Monday, 21 March 2016


Body odor is unpleasant smell that human body gives out when non-harmful bacteria that lives on the surface of the skin breaks down fatty acids in sweat into odorant substances. Poor personal hygiene and an existing medical condition are two broad factors attributed to this phenomenon. Body odor is more common at the armpits, under the breasts, the umbilical region and the pubic region. 


Body odor is basically as a result of non-harmful bacteria on the surface of the skin acting on fatty acids in the sweat. There are several factors that can perpetuate production of these odorant substances like:-

Biological lineage- according to, 1/3 of the people suffering from body odor could have inherited genetic disorder like trimethylaminuria (TMAU) in which individuals have an off putting fishy smell. TMAU is excreted from the body via urine, breath, sweat and saliva.
Environmental condition- people who live in cold areas have fewer sweat glands hence less production of odorant substances as compared to those who live in warm or hot regions. Fewer sweat glands may be attributed to adaptation mechanism to cold climate.

Diet preferences- eating spicy foods on regular basis has been associated with production of odorant substances in the body. Foods commonly associated with odor are red meat, egg yolk, onions, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, garlic and sea foods. Food sources with strong pungent smell tend to release the same smell through breath, sweat and urine.

Obese individuals- people who are obese have high metabolic rates and are prone to excess sweating which makes them highly susceptible to production of odorant substances.

Medications- this may manifest as a side effect of some of the drugs prescribed by your Doctor. Asprin, antidepressants, antipsychotics and acetaminophen are some of the drugs with associated with excess body sweating and body odor production.

Hormonal variations- progesterone and estrogen can play a significant role in body odor. Hot flashes are commonly associated with excessive sweating and as a result more odorous substances are produced as the sweat is acted up on by the non-harmful bacteria on the skin. This is more prevalent in female.

Puberty- Girls and boys during puberty are active and experience significant hormonal variations in their bodies. On these grounds they are more predisposed to excessive sweating and body odor.

Medical conditions- having an uncontrolled diabetes mellitus may be the reason why body odor exists and persists. Ketoacidosis is a medical emergency in diabetes that can result in body odor production. People who have thyroid problems may also experience excessive sweating which can also be linked to bad body smell.

Interested Reading: What Your Handwriting Say About Your Personality And Personality Trait


Sweating is a vital biological phenomenon in which the body gets rid of waste products of metabolism but this can be a horrible experience if sweat is not taken care of. The fatty acids in sweat are acted up on by the normal skin bacteria into substances that release bad smell.