Body odor can either make you run towards a person or run away from him or her. This unpleasant odor can be found anywhere you go, be it a mall, pub, theatre, bus, train it is everywhere. It can be one of the most disgusting things and most of the times people who have it may not know what to do about it.
What is Body Odor?
Body odor ( also known as B.O., bromhidrosis, osmidrosis, or ozochrotia.) is an unpleasant and disgusting smell as perceived by another person. It usually occurs when sweat from the body comes in contact with bacteria that lives on the skin.
In other words, when a skin that has bacteria sweats, and the bacteria breaks down protein in the body into certain acids, this smell becomes obvious and unpleasant to anyone close.
Although many may not know this, perspiration or sweat by itself is odorless to humans. It is the quick increase of bacteria while a person is sweating and their breaking down of sweat into acids that eventually causes the unpleasant smell.
Moreover, People who sweat a lot, are more likely to have body odor. This is because the salt level of their sweat is too high for the bacteria to break down. Also, It depends on where the excess sweating is occurring and which type of sweat glands are involved.
Excessive perspiration or sweating is known as “hyperhidrosis” and no perspiration is known as “anhidrosis”
Common areas of the body where body odor is most likely to occur include:
- Belly button
- Behind the ears
- Pubic hair
Body odor can either be pleasant or foul to an individual. Most times body odor is used to identify people, especially by dogs and other animals. Everyone has a unique body odor and often times can be influenced by food, lifestyle changes, and health condition.
Things that can influence body odor
Common things that can influence or cause body odor include:
- kind of job
- Medical conditions
- Dirty environment
- Unclean shoes or clothes
- Not bathing properly and regularly
Natural Treatments for body odor
Treating body odor all boils down to making some changes. Even though these changes are limited as one may not be able to change the race, gene and gender. However, the following natural steps may help control body odor:
Have a daily bath with warm water: Having a bath or shower under runny warm water helps you clean your body much easily. Remember that warm water helps kill off bacteria that are present on your skin. Have your bath at least once a day and wash those problematic ( groin and armpit) areas properly. If the weather is exceptionally hot, consider bathing more often than once a day.
Be deliberate of your clothing: Natural fibers allow your skin to breathe, resulting in better evaporation of sweat. Natural-made fibers include wool, silk or cotton. Wear clean and loose clothes everyday as it keeps you fresh and dry.
Consume less spicy foods: Have a balanced diet which is less spicy and involve good amount of protein plus lots of vegetables. Curry, garlic, and other spicy foods have the potential to make some people sweat more pungent. Some experts believe a diet high in red meat may also raise the risk of developing more rapid body odor.
Taking much liquid: Drinking lots of fluid and juices would also help in treating the condition.
Add honey to bath water : Adding a tablespoon of honey at the final rinse would keep you fresh all day.
Use Vinegar while bathing: A cup of vinegar in your bath water would help as well.
Add alum in your bath water: People who use this method usually allow the alum to dissolve before bathing. using alum would keep the odor in check.
Things you should avoid;
- Being overweight
- Tight-fitting clothes
- Spicy and oily food
- Excessive alcohol as it increases perspiration
- Excessive Coffee and tea intake
- Excessive consumption of chocolate, peanuts,
Medical treatments for body odor
Aluminum chloride: This substance is usually the main active ingredient in antiperspirants. If your body does not respond to the home remedies mentioned above, go to a pharmacy store and opt for a suitable medical product containing Aluminum Chloride. Follow the instructions given to you carefully.
Botulinum toxin: This is a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum; it is the most poisonous biological substance known. However, very small and controlled doses are today being used in various fields of medicine. A relatively new treatment is available for individuals who sweat excessively under the arms.
The individual is given approximately 12 injections of botulinum toxin in the armpits – a procedure that should not last more than 45 minutes. The toxin blocks the signals from the brain to the sweat glands, resulting in less sweating in the targeted area. One treatment can last from two to eight months.
Surgery: When self-care and medicinal measures are not effective at treating severe body odor, a doctor can perform a surgical procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) that destroys the sweating-controlling nerves below the skin of the armpits.
This procedure is a last resort and runs the risk of damage to other nerves and arteries in the area. It can also increase sweating in other parts of the body, known as compensatory sweating.
When to visit a doctor
Consider seeking medical treatment if:
- You have cold sweats.
- You start sweating at night.
- Sweating disrupts your daily routine.
- Your body smells different than usual.
- The smell may be related to toxin poisoning.
- You have any change in odor accompanied by signs of infection.
- You have been diagnosed with a health condition and it’s poorly managed.
- You start sweating much more than you normally do, without any logical reason.
- The bad odor is accompanied by pain, bleeding, or other serious symptoms.
- The odor doesn’t go away after trying all the natural steps mentioned above.
Proper hygiene eliminates body odor except in extreme cases where medical treatment will have to be sought. See your doctor immediately you notice any unusual smell within your body. This is because a fruity smell could mean you have diabetes and this is, as a result, of high levels of ketones in the bloodstream. A person suffering from Liver or kidney disease can often have a bleach-like smell due to a build-up of toxins in the body. So, it is important you visit a health specialist or your doctor as soon as you notice any foul smell.