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Armpit odor is a common problem that most people have suffered. You feel self-conscious while socializing with others. You have to deal with the problem when you sweat a lot. Smelly armpits are not dangerous. But, it becomes a cause of concern when you feel others can smell your body odor. You may think that others feel like you take little or no care for your hygiene. While you cannot avoid stinky days, there are steps to overcome the problem effectively. But, some cases need medical attention as the odor points to an underlying health condition. Before knowing the effective steps to minimize and prevent smelly armpits, you need to know more about it. With the proper information, you can avoid anxiety linked to the condition. Never let smelly armpits interfere with your personal and professional relationships.
Need To Address Armpit Odor
Sweating is a common phenomenon. It occurs when you are feeling warm or perform any physically demanding tasks (exercise or manual labor). You can also sweat when you feel nervous, anxiety or experience stress. While wiping sweat can make you frustrated, sweat also triggers body odor. So, you have to face sweat-stained top and pungent odor from your underarms and feet. While you blame the odor on rising mercury levels, you turn off people coming in close contact with you.
You tend to experience armpit odor in the summer as well as winter. But, summers are the worst as you feel self-conscious. No matter how much you shower, at the time it becomes difficult to get rid of the body odor. Excessive sweating, smelly underarms, and smelly feet usually mean a simple problem. But, it also signals a health problem. Therefore, you need to get to the root of the problem to understand the causes and take necessary action to deal with it.
Symptoms Of Armpit Odor
Body odor is a frustrating problem. So, you need to address the problem when you see the following signs:
- Sweating profusely
- Foul smell from underarms
- You notice a change in body odor
- Bad odor from armpits causes issues in your life
Causes Of Armpit Odor
You sweat due to the presence of sweat glands in your body. The two different types of gland present in your body are:
- Eccrine Glands
- Apocrine Glands
Eccrine glands are present on all surfaces of your body. It opens directly to the skin surface. The gland releases fluids to cool your body when it overheats. So, when the body temperature rises, the gland release sweat. You feel cool when it evaporated.
Smelly armpits are related to the secretions of your apocrine glands. While both types of sweat glands lead to foul odor, you suffer the most from the malodor from underarms. Apocrine glands are usually located in areas covered by your body hair. So, it is located mainly underarms and groin region. It releases milky fluid without any odor. But, when it comes in contact with the bacteria present on your skin, you start to stink.
Why You Develop Armpit Odor?
Your apocrine gland present underarm tends to produce thicker sweat. It is thicker compared to sweat produced by your eccrine glands. The sweat produced by the apocrine gland contains chemicals, known as pheromones. These hormones affect others. When sweat breaks down, it releases a foul smell. The apocrine glands become active after puberty. It is the reason why children never face the issue of body odor. Wondering how breaking down of sweat causes foul odor? The bacteria present in your body break down the sweat. When the reaction takes place, they produce smelly compounds. So, it converts your neutral armpit to the foul-smelling region. A particular species of bacteria reside in areas like underarms. It appears to grow in places having apocrine glands. These bacteria dine on the chemical produced by the glands.
When bacteria come in contact with you sweat, it converts into Sulphur compounds that have a foul odor to it. Several reasons cause body odor, including medical conditions and psychological problems. Read ahead to know the different reasons triggering the problem and the methods to deal with it effectively.
Reasons For Armpit Odor
You can classify the reasons into two categories based on the severity of the problem. People can suffer from smelly armpits due to the following:
People experiencing armpit odor can suffer from simple issues. These issues are easy to deal with. So, if you find the following issues, then you can deal it with some home remedies:
Poor Personal Hygiene
Not taking care of your body hygiene is one of the main reasons for smelly armpits. You can shower based on your personal preference. But, for a healthy body, you need to take a shower or bath at least once in a day or every other day. Using soaps or shower gel helps clean your skin. It washes away the dead skin cells, dry sweat, dirt, dead skin cells, and oils. When you forgo showering, these things accumulate and promote bacterial growth. It can lead to malodor.
Check Your Diet
Eating certain foods can change your body odor. It is because certain foods that can flush out through your skin. It can lead to sudden and strong smell from your underarms. You can experience such changes when you eat spices or garlic.
Hormones are chemicals needed by your body for functioning properly. It travels through your body and sends signals to the tissue to function. When you experience hormonal imbalance due to menstruation, menopause or adolescence, it can lead to excessive underarm sweating and subsequent foul odor.
