal disease can cause body odor. Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. It causes elevated blood sugar levels.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that can occur when blood sugar levels are incredibly high. Ketones accumulate in the body in harmful quantities and are excreted in the blood and urine.

These conditions have a slight difference in smell, which means they can be used as diagnostic instruments. As you might expect, they’re all medical conditions, so if you discover any of them, you should contact your doctor right away.

body odor
medical conditions

3. Changes in Hormones

Did you know that hormonal changes may lead to body odor? From perimenopause (the period just before menopause) to early adolescence, hormonal alterations are a significant source of increased sweating.

When estrogen levels fall during menopause, the body sometimes misinterprets this as a sign of hyperthermia. Excessive sweating is a result of this hormonal shift, which can contribute to body odour. Pregnant women typically experience waves of sweatiness due to the enormous hormonal upheaval that comes with conception and bearing a fetus.


4. Stress

body odor

Stress and anxiety might cause you to sweat more than usual, resulting in a harsher odor.

You sweat excessively and uncontrollably if you have hyperhidrosis disorder. The eccrine and apocrine sweat glands, it turns out, are two different types of sweat glands.

The sweat we use to cool down, which is primarily water, is excreted by eccrine glands. When we’re anxious or agitated, we produce apocrine sweat, making it ideal for bacteria to hold a sweat-based pool party. So, if you smell weird after a lengthy, tense meeting,  it’s because your body is reacting to the increased stress levels.

5. Overweight-related Issues.

Any person who is overweight will probably sweat more than someone who is underweight. Skin creases can collect sweat and bacteria, allowing body odor to thrive.



6. Heavy Exercises.

Heavy exercises often result in excessive sweating. Anybody working out a lot will end up sweating obtrusively. When that happens, you tend to have an unpleasant body odor.

body odor

7. Some Medications

Some medications will automatically lead to strong body odor—drugs such as antidepressants may lead to a person developing body odor.

body odor

8. Hot Weather

Hot weather is another reason for sweating. Anyone under the hot sun will sweat, and when this happens, there is a particular body odor.


Prevention tips for Body Odor.

1. Taking Your Shower Every Day

Shower everyday

Showering frequency is a matter of personal opinion, but if you’re suffering unpleasant body odor, you may wish to increase your bathing frequency. Showering removes dead skin cells, grime, germs, and oils from the skin. At least once or twice a day, take a shower. Bathing thoroughly can reduce body odors, especially in places where you sweat a lot.

2. Using Soap to Bath

Shower with soap
Shower with soap

The recommendation for a bathing soap is anti-bacterial soap. That helps to get rid of some bacteria on the body, reducing body odor.

3. Wearing Clean Clothes Always

When you’re sweating a lot, you should change your clothes frequently. Wearing clean clothes can also help reduce body odor. When feasible, wear deodorant powders in your shoes, replace your insoles often, and go barefoot.

4. Staying Hydrated

Drinking enough water is essential to our bodies. When you drink enough water, you get hydrated. That helps reduce the amount of salt in your sweat, and when this happens, you won’t experience a strong stench when you sweat. Beware not to drink excessive water, for this might result in water intoxication due to electrolyte imbalances, which could be dangerous.

5. Cutting Out on Certain Foods

Your body odor is influenced by what you consume. It can be caused by foods that make you sweat more, such as hot peppers or other spicy foods. Sweat can also carry food aromas such as onion and garlic.

You can replace these foods with fruits which are good for your overall health, including heart health. Caffeine and alcohol-containing beverages may cause you to sweat more. It would be best if you avoided strong-smelling meals because they may permeate through your pores.

If you consume these foods regularly, consider reducing or eliminating them to see if it improves the sweetness of your sweat.

6. Using a Clean and Dry Towel to Wipe Yourself

Body odor
Clean towel

If you want to deal with body odor, observe high cleanliness levels. For instance, ensure you use a clean and dry towel to wipe yourself after you take your bath. It will also be helpful to focus more on your body’s sensitive and sweaty parts, like the armpits.

7. Shaving Shave

Body odor can be dealt with by shaving and armpit care. Hair can delay sweat evaporation in places like the armpits, giving bacteria more time to break down proteins and produce odorants. Shaving can aid in the regulation of body odor in that area.

Keep your underarms dry at all times. Bacteria have a hard time reproducing in dry body parts. Shaving your underarms can help prevent germs buildup and minimize sweat and odor. Hair-covered areas, such as the armpits and the pubic area, are densely packed with apocrine glands.

Hair traps sweat and creates an ideal habitat for bacteria to thrive. Hair removal is a practical approach to reduce the stench smell.


8. Choosing the Right Underarm Products.

Strange sells usually emanate from the underarms, among other body parts. So it is only wise to ensure you pay much attention to the underarm. First, make sure you’re using the right underarm products. The most common underarm products are usually deodorants and antiperspirants. So choose wisely.

Deodorants make bacteria’s residence in your underarms less inviting. They also use scent to assist cover bodily odor. On the other hand, antiperspirants work by blocking sweat glands and thereby reducing sweating. So you can decide to use them together or interchangeably.

Deodorants are the way to go if you don’t sweat much yet still have body odor. If you sweat a lot, look for a product that has both antiperspirant and deodorant labels. The vital rule of thumb here is to wash your underarms so well, dry them up before applying your deodorant or antiperspirant.

Body odor treatment.

Usually, body odor can be handled through life, hygiene and diet changes/adjustments. However, some people still have that bad stench even after trying all the suggested tips.

In such kind of scenarios, doctors usually recommend surgery or medications such as antiperspirants and deodorants containing aluminum chloride or Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections in the armpit region.

Consult your doctor before opting for any of these options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does body odor occur?

Body odor is most likely to happen in the following different body parts, especially those that tend to be sweaty, including;

  • In between fingers.
  • Feet.
  • Groin.
  • Armpits/underarms.
  • Genitals(male and female).
  • Pubic and other hairs.
  • Belly button area.
  • Anus.
  • Behind or in the ears.

When should you see a doctor about body odor?

If you begin to experience night sweats, excessive sweating, cold sweats, and changes in your sweating that affect your body odor and general daily life, you should think about seeing a doctor.

Seeing a doctor helps to determine the root cause of the sudden changes to your sweat.

What causes strong body odor?

Strong body odor can be caused by hygiene-related issues, hormone changes, the food you consume, infections, some medications or underlying conditions like diabetes, among other reasons.

Assess your habits to determine what might contribute to sudden strong odors.

How do you stop body odor?

To stop body odor, shower daily and with soap, shave your underarms, watch your diet, drink enough water, wipe yourself after a shower with clean towels and choose your personal hygiene products well.

What are the five causes of body odor?

The 5 causes of body odors include hormone changes, diet, condition, personal hygiene products, and inadequate hydration.

Can body odor be removed?

Body odor can be removed through showers, shaving, and the best hygiene products, such as deodorants and antiperspirants.

What do you do to avoid body odor? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

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