Body odor can be defined as the smell that comes from our bodies which is unpleasant. It is mostly caused by bacteria that cultivate on the skin. When the bacteria break down proteins into acids, it causes body odor. The smell is usually not that evident unless a person fails to take the necessary measures to control it. Body odor usually develops in puberty. Other people who are prone to body odor are those that eat spicy foods, those that suffer from diabetes and those that are obese. When body odor is present, there are two kinds of acids that can be detected. The first one is Propionic acid which is found in sweat. Propionic bacteria are responsible for breaking down amino acid into propionic acid. These bacteria are known to live sebaceous glands of adolescents and adults. Propionic acid sometimes gives off a smell similar to vinegar. The second type of acid that can be identified is isovaleric acid which is formed when staphylococcus epidermis bacteria works on the body’s skin. This kind of bacteria can be found on certain kinds of cheese.
In majority of cases, body odor does not require you to seek medical advice. However, there are times when a person should be concerned. If you find that you are sweating more than normal especially at night or sweating seems to be interfering with your daily routine, then it is time for you to see a doctor. Excessive sweating may be sign of an underlying medical condition.
Causes of Body Odor
Body odor is caused by a variety of factors some of which ay require immediate medical attention. Below is a list of the likely causes of body odor:
- Bacteria: Many people assume that perspiration is the cause of body odor. However, this assumption is not entirely true because body odor cannot cause body odor all by itself. This is because on its own it does not have a smell. However, there are certain bacteria that are responsible for bodily odor. For instance, anaerobic bacteria manifest when the body does not have sufficient oxygen. This might be an underlying cause of body odor.
- Toxins: Toxins are known to be an underlying cause of bad body odor. In the world that we live in, our environment is full of toxins. The toxins can get into our bodies through the food that we eat, the air as well as from our homes. These toxins can accumulate in the body such that the rate at which they are expelled is lower than the rate at which they get into our bodies. This result in the clogging of our intestines and liver thus causing the body to smell. Some people are required to detoxify after a certain period of time due to the accumulation of toxins in the body.
- Imbalances in the diet may be another cause of body odor. When we fail to include certain foods in our diets that aid in digestion, we become prone to body odor. Constipation may result from lack of including fiber in our diets. In addition, a deficiency in certain minerals such as zinc or magnesium may cause our bodies to release an unpleasant smell. Those who consume large amounts of meat or eat pure vegetarian products can have body odors that are quite offensive. Some people’s bodies may not have the capacity to digest certain amounts of choline in the body which is mostly found in eggs, legumes and liver. Since their bodies are not able to metabolize choline, what results is a “fishy” smell. While dietary imbalances may also be a cause of body odor, other people add too many spices to their foods. Spices such as garlic and curry are prime causes of body odor. In addition, onions, alcohol and coffees can also contribute to bad body odor. Foods that contain certain oils and rancid fats should also be taken at minimum quantities to avoid bad body odors.
- Sex hormones are believed to be the main cause of body odor. When these hormones increase in the body, they trigger the release of a substance that is contained in the sweat glands under the arms and the groin. The substance that is released usually contains lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. These substances are in turn attacked by bacteria which results in bad body odor. In addition, the rate at which young boys and girls begin puberty has increased. Many of them reach puberty earlier. This results in a sudden change of hormones in the body which may lead to body odor. Experts believe that the main trigger for early puberty is estrogen dominance which results from petro chemical products. Further more, the intake of large amounts of sodas from plastic bottles is also another cause of estrogen dominance.
- Underlying medical conditions may also be another underlying cause of body odor. Diseases such as diabetes, parasites, menopause, liver disease, low blood sugar, among other diseases may be related to bad body odor.
Symptoms of Body Odor
Smells that are produced by our bodies are known as odor symptoms. These smells could be vaginal odor, ear odor, fecal odor, or urine odor. However, the most common symptoms of odor are body and breath odors.
- Body odor is usually associated with the break down of sweat by skin bacteria. When we sweat in hot climate or when we are under emotional stress or during physical training, our bodies may release a bad smell.
- Bad breath is usually as a result of bad oral health. Other causes may be infection of the gums and salivary glands. Respiratory infections, smoking and a dry mouth also lead to bad breath.