Excess sweating and stress are interconnected. So, when you suffer from severe physical or mental stress, you tend to sweat profusely. It leads to foul odor from your body, including underarms. People who develop smelly armpits also feel stressed due to low self-esteem and loss of confidence due to the problem. It worsens the condition further.
If you suddenly start smelling bad, then it means you are suffering from some health problem triggering the problem. So, when you experience smelly underarms without any specific changes in your diet or lifestyle, see a doctor. It can indicate problems in your body requiring medical intervention. Without proper care, you can face serious health complications. The serious reason why you start smelling suddenly are:
The high blood sugar levels, also known as diabetes can lead to excessive sweating. Diabetes is known as a silent killer as it triggers several complications in your body. It is a serious and a lifelong condition, which needs medical management. Due to the condition, your body fails to produce enough insulin or cannot use it well to regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, your blood glucose levels increase. Without medical intervention, you develop a condition called ketoacidosis. It causes distinctive body odor, including smell like an old fruit bowl. So, get it checked by a doctor to avoid severe complications.
When important organs like liver or kidney malfunctions, then you can suffer from malodor. The organs are responsible for flushing out the toxins from the body after processing it. When you suffer from kidney or liver problems, your body fails to perform the function. So, the accumulation of toxins can lead to a strong body odor. Apart from the change in the urine, you can see other symptoms indicating disease or damage to the kidney/liver. So, it is important to check it with your doctor.
An overactive thyroid gland produces excess hormones that can trigger excessive sweating. So, you can experience smelly armpits. Thyroid problems have long-term issues as well as immediate health implications. When you sweat too much, you need to take it seriously. Therefore, consult a doctor.
When To See Doctor For Armpit Odor?
When you suffer from armpit odor, you tend to dismiss the issue. You never realize the seriousness associated with the condition. At the time the serious medical condition can change your sweating pattern and the smell of your sweat. In such cases, you have to see a doctor for identifying the medical conditions triggering the problem. When you see the following signs, see a doctor:
- Start sweating more than usual without any particular reason
- You experience cold sweats
- Experience night sweat
- The difference in your body odor
Medical conditions can make your armpits smell different than usual. Confused? For example, a fruit sweat smell indicates you have high levels of sugar in blood or diabetes. Your bloodstream has high levels of ketones, which causes the fruity smell. While kidney or liver problems can lead to your sweat smelling like bleach. It is due to the buildup of toxins due to the malfunctioning of the organs.
Diagnosis Of Armpit Odor
If you experience armpit odor and feel embarrassed due to it, then make an appointment with your doctor. It is also essential when you suspect any underlying health condition as the cause of the problem. Your doctor can perform the following tests to detect the exact reason triggering the problem:
Your doctor asks you questions to know about your medical history. It can help your doctor understand your condition and detect the actual problem.
The doctor performs a thorough physical examination to find any symptoms or signs indicating health problems triggering the condition.
You need to provide a sample of your urine for testing to detect any infection or kidney problem.
If you suffer from diabetes, kidney problems, or overactive thyroid, then blood tests can reveal the issue. Your doctor suggests separate blood tests to uncover the health issue that triggers excessive sweating and armpit odor.
Treatment For Armpit Odor
When you feel concerned about excess sweating and body odor, you need immediate solutions. You can consult a doctor to determine the severity of your problem. Depending on your condition, the doctor can suggest the following options.
Antiperspirants, as the name, limit your sweating. It contains aluminum chloride. The compound can block your sweat pore. By choosing an over-the-counter antiperspirant containing aluminum-based compounds, you can restrict sweating. If the over-the-counter product does not show any results, then you can ask your doctor for prescription antiperspirants. It has a stronger dose of aluminum chloride, which can prevent profuse sweating. But, a stronger solution can cause allergic reactions like swelling, itching or redness. So, talk to your doctor about the risks associated with using the product and then make a decision.
The product does not avoid sweating. But, it can mask odor caused by the breaking of sweat by bacteria, the deodorants contain alcohol. So, it turns the skin acidic. When you apply it underarms, it makes the region less attractive to bacteria. You can opt for deodorants containing perfume. It masks the armpit smell and makes you feel fresh.
