Body odour is what you smell when your sweat comes in contact with the bacteria on your skin. Sweat itself doesn’t smell, but when the bacteria on your skin mix with your sweat, it causes an odour. Body odour can smell sweet, sour, tangy or like onions. The amount you sweat doesn’t necessarily impact your body odour.
That’s why a person can have an unpleasant body odour but not be sweaty. Conversely, a person can sweat excessively but not smell. This is because body odour is a result of the type of bacteria on your skin and how that bacteria interacts with sweat, not the sweat itself.
Why does my sweat smell bad?
There can be several reasons your sweat smells bad. For example, certain medications, supplements or foods can make your sweat smell bad. Remember, the sweat itself isn’t what smells; it’s the bacteria on your skin combined with the sweat.
Several medical conditions and diseases are associated with changes in a person’s usual body scent:
If you have diabetes, a change in body odour could be a sign of diabetes-related ketoacidosis. High ketone levels cause your blood to become acidic and your body odour to be fruity. In the case of liver or kidney disease, your odour may give off a bleach-like smell due to toxin buildup in your body.
Do hormonal changes cause body odour to smell?
Yes, changes in hormones can cause your body odour to smell. Hot flashes, night sweats and hormonal fluctuations experienced during menopause cause excessive sweating, which leads to changes in body odour. Some people believe their body odour changes when they’re pregnant or menstruating. Research suggests a person’s body odour changes during ovulation (the time in a person’s menstrual cycle when they can become pregnant) to attract a mate.
Can certain foods cause body odour?
The saying, “you are what you eat,” may apply to body odour. If you eat food rich in sulfur you may develop body odour. Sulfur smells like rotten eggs. When it’s secreted from your body in your sweat, it can put off an unpleasant smell. Examples of sulfur-rich foods are:
Other common dietary triggers of bad body odour are:
Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Spices like curry or cumin.
Hot sauce or other spicy food.
Eliminating or reducing these triggers may help improve your body odour.
How do you get rid of body odour naturally?
If you want a more natural approach to treating armpit body odour, there may be options that work. Talk to your healthcare provider about:
Baking soda: Make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to your armpits and let it dry. Baking soda balances the acid on your skin and reduces odours.
Green tea: Put green tea bags in warm water. Place the soaked tea bags under your armpits for several minutes a day. Green tea may help block your pores and reduce sweating.
Apple cider vinegar: Mix apple cider vinegar with a small amount of water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto your armpits. The acid in the vinegar helps kill bacteria.
Lemon juice: Mix lemon juice and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture under your arms. The citric acid in lemon juice kills bacteria.
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