Most body odor symptoms can easily be taken care of through good hygiene. However if the odor symptoms persist then you should seek medical advice.
Body Odor Home Remedies
The following are some of the home remedies for bad body odor. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Keep the armpits clean -Keep the armpits clean by washing them regularly with anti bacterial soap. Ensure that you also regularly have your armpits and remove all hairs. The hair under the armpits usually slows down the rate at which sweat evaporates. The use of antiperspirants and deodorant also helps in preventing body odor. The two products create an acidic environment that makes it inhabitable for bacteria.
- Shower regularly– Take a shower regularly to prevent your body from developing a bad smell. It is advisable that you take a warm shower to kill any bacteria on the skin.
- Wear clothes that fit properly– You should also wear clothing that is fitting and gives your skin space to breathe. This is because sweat will evaporate much faster and will not encourage the manifestation of bacteria. Natural fibers such as cotton are preferred.
- Avoid spicy foods– Avoid spicy foods such as garlic and curry which are underlying causes for bad body odor. They tend to make the sweat glands develop a pungent smell. Fibers that have high amounts of met should also be avoided.
- Maintain good hygiene-Treat any underlying medical condition and observe good body hygiene
- Sage- Use of sage externally or internally can help in minimizing bad odor from the body. Oil found in sage acts as an antibiotic and antiseptic while the compound of dry sage dries up perspiration. For effective result, sage should be added in tea and applied directly on the skin. For faster realization of the desired results, sage should be applied and taken orally on daily basis.
- Chlorophyll- Bad odor can be combated using chlorophyll. This is the plants' green pigment. Chlorophyll works by neutralizing acids found on the body surface. These acids are the major causes of bad odor. Chlorophyll also contributes in cleansing of the intestinal tracts. It can be added in water or juice if the user is not comfortable with its taste.
- Fennel- Fennel seed also works very well in treating body odor. Fennel treats not only the bad odor, but bad breath and indigestion as well. Fennel should be taken after meals. It can also be taken like tea made by crushing two o three teaspoons of the fennel seeds. Leave your tea to simmer for about 15 minutes before drinking. Continued consumption of fennel tea over a long duration will result to the disappearance of the body odor.
- Barberry- Combining barberry with tea can also help in reducing body odor. You can use yellow dock and nettle combined with barberry in equal amounts. Consumption of these three herbs on daily basis helps in diminishing sweat and body odor. You can also take seeds of grapefruit at least thrice per day for effective results.
Diet for Body Odor
The following are some of the foods that you should avoid to prevent bad body odor:
- Choline: foods such as eggs, legumes, etc that contain choline make the body smell fishy and therefore should be avoided or taken in smaller quantities.
- Tobacco is another product that should be avoided as much as possible because it makes your body develop a distinctive smell that may not be pleasant.
- Fried foods may develop rancid acid over time which may cause your body to develop bad odors as well as develop indigestion problems.
- Spices that have a strong aroma will be ingested into the body and in turn produce sulfur gas. The gas will be absorbed into the blood stream and eliminated through the skin pores or the lungs. This in turn will cause your body to produce a pungent smell.
- Excessive intake of red meat is also another factor that may case bad body odor. Red meat takes a longer time to digest in the body. Undigested food in the body causes the release of toxins and pungent gases which are released through sweat glands making perspiration to smell badly.
Prevention of Body Odor
Body odor can be prevented in a number of ways as listed below:
- Good nutrition is recommended if you want to prevent body odor. Experts advice that you increase your intake of water to 8 glasses per day; minimum 6 glasses. When the body has enough water in the body, it increases the dilution of apocrine sweat. This is the sweat that smells. Taking water alone will not guarantee the dilution of apocrine sweat. Reducing the intake of caffeine, artificial drinks and chocolate will also help in reducing stinky sweat.
- Good hygiene is also a contributing factor to smelling nice. Taking a shower at least once a day with anti bacterial soap will help to get rid of skin bacteria that manifests on the body.
- The use of deodorants goes a long way into reducing body odor. The key element is to find a deodorant that works for you. Deodorants that have aluminum or zinc as part of the ingredients will most likely help to prevent body odor because they help to fight off bacteria.
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