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6 Causes Of Body Odor In Men And Women

Everyone has a unique body odor (BO), which can be pleasant or subtle, but when we think of BO, we usually think of an unpleasant smell.

Changes to body odor may be due to puberty, excessive sweating, or poor hygiene. Sudden changes are typically caused by the environment, medications, or foods that you eat.

Sudden change in body odor symptoms

A sudden change in body odor typically occurs in a specific area of the body. Common areas include the:

1. Genitals

2. Armpits

3. Feet

4. Mouth and throat

5. Belly button

Other symptoms you experience will depend on the cause. If the change in odor is due to infection, the smell may also be accompanied by:

1. Redness

2. A rash

3. Itching

4. Oozing, discharge, or discoloration

Causes of body odor

1. Diet

Foods that tend to make you sweat more, such as hot peppers or other spicy foods, might also lead to body odor. And the aroma of foods like onions or garlic can be carried in your sweat. Drinks with caffeine or alcohol may also make you sweat more.

2. Stress

Your underarms secrete approximately 30 times more sweat when you're under stress than when at rest. Sweat from your apocrine glands tends to be thicker and richer in proteins and lipids. The fats and nutrients in this type of sweat combine with the bacteria that live on your skin, resulting in body odor.

3. Diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis)

A sweet, fruity odor can be a sign of ketoacidosis, an acute complication of diabetes. An odor of ammonia is associated with kidney disease. Similarly, a very foul, fruity odor may be a sign of anorexia nervosa.

4. Menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy

Have you ever thought you might smell different during your period? Research has found that women at high fertility within their menstrual cycle actually put out a different, perceived to be more attractive, scent to men than those at low fertility in their cycle.

This scent was even suggested to influence women’s interactions with other women, as fertility apparently smells good to everyone.

5. Vaginal infections

Several vaginal infections, such as a vaginal parasite infection or bacterial vaginosis, may cause a sudden change in vaginal odor. Other types of infections that occur outside of the vagina may also cause a change in body odor in the affected area. Vaginal yeast infections usually don't cause vaginal odor.

6. Skin infections

If your skin develops an infection, either new or due to a preexisting condition, you may experience a sudden smell at the site of the infection. Some types of skin infections or conditions that might cause a smell include: trichomycosis axillaris, a bacterial infection of underarm hair follicles.


Having a large concentration of apocrine glands in the armpits and groin makes these areas susceptible to the rapid development of body odor. However, body odor can occur almost anywhere on a person’s body.

Although there is no universal treatment for the causes of body odor, taking the following steps may help control body odor:

1. Washing

A person should wash regularly with soap and ensure that they dry themselves thoroughly.

2. Shaving

Having hair in areas such as the armpits can slow down the evaporation of sweat, giving bacteria more time to break down proteins and create odorants. Shaving can help body odor control in that area.

3. Using antiperspirants

Antiperspirants can reduce the intensity of a person’s body odor by changing sweat volumes and altering the amount and activity of odor-causing bacteria.


Content created and supplied by: Healthmaster3 (via Opera News )



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