Body Odour Prevention, Causes, Complications & Treatment


A rather prevalent problem that can lower a person's quality of life is body odour. Instead of being caused by perspiration itself, it happens because of bacterial activities in sweat.

Many people mistakenly believe that perspiration is the root of body odour. Human perspiration really has a minimal odour.

Body odour is caused by bacteria on the skin that break down the protein molecules in perspiration to produce stink.

Although body odour is a frequent issue, it may significantly lower a person's quality of life. Body odour can occasionally signal a more serious underlying issue, even if its core causes are frequently related to a person's cleanliness habits.

The body can emit smells in the mouth, various cavities, and body fluids. However, the focus of this article is on sweat's bacterial processes and scents that come from a person's skin.

Body odour is a catch-all word for all organic odours that come from a person.

The human body has the ability to manufacture a wide range of odorants, or substances having a fragrance. Many of them do not generate disagreeable odours in small concentrations and are essential for basic biological function. However, an excessive buildup of these substances on the skin might result in odours that are audible.

Usually, body odour becomes more noticeable.

During puberty, hormones and sweat glands are more active. Obese people and people with particular medical disorders, including diabetes, are also more likely to have body odour.

For humans, sweat has essentially little odour. However, the quick growth of bacteria and their ability to convert perspiration into acids might result in offensive odours. People who perspire a lot, such as those who have hyperhidrosis, may thus be more prone to acquiring body odour.

The regions where body odour is most likely to occur are as follows:

  • The legs
  • The belly button
  •  The anus behind 
  • The ears
  • The armpits, the pubic and other hair, the genitals, and the groin

Diet, natal sex, medical issues, and medicines all contribute to a person's particular body odour.

Causes Of Body Odour

Eccrine and apocrine sweat glands are both present in an individual's skin.

Apocrine glands, which have follicles in the groin and underarms that produce hair, begin producing hormones at puberty. These glands release an initially odourless viscous, protein-rich perspiration. However, as bacteria degrade a large number of proteins, they will release more odorant molecules, which will result in body odour.

Eccrine sweat glands, in contrast, primarily control body temperature through perspiration and are less strongly associated with body odour.

Your body's sweat glands are what create perspiration and body odour. Eccrine glands and apocrine glands are the two primary categories of sweat glands. On the majority of your body, eccrine glands have an opening that faces the skin. These glands emit fluids that cool your body as they evaporatively when your body temperature rises.

The armpits and groin are two places where you can find apocrine glands. When you are under stress, these glands secrete a milk-like fluid. Until it mixes with germs on your skin, this fluid has no smell.

Body Odour Symptoms

Some individuals naturally perspire more or less than others. Additionally, body odour varies from person to person. Consult a doctor if

  • You suddenly start to perspire significantly more or less than normal.
  • Your normal routine is disrupted by sweating
  • You start to shiver at night for no apparent cause.
  • Your body odour has changed, as you observe.

Body Odour Prevention

The armpits and groin are particularly prone to the quick emergence of body odour due to the high number of apocrine glands in these regions. Body odour may appear pretty much everywhere on the body of a person.

The following actions may help manage body odour, despite the fact that there is no cure for all of its causes:

Washing: It really is important to regularly wash your hands with soap and dry them fully afterward. Online shopping is accessible for deodorizing soaps.

Shaving: Hair can delay the evaporation of perspiration in places like the armpits, allowing bacteria more time to degrade proteins and produce odours. Shaving can aid in reducing body odour there. Online retailers provide reusable razors for sale.

Antiperspirant use: By adjusting sweat volume and the quantity and activity of bacteria that produce odour, antiperspirants can lessen a person's body odour.

Additionally, a person may smell their own body odour in places like the feet that are frequently covered by clothing. It is possible for germs to multiply and become active when there is an increase in humidity and sweat that has been trapped in the fabric. The result may be body odour.

To avoid this, a person may want to wash these areas more carefully and make sure they are totally dry before donning clean clothing. The evaporation of sweat and the reduction of bacterial growth may both be aided by wearing clothing made of natural fibres.

Some people may also perspire after consuming foods like chiles, onions, garlic, and other powerful ingredients.

Protein consumption in excess can have an impact on a person's body odour.

Body Odour Treatment

A doctor may suggest additional therapies if home cures have failed and body odour is negatively affecting a person's quality of life. These may consist of:

Aluminium chloride: Prescription antiperspirants that include aluminium chloride may be advised by a dermatologist or physician. Through absorption into the skin, aluminium chloride lessens perspiration. 10–30% aluminium chloride can be found in prescription antiperspirants.

Botulinum toxin (Botox): For patients who perspire excessively, a doctor may suggest Botox treatment. By being injected directly into the skin, Botox can stop the chemicals that lead to sweating from being released. Some reports claim that Botox injections beneath the arms can reduce perspiration by 82–87%.

Procedure: When medical treatment and self-care techniques are ineffective for addressing extreme body odour, a doctor may undertake an operation known as an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). The nerves that govern sweating beneath the armpit skin are severed as a result. As a last resort, this procedure carries the danger of damaging nearby arteries and nerves.

Complications of Body Odour

Please seek medical assistance if you have body odour that has not improved despite self-care measures, and

  • It is lowering your self-confidence
  •  It smells different than usual
  • You are suddenly perspiring a lot more than usual.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 13, 2023

Next review due: Mar 13, 2025

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