Body Odor
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The term Body odor refers to unpleasant smell from underarms, groin, scalp and feet and in general from any part of the body. Body odor has become a great issue of concern for men and women of today. In medical terms, body odor is known as bromhidrosis, osmidrosis and ozochrotia.

The odor of the body usually is caused by the bacteria which breed in our body. Many people have a misconception that the sweat is the cause of unpleasant odor but actually sweat itself is odorless and it is the bacteria, which is responsible for the unpleasant odor. These bacteria grow rapidly in the presence of sweat. Apart from the above-mentioned body parts, body odor is also associated with skin in general, genitals, mouth, anus, and pubic hairs.

Causes Body Odor

Body odor is mainly caused when the bacteria, growing on skin decomposes the sweat. The skin has two kinds of sweat producing glands. The eccrine glands produce cooling and watery liquid and apocrine gland produces a milky secretion.

While the eccrine glands are found all over the body, the apocrine glands are found in high concentration in the underarms and groins as well as in the glands. These apocrine glands are mainly stimulated by the worries, fear and tension. It is the secretion from apocrine gland which is generally decomposed by the bacteria and consequently it results in unpleasant body odor. There are several anaerobic bacteria like micrococci and corynebacteria that decompose the odorless sweat to produce an unpleasant odor.

Body odor is generally found in the armpits and in the genitals because the sweat which is produced there consists of protein and oily substance that feeds the bacteria. Other parts of the body do not experience body odor as the sweat there is salty and watery that does not allow the bacteria to grow.

Body Odor Symptoms

The symptoms of body odor are the unpleasant or pungent smell that becomes worse in summer or humid weather. The smell varies from individual to individual. The unpleasant smell almost disappears after a bath but it comes back immediately if the individual puts on his unwashed or dirty clothes.

The odor of the body depends on the diet of the individual. Some foods like garlic, curry, and strong spices contain some chemicals that are excreted in the skin.

Body Odor Prevention

Maintaining personal hygiene can well control body odor. Shower should be taken at least once a day especially after exercise. Bacteriocidal also goes to great extent in controlling body odor. Personal hygiene, which Includes changing the clothes at least twice a day and washing them properly in order to remove the sweat and kill the bacteria that might have got transferred from the skin, are also effective, measures of body odor.

One can prevent body odor also by using commercial products. One can use deodorant with pleasant fragrance and antiperspirants that controls sweat. Most of the modern products combine both these effects and thus effectively control sweat.

But none of the mentioned products can give complete solution to this problem because sweating does not stop entirely and a bacterium grows very quickly. Thus boy odor is indeed a malaise which will need to be dealt with periodically and there is no long term solution to it.

Kids do not have body odor because the glands responsible for unpleasant odor do not develop or become active before puberty. But as the individual steps on to puberty the gland stimulates the hormones and protein. The production of oil from the genitals also increases resulting in bad odor. Both men and women can have unpleasant body odor.


Medical treatment is generally not needed when people have bad body odor. As body odor is considered as offensive but one can treat body odor by using suitable deodorant and maintaining personal hygiene. Body odor can also be reduced to a great extent by bringing change in their food habit.

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