You can't see them, but they're there: tiny bacteria gathering, growing and merging with your sweat to form an unpleasant and embarrassing condition known as bromhidrosis. You might be thinking: Bromhidrosis? What will become of me? Will I survive? And we're happy to report that the answer is "yes." Bromhidrosis isn't a fatal disease -- it's the fancy word for body odor.
If body odor is a condition caused by bacteria, then surely there's a cure for it -- some pill you can take to turn your signature scent into something more like that of roses. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Right now there are no medications on the market to prevent body odor. However, there are a variety of remedies and treatments that will reduce B.O.
First, though, you should understand how body odor works. It's pretty simple, really. It's not actually your sweat that stinks. Sweat is virtually odorless. However, when sweat meets bacteria on the surface of your skin, an odor is produced -- and not usually one of roses or kittens. You should know, though, that body odor is just a fact of life. There are lots of reasons someone might have excessive or troublesome body odor, including:
- Too-tight clothes
- Unwashed clothes or shoes
- Bad hygiene
- Certain medication ingestion
- Hormone imbalances
These are only a few reasons. If you want to minimize your body odor, you should first try to pinpoint the cause. And although there are no specific medications for body odor, we do have some general guidelines for you to follow.
- Bathe daily with soap and apply an antiperspirant as soon as your skin is dry. It's important that your deodorant has "antiperspirant" on the label. Deodorant only masks an odor. Antiperspirants help limit the amount of sweat your underarms produce, giving the stinky bacteria nothing to work with. You can also put antiperspirant on your feet if you need to. Go ahead, nobody will know.
- Keep your underarms and any other problem areas dry. Try not to wear constrictive clothing that would cause you to sweat. If you work out, make sure your clothes are clean and don't harbor bacteria.
- Don't forget that certain foods can cause body odor -- things like garlic, curry or onions.
- If none of these things work for you, some experts suggest applying a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water to your skin. Mix 1 teaspoon of 3 percent peroxide with 1 cup of water. Using a clean washcloth, wipe the solution onto affected areas. It should destroy much of the bacteria that creates odor.
- A study in 2003 showed that people who had Botox injected into their armpits experienced a decrease in body odor. Researchers believe it prevents sweat glands from working. No sweat equals no body odor.
To learn more about your health and what might impact it, check out the links on the next page.