What Causes Body Odor?


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Body odor refers to the bad or unpleasant smell secreted by the body. The bad smell actually results from the bacteria present on the body, which multiply rapidly when they interact or come in contact with the perspiration or sweat. Body odor is common in some body parts such as feet, hair, skin, groin, armpits, pubic hair, ears, and belly button. Though sweating is often believed to be the main cause of body odor, there are also other reasons or factors that may cause your body to emit a bad smell. Read on and learn about the different causes of body odor.

The cause of body odor actually stems from the temperature regulation system of the body, specifically the sweat glands. There are two types of sweat glands: the eccrine glands and the apocrine glands. The eccrine glands are located in almost all parts of the body, and are directly open to the skin’s surface. The apocrine glands, on the other hand, develop only in areas with hair follicles, such as on your groin, armpits, and scalp.

When the temperature of your body rises, your nervous system automatically stimulates the eccrine glands to release or secrete fluids onto the skin surface to cool the body as it evaporates. This fluid, also called the perspiration, is composed of salt and water and contains the residues of other electrolytes and other substances the help regulate the fluid balance in the body.

On the other hand, the apocrine glands secrete or release a fatty sweat directly into the gland’s tubule. When you are stressed or under extreme emotions, the tubule’s wall contracts; thereby, pushing the sweat to the skin’s surface where the bacteria living in that area start breaking it down. Usually, it’s the breakdown of the bacteria that causes the bad odor.

Here are the other causes of body odor:

  • Alcohol;
  • Smoking
  • Strong medicines;
  • Diseases, like liver and kidney problems etc.;
  • Skin problems;
  • Stress;
  • Fungal infection;
  • Weak metabolism;
  • Gastrointestinal problems;
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Bacterial growth;
  • Heredity factors;
  • Poor hygiene;
  • Certain foods and beverages;
  • Low level of male hormones;
  • Menopause;
  • Fever;
  • Hypoglycemia;
  • Hyperthyroidism

Body Odor Symptoms

Giving off unpleasant or bad smell is the only symptom of body odor and this happens whenever a person is sweating. Often times, a person experienced excessive sweating when the weather is too hot or warm or when he is under extreme emotions such as when he is anxious or nervous. Bad odor may also be experienced after strenuous activities. The smell may vary from one individual to another and though the small may disappear after a bath or shower, it may immediately come back especially if the person puts back unwashed clothes.

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