Is Body Odour a Medical Condition?

in StemSocial10 months ago

Have you ever been in a room filled with people and the presence of just one person changed the atmosphere? The awful smell that comes out of some people's body is on another level, and you will agree with me that, one bad smell can put an end to a good gathering.


If you are as inquisitive as I am, I am sure you have also been asking questions about the reason why some people smell so terribly. Gladly, science has discovered the reason behind this embarrassing condition and of course the way out of it. Friends, let me take you through the journey of body odour and the take of science on the issue, please enjoy and gain knowledge.

It is important for us to know that sweat in itself is almost odourless, and it is not the reason for body odour, as most of us believe. There are bacteria's on humans skin responsible for the breakdown of protein molecules, these bacteria's feed on odorless chemicals found in sweats, and it is converted into thioalchols. It is this compound that is responsible for the body odour that humans experience.1.

The unpleasant odours become more evident, after there is an accumulation of these causative compounds on the skin. When a young adult approaches puberty, the hormones and sweat glands are found to be more active this time and of course, the smell becomes more evident. There are certain factors, that could however increase the level of body order a person gets;

  • Health conditions like kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes.

  • Hormonal change.

  • Heavy exercise

  • Excessive weight gain.

  • Certain medications like antidepressants.

  • Hot weather, the production of excessive sweat.

  • Diet as well as a way of affecting the way the body smells. 2

The body odour you are currently experiencing may not even be so intense and can be sorted out quickly by following these simple steps:

  • Ensure to bathe with antibacterial soap, this will help get rid of the offensive smell you feel.

  • Take your time in the shower, bathe thoroughly, placing more attention to those areas where you sweat more.

  • Do not be in a haste to put on your cloth after bathing, instead take time to dry your skin appropriately.

  • Shave neatly and regularly.

  • Use good deodorants with powerful smells.

  • Watch the thing you eat, consume more fruits and vegetables and avoid spicy foods.

  • Ensure that you put on neat clothes and change them from time to time.

The likelihood of a terrible body odour occurs in the armpits, the groin, the feet, genitals, anus, belly button and behind the ears. 3


Let's talk a little on smelly armpits.

The two types of sweat glands are: apocrine and eccrine. The Apocrine glands are found in regions where there is so much hair, while eccrine glands covers a large area of the body and has a direct opening to the skin surface.

Ecrine glands are responsible for releasing sweat during heat which is naturally odourless except it is acted upon by the bacteria's on the skin, these bacteria as well act as a result of medications, food consumed and so on.

Apocrine glands on the other hand are responsible for the secretion of an odorless fluid, usually produced under stress. It is however not displayed until the individual gets to puberty.4

When should I get concerned about my sweat.

It is normal for everyone to sweat, but while some individuals tend to sweat a lot, there are people who sweat moderately. It is however important to know when there is a cause for alarm and a need to instantly seek medical attention.

  • Profuse sweating, even when not engaged in any strenuous activity.

  • Sweating seriously while sleeping.

  • Regular infection in the sweaty regions.

  • Change in body odour or instant heavy sweating.

When the body odour has a bleach like smell, it could be an indication of kidney or liver disease.

A strong fish-like smell from the body is a sign of trimethylaminuria.

A musty odour is a sign of phenylketonuria.

The odour of a boiled cabbage is likened to hypermethioninemia.


People with hyperhidrosis, an excessive sweating condition, are more likely to experience severe body odour, and it is best to speak with your doctor when you regularly experience offensive