Body Odor, also known as BO, Bromhidrosis, Osmidrosis, or Ozochrotia, can occur when bacteria living on the skin break sweat down into acids, hence, our bodies can emit unpleasant odors.
Some say it’s the smell of bacteria growing on the body, but it’s actually the result of bacteria breaking down proteins into certain acids.
WHAT IS BODY ODOR
Body Odor is an unpleasant smell our body gives off that other people may find offensive.
Everyone has a unique body odor (BO) that can be pleasant or subtle, but when we think of BO, we usually think of unpleasant odors.
Changes in body odor may be due to puberty, excessive sweating, or poor hygiene. Sudden changes are usually caused by the environment, drugs, or the food you eat.
However, body odor, especially sudden and persistent changes to your normal odor, can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition.
AREAS BODY ODOR LIKELY TO OCCUR
Body odor will most likely occur in the following areas of the body:
- belly button
- behind the ears
- pubic hair
You may also notice a sudden smell of stool, urine, earwax, or genital secretions. The smell may vary regardless of the location. It can be foul, pungent, fishy, sour, bitter, and even sweet.
The other symptoms you experience will depend on the cause. If the change in smell is due to infection, the smell may also be followed by:
Body odor can have a pleasant and specific odor to individuals, and can be used to identify people, especially dogs and other animals. Each person’s unique body odor can be affected by diet, sex, health and drugs.
WHAT CAUSES BODY ODOR
Body odor is caused by bacteria breaking down sweat and is largely associated with the Apocrine gland. Most body odors come from these.
These glands are found in the breast, genital area, eyelids, armpits and ears. In the breast, they secrete fat drops into breast milk. In the ears, they contribute to the formation of earwax. The parietal secretory glands of the skin and eyelids are sweat glands.
Most of the apocrine secretory glands in the skin are located around the groin, armpits and nipples. On the skin, they usually have a smell. They’re odorant glands.
Apocrine secretory glands are mainly responsible for body odor, because the sweat they produce is high in protein and bacteria can easily break down.
Your environment, what you eat, the medications you take, changes in hormone levels, or underlying illness can all be behind sudden changes in body odor.
Changes in body odor can be a normal part of development, for example when a teenager is going through puberty. During puberty, sweat glands and hormones become more active, which can cause BO.
If you’ve been exercising, excessive sweat can be the culprit. Also, if you do not wear antiperspirants or practice healthy hygiene habits, sweat can be mixed with bacteria, causing an unpleasant odor.
If the body odor is persistent and accompanied by other symptoms, it may be something else.
HOW TO PREVENT BODY ODOR
Large concentrations of apocrine secretory glands are present in the armpits, making the area susceptible to the rapid development of body odor.
The following steps may help control armpit odors:
1) Keep armpits clean: wash regularly with antibacterial soap, the number of bacteria will remain low, thereby reducing body odor.
When there is hair under the armpits, it slows down the evaporation of sweat, giving bacteria more time to break it down into smelly substances. Regular shaving of armpits has been found to help control body odor in this area.
2) Deodorants or Antiperspirants: Deodorants make the skin more acidic and make it harder for bacteria to thrive. Antiperspirants prevent the sweating effect of the glands, thereby reducing sweating. However, some studies have shown that antiperspirants may be associated with breast or prostate cancer risk.
TREATMENT OF BODY ODOR
Body odor can be put under control through the following steps:
- AVOIDING SPICY FOODS: Foods like Curry, garlic and other spicy foods have the potential to make some people’s sweat more pungent. Some experts believe that a diet high in red meat may also raise the risk of developing a faster body odor.
- BATH DAILY WITH WARM WATER: Take a shower or bath at least once a day. Keep in mind that warm water helps kill the bacteria present on your skin. If the weather is unusually hot, consider taking a bath several times a day.
- CLOTHING: Natural fibers allow your skin to breathe, causing better sweat to evaporate. Natural fibers include wool, silk or cotton.
- SURGERY: When self-care and medicinal measures are not effective in treating severe body odor, doctors can perform a surgical procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathetic Sympathectomy (ETS), destroying the sweat-controlling nerves under the skin of the armpits.