It is the most poisonous biological substance, which is produced by Clostridium botulinum. While it is poisonous, it is used in several fields of medicine in small and controlled doses. It is used by doctors for the treatment of excessive sweating. The relatively new treatment option is a relief for people who suffer from profuse sweating and malodor. When you undergo the treatment, you need to take 12 injections under your arms. The whole procedure lasts for less than forty-five minutes. The toxin works by blocking the signals from your brain to the sweat glands. So, it results in less sweating in the underarms. The treatment can last from two to eight months.
When other methods like self-care methods or medications fail to show results, then you need to undergo surgery to get relief from profuse sweating. The techniques include:
During the surgical procedure, your doctor cuts out the sweat glands. In the absence of sweat glands, you will not sweat.
In this surgical technique, the doctor scraps out sweat glands from underarms.
Liposuction uses a suction method to remove the sweat glands from under your arms.
In the majority of the cases, you can see positive results with the three techniques. In some cases, your doctor can combine two different methods to see positive results.
Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS)
It is the procedure opted as the last resort by the doctors. It carries severe risks like damage to nerve/arteries or the destruction of sweat-controlling nerves under the skin of your underarms. The condition can increase sweating in other body parts. It is referred to as compensatory sweating.
Each procedure is performed by your doctor under the effects of local anesthesia. So, you will remain awake during the procedure, but will never feel any pain or discomfort. In most cases, the surgery is performed on an out-patient basis.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies For Armpit Odor
You have a large concentration of apocrine gland under your arms. Therefore, your armpits are prone to excessive sweating. It makes you face the risk of body odor. You have to take some steps at home to ensure you manage the condition. You can combine it with the methods suggested by the doctor to see results. The number of steps you can try to reduce malodor from your underarms are:
Clean Your Armpits Regularly
You need to keep your underarms clean by washing them regularly. You can bath regularly or wash your underarms to remove the number of bacteria present in the region, Using an anti-bacterial soap offer better results. It reduces the bacterial growth on your skin and reduces malodor.
Choose Right Clothing
You need to select clothes suiting your activity. For regular wear, you need to choose breathable fabrics. Natural fabrics like cotton, silk, or wool allow air circulation and prevent sweating. For exercising, opt for synthetic fabrics. The special fabrics are designed to wick moisture away from the skin.
People who sweat profusely due to stress need to try relaxation techniques. These practices help you control stress. So, you can try the following to reduce perspiration:
Tweak Your Diet
Try to avoid foods from your diet causing a change of sweat smell. So, you have to avoid the following that causes you to sweat more or produce stronger body odor:
- Spicy food
- Strong-smelling foods
- Caffeinated beverages
Underarm hair slows down the sweat evaporation. So, it offers a warm, moist, and an ideal environment to break down into smelly compounds. Therefore, you need to remove armpit hair to reduce bacterial presence. Shaving armpits regularly can control malodor under your arms. You can purchase reusable razors from online platforms like Amazon to shave regularly.
Natural Remedies For Armpit Odor
Apart from the lifestyle changes suggested above, you can also try some home remedies. Some natural items you easily find in your kitchen or home can reduce malodor under your arms. Natural remedies cause no side effects. So, there is no harm in trying the following:
Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties due to the presence of medium-chain fatty acids. So, it can keep the bacteria causing malodor at bay. It is also beneficial in restoring the natural pH of your skin.
Apply Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has acidic properties. So, it can reduce bacterial growth. Applying it under your arm reduces the pH of the skin. It makes the region uninhabitable for the bacteria causing a foul smell.
Use Witch Hazel
The natural antiperspirant is another great remedy you can try at home. It lowers the pH of your skin and kills the bacteria causing the strong smell.
Try Baking Soda
Baking soda has several uses, including the whitening of teeth. You can also use it to keep your underarms dry. Using it keeps your armpit sweat-free. The anti-bacterial properties in baking soda fight the bacteria causing bad odor.
Apply Tea Tree Oil
It is one of the well-known natural remedies for several skin problems. The astringent, as well as anti-microbial properties of tea tree oil, combat armpit odor. It also minimizes the pores in your underarms and keeps the bacteria at bay.
Armpit odor is an embarrassing condition. It is a major turn off for people coming in close contact with you. You feel humiliated and irritated with smelly armpits. But, the condition is not serious and has effective methods to manage it. You can easily overcome the problem with effective home remedies or lifestyle changes. If you are not getting the desired results, then seek assistance from a medical professional. They can find the root cause of your profuse sweating and malodor. So, you get the proper treatment to address the condition triggering bad odor. These methods can keep you fresh and feel confident.View Article Sources