Body Odor--Causes and Cures

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December 18, 2008, last updated June 29, 2014

By Sarah Ott, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

So many people walk around with body odor. Most of the
time they never know it's a problem. I roomed with a girl in
college who had the worst body odor. She was such a
sweet person. But she never knew. And no one told her
They just talked about her behind her back. Talking about
her was the favorite sport.

Someone finally told her. By holding their nose.  This new
form of the "sport" caught on.  People made that girl's life
a living hell.  And I wish I had done more to help her.

The thing is, because I roomed with her, I knew that she
actually had pretty good hygiene as far as I could tell. She
showered every day. She did her laundry.

There are people among us with persistent, God-awful
body odor.  What causes this? How can this type of body
odor be cured?

What You Eat Affects Your Smell

It could be an internal problem. Remember, you are what
you eat. The skin expresses the diet. Foods can cause body
odor. If you eat a lot of foods with sulfurous compounds
(onions, garlic, cabbage) you express that.

Try eating celery. It sweetens the smell of sweat.  If this
doesn't help, you may need to undergo a full dietary

Gas from the stomach also gurgles back up, escapes from
the mouth and cause
breath odor.

Fish Odor Syndrome

Many people suffer from a persistent "fishy" smell, so
intense it upsets their lives. This smell can be caused in
woman by a condition called "trichomonas vaginalis", and
needs a doctor's prescription.  In both men and women,
another condition called "trimethylaminuria" (TMAU), also
known as "fish odor syndrome" or "fish malodor
syndrome" could be the cause. This is a rare metabolic
disorder that causes a defect in the normal production of
an enzyme called " Flavin containing monooxygenase 3"
(FMO3). Trimethylamine then builds up and is released in
the person's sweat, urine, and breath, giving off a strong
fishy odor.

Externally, there are things you can do. You have 2
different kinds of sweat glands. You have about 2 to 3
million "eccrine" glands. These are the ones on the smooth
skin of your body.

Then there are the "appocrine" glands.  These are the
glands that are located in the hairy areas under your arms,
in your genitals and your scalp. They release a fatty sweat
directly into tubules under your arms, on your scalp and in
your genital area. When this fatty sweat reaches the
surface of the skin, bacteria there begins to break it down.
It's this process that causes bad smells. So, to address the
problem of body odor, you should make sure that you are
as free of bacteria in the hairy areas as possible.

Use an Antibacterial Soap.  And, every now and again,
use a mix of warm water and a teaspoon of vinegar. This
neutralizes almost any odor. So does baking soda but it's a
little hard on sensitive skin.

Use a Powder. Use a powder every single day in your
underpants and under your arms. You can apply a little
deodorant along the crevice between your thighs and your
genitals, where sweat collects also.

Super Sweaters. Some of us sweat way more than
normal. Some people who suffer from excessive sweating
find that Adidas Dynamic Pulse 24 hour deodorant works to
stop the excessive underarm sweat.

Stay Cool. Sweat glands are activated when you
overheat. Drink plenty of water. It helps your body to stay
cool. Also, don't wear hats. Most of  the heat in our bodies
escapes through our heads. If you wear hats or extensions
or weaves, the heat gets trapped, and
you sweat more.

Use Charcoal to Combat Fish Odor. If you are diagnosed
with fishy odor caused by TMAU, over 85% of people get
rid of the smell by taking medically prescribed  charcoal.

It also helps to avoid eating eggs, fish and foods that
contain high concentrations of choline, carnitine, nitrogen
and sulfur (onions, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, and garlic).

Eat Celery to Make Your Sweat More Attractive.
Pheromones are chemical compounds that stimulate mating
in animals.

In men, celery is believed to stimulate the production of a
sex pheromone -- the scent of sex -- that the opposite sex
detects. This chemical compound is called "androsterone",
according to a 2009 review of other studies by doctors
from JSS Medical College in India.

Celery is rich in androsterone.

Eating celery is believed to make the sweat of men more
attractive to women.  Indeed, the study notes that the
ancient Romans so favored celery as an aphrodisiac that
they dedicated celery to Pluto, their god of sex.


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Eating pungent foods such as garlic
or brussel sprouts can increase
body odor.

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Eating celery can sweeten the
sweat, especially of men.