What’s That Stench? Everything You Need to Know About Body Odor

Body Odor 101 - hygiene for men

We are all familiar with body odor.  It is that all too familiar stench that emanates from another person and, sometimes, from our very own armpits when we “forgot” to take a shower. There are various causes of body odor such as diet, genetics and certain illnesses but the most common is the lethal combination of sweat and bacteria aggravated by poor hygiene.

Humans have two types of sweat glands. One type produces eccrine perspiration which helps lower body temperature, like when we exercise or when it’s really hot. These sweat glands are found all over the body. The other type is found in such areas as armpits, groin, hands, and feet, and produces apocrine sweat.

Most Common Cause of Body Odor

Both type of sweat do not smell. But unlike eccrine sweat, apocrine sweat contains fats and proteins that bacteria love to feed on. Trouble starts to brew when multitudes of bacteria feed on and break down the fat and proteins in apocrine sweat to form malodorous byproducts otherwise known as garden variety B.O.

While both sexes suffer from this reeking malady, it is men who are more prone to body odor because they perspire almost twice as more as women do and have more body hair. Unkempt body hair provides warmth and encourages sweating, thus creating an ideal environment for bacteria to proliferate. Not to mention the fact that men are slobs by nature.

Other Causes of B.O.

Diet. The food you consume can affect how you smell. Certain aromatic herbs and spices such garlic, onion, cumin and curry are believed to excrete strong odors through the pores of the skin.  Crucifers such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other sulfur-rich vegetables also release a pungent scent. Caffeinated beverages such as cola, coffee and chocolate are found to contribute to odor because they stimulate apocrine sweat glands.

Obesity. Overweight people tend to perspire more and excrete “fatty” sweat, thus increasing their risk of having body odor.  They also have more folds and creases on their skin that trap dead skin cells, dirt and sweat, which serve as oasis for odor-causing bacteria.

Illnesses. Medical conditions, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, hypoglycemia, liver and/or kidney dysfunction and sterss or anxiety are also linked to body odor because they cause excessive sweating.

Genetics. Some people are genetically predisposed to body odor. Researches suggested that Hyperhidrosis and Bromhidrosis, pathological conditions characterized by severe sweating and permanent body odor, are caused by a genetic trait. People with known family history of these conditions are most likely to suffer from body odor.

Treating Body Odor

Body odor is not something to look down your nose at. It can become a serious issue that may lead to a variety of personal and social problems including feelings of shame, embarrassment, low self-esteem, isolation, frustration, anxiety and depression.  If you are, or someone you know, have body, the following tips may help resolve the issue.

Practice good personal hygiene. Take a bath daily, using soap and warm water, to get rid of dirt, sweat and bacteria on your skin. Make sure to rinse off properly to avoid soap buildup on skin which can also cause bacterial growth.

Dry yourself thoroughly with a clean towel before dressing up. Bacteria loves moisture so don’t give them a damp environment to grow particularly in the armpits, crotch area and feet.

Apply deodorant with anti-bacterial ingredients. Antiperspirants, which clogs sweat glands, may also help by leaving bacteria with nothing to feed on.

Pubic hair and layers of clothing makes the groin area prone to sweating and body odor. Apart from thorough washing, trimming the hair and applying a man parts deodorizer is a must to keep the area clean and fresh.

Only wear clean clothes, underwear and socks. Choose a laundry detergent that do not contain hash chemicals that may irritate skin. Wear clothes made from natural fibers that absorb sweat and avoid clothing made from synthetic materials which prevents the skin to breathe.

Change your diet. Lessen intake or avoid altogether beverages and food that contribute to body odor.  Drink plenty of water to keep eccrine sweat glands active.  This will help dilute apocrine perspiration and reduce body odor.

Avoid stess. Practice relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation, as they teach you to control the stress that triggers perspiration.

Other remedies. Several medical procedures may resolve excessive sweating such as Botulinum toxin (Botox) injection and surgical removal of sweat glands on the armpits.

If body odor persists after following these tips, it may be caused by a more serious condition and it might be best to consult a medical professional to address the problem.

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