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Fit & Proper: How to deal with bad body odour

Your weekly health guide

Nitin S Walia 

Nitin S Walia Senior Consultant, Dermatology, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.
Nitin S Walia, Senior Consultant, Dermatology, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.

Why do some people have bad

Bromhidrosis (abnormal or offensive body odour) is mainly determined by apocrine gland secretion. Bacteria present on the act with the sweat to produce an offensive 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 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 that is influenced by gender, health, what they eat and medication they may be on. The gene ABCC11 is responsible for axillary 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 drains productivity, as most workers find it difficult to work alongside someone with bad 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.

What can they do to improve their

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 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 to breathe, meaning sweat evaporates better and doesn’t sit around on the
  • 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 and therefore the odour.
  • Shave your armpits to allow sweat to evaporate more quickly.
  • Being stressed can make you sweat from 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

Deodorants make the 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 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

First Published: Sat, August 12 2017. 21:30 IST
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