Got a persistent underarm odor that is making you the butt of joke among friends and colleagues? Read on to know all about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of underarm odor.
What is Underarm Odor?
This is a problem that needs no defining. It is the foul, offensive smell that is emitted from the armpit. It is a frustrating condition that affects many people around the world.
What Causes Underarm Odor?
Know about some of the main causes of Underarm Odor.
Accumulation of sweat
The problem mostly occurs due to accumulation of sweat in the armpits. However, sweat alone is not responsible for the foul odor. This is due to the fact that sweat itself has little or no detectable odor. The offensive smell is actually the result of bacterium that thrives in bodies that do not get enough oxygen. The odor is emitted when bacteria get mixed with sweat. When sweat is released through the armpits, it gets decomposed (broken down) and is then consumed by bacteria that are present in the underarm area. It is these bacteria which emit a foul-smelling chemical.
Certain food items contain a small amount of toxins that can get into the system during consumption. Naturally, the human body releases them through sweat as waste products. Consumption of these foods leads to a build-up of toxins within the body. The presence of these toxins is the reason behind foul armpit odor. Foods such as garlic and onions, spicy items, fast foods and beverages like coffee and alcohol may also give rise to armpit odor.
Some other reasons that can cause excessive sweating and subsequently, foul underarm odor are liver disease, menopause, low blood sugar, emotional stress, metabolic dysfunction, etc. It has also been observed that sweating can be the symptoms of some serious health problems like fungal infections, kidney disease, liver disease, etc.
How to Eliminate Underarm Odor?
Bad armpit smell can be cured with the aid of deodorants, home remedies and natural remedies. Read on to know how to stop underarm odor by various methods.
Over-the-counter Underarm Odor Treatment
Armpit odor can be treated as well as prevented with the aid of deodorants as well as antiperspirants. Deodorants help in combating bacteria while antiperspirants cure the problem by preventing sweat production. Using these products after taking a shower or bath can help reduce strong underarm odor in women as well as men for several hours.
However, these products consist of several chemicals that may not be suitable for all users and produce side effects such as skin problems. If you have a history of allergenic reactions from using such products, it is better to try out some simple home remedies for getting rid of underarm odor.
Home Remedy for Underarm Odor
Cleanliness and personal hygiene are quite effective in treating underarm odor. Some hygienic methods that can help remove armpit odor problems include
People with this problem should take a shower frequently. If that is not possible, bathing at least twice a day can help avoid the odor. This is especially true for people who sweat a lot, especially during the summers. It is important to scrub the underarm area thoroughly with a soapy washcloth while bathing. This will help remove bacteria from the armpits.
Wearing loose-fitting clothes
It is also important to wear loose-fitting clothes that prevent accumulation of sweat and allow natural drying up of perspiration. It is for this reason that cotton or silk clothes are preferable to polyester or nylon garments. Clothes made of silk or cotton help sweat escape from armpits and prevent the development of a bad odor.
Regularly shaving your underarm region can prevent development and growth of hair in the region. Hairs in armpits trap sweat, making its escape a slow process. This helps prevent the development of underarm odor.
Making dietary modifications
Changes in diet are also essential to remove underarm odor. If your diet includes foods like garlic, meat, exotic spices and onions, try removing them to make a recovery. Avoiding these foods will help you prevent toxins that are present in them.
Natural Remedies for Underarm Odor
Here are some natural remedies that you can try at home to avoid underarm odor. Unlike antiperspirants and deodorants, these are inexpensive and do not have any side effects.
Alcohol white vinegar is one of the most effective home remedies to remove persistent underarm odor. Here is a step-by-step direction on how to use it. Pour a small amount of white vinegar in a bowl, soak a cotton ball in it and rub it onto your armpits after taking a bath. This will help you prevent underarm odor all through the day.
Witch Hazel is a great remedy for curing excessive underarm odor. Keeping it for sometime in the armpits after taking a bath can help you avoid an odor throughout the day.
Take a small amount of baking soda. Apply it onto your armpits. This will help in absorbing the sweat as well as kill the bacteria.
How To Prevent Underarm Odor?
The development of bad armpit odor can be prevented in the following ways:
Drinking enough water
Water is supposed to be a natural cleanser of the body. Drinking plenty of water can naturally remove toxins from the body and prevent their accumulation in the system. A build-up of such toxins can result in offensive odor in the underarm region.
Making dietary changes
Removing foods like excess spices, onions, garlic and meat from your diet can help you avoid an accumulation in your body of toxins contained in them.
Following good hygienic practices
Proper hygienic practices such as changing clothes often and taking frequent baths can help reduce the smell generated by sweat in the armpits.
Underarm Odor in Young Children
Armpit odor is a common problem in young children as well as toddlers. This is mainly due to the onset of puberty which is normal in girls of about 8 years of age and boys around the age of 9. However, kids as young as 18 months old can also have excessive production of adrenal gland hormone.
Production of hormones is mostly supposed to be the factor behind armpit odor problem in children. Although no scientific research has proved this, hormones present in non-organic dairy products and meats are suspected to play a role in underarm odor in toddlers and infants.
Over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirants or deodorants are quite effective remedies for some children while frequent baths, dietary modifications and loose clothes help cure the problem in others. For toddlers, keeping the armpit region clean and dry can help reduce the strength of odor.
Most of the aforementioned remedies are effective in reducing, controlling and preventing armpit odor. However, if you fail to get any relief despite such measures, it would be advisable that you consult a physician who can find the actual cause of the problem and eliminate it.
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Written by Simran Goyal
on August 30th, 2010. The article was last updated on October 13th, 2011