Body Odor - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Body Odor?

Unpleasant smell coming from underarms, groin, scalp and feet is referred to as Body Odor. It is also associated with skin in general, genitals, mouth, anus, and pubic hairs. It has been a great concern for both men and women as they will not be able to move freely in public places.
Bromhidrosis, osmidrosis and ozochrotia are the medicinal terms that are used to refer body odor.

Body odor is found in both men and women but not in kids. This is because the glands that are responsible for unpleasant odor do not develop for them. They become active only after puberty where the gland stimulates the hormones and protein. The production of oil from the genitals also increases during this stage which results in bad odor.

Causes of Body Odor

Body odor is usually caused by bacteria and not due to sweat. But bacteria grow rapidly in the presence of sweat. When bacteria growing on skin comes in contact with sweat and decomposes it there arises an unpleasant smell.

There are two kinds of sweat producing glands present in skin.

1. Eccrine glands - produce cooling and watery liquid and
2. Apocrine glands - produces a milky secretion.

Eccrine glands are found all over the body. Apocrine glands are found in the underarms and groins as well as in the glands. The secretion from apocrine gland is decomposed by the bacteria and this result in unpleasant body odor. The unpleasant odor is mainly produced when anaerobic bacteria like micrococci and corynebacteria decompose sweat.

Body odor that is found in the armpits and in the genitals is different from the one produced in other parts of the body. The sweat produced in armpits and genitals consists of protein and oily substance that feeds the bacteria. This may not be the cause in other parts of the body as the sweat produced there is salty and watery that does not allow the bacteria to grow.

Symptoms of Body Odor

Unpleasant or pungent smell is the possible symptom of body odor. We can feel the unpleasant smell more in summer than in winter. The smell can be reduced by taking a bath. There is a chance that it may come back if we wear unwashed or dirty clothes.
Diet also plays an important role for body odor to occur to an individual. Foods like garlic, curry, and strong spices contain some chemicals that are excreted in the skin. This also produces unpleasant smell on the body.

Prevention of Body Odor

The following are the important ways to prevent body odor.

1. Maintaining personal hygiene can very well help to control body odor.

2. Take bath twice daily to control body odor.

3. Change clothes at least twice a day to avoid smell to emit from clothes.

4. Wash clothes properly to remove the sweat and kill the bacteria that might have got transferred from the skin to the clothes.

5. Use deodorant with pleasant fragrance and antiperspirants that helps to control sweat.

The above mentioned points will help you to reduce or control sweat but not completely cure it. This is because we cannot stop sweating from our body and it is a malaise to human. So take necessary steps to control sweat and body odor by maintaining personal hygiene and using good deodorant.

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