Bromhidrosis (abnormal or offensive body odour) is mainly determined by apocrine gland secretion. Bacteria present on the skin
act with the sweat to produce an offensive body odour.
This occurs more at puberty with increased sweating due to enhanced apocrine function, as a result of hormonal changes.
Some people don’t recognise that they have bad body odour. How can one recognise it?
has been described as pungent, rancid, musty or “sour and sweet” due to bacterial breakdown like fatty acids and ammonia. Each person has a unique body odour
that is influenced by gender, health, what they eat and medication they may be on. The gene ABCC11 is responsible for axillary body odour
and the more functional this gene is, the more encouraging it will be for bacterial growth from your apocrine glands.
How does it affect them at work and socially?
Foul body odour
drains productivity, as most workers find it difficult to work alongside someone with bad body odour.
Similarly at home, it can affect interpersonal relationship, closeness and even sexual activity. The best thing to do is to create an environment, where one-on-one communication is possible with the affected person. This will help in dealing with sensitive issues and address it at the earliest.
Simple measures are helpful in reducing sweating. Having a bath or shower once a day, or more if it’s hot or if you’ve exercised and worked up a sweat. Warm water helps to get rid of bacteria build-up on the skin
much more effectively than cold. Make sure you thoroughly dry the areas where you’re prone to sweating.
Wearing clothing made from natural fibres, such as cotton or wool. Such fabrics allow your skin to breathe, meaning sweat evaporates better and doesn’t sit around on the skin.
Avoiding spicy or strong-smelling foods. Garlic, onions, curry and other spicy foods can make sweat more pungent.
Use an anti-bacterial soap, this will reduce the bacteria on your skin and therefore the odour.
Shave your armpits to allow sweat to evaporate more quickly.
Being stressed can make you sweat from aprocrine glands and is different in consistency. It also tends to be smellier when broken down by bacteria.
What kind of perfumes and deodorants are recommended for people with bad body odour?
Deodorants make the skin
more acidic, creating an environment, where bacteria are less likely to thrive in. Antiperspirants block the action of your sweat glands, reducing moisture. Treatment for coexisting skin
conditions such as intertrigo, erythrasma and trichomycosis axillaris would help. Botox can be used to treat sweating issues. When injected into the armpits, it can block the signals sent from the brain to the sweat glands, resulting in less sweating. You’ll need to have a series of injections over time for it to be effective.
Next week: Choosing the stent of the right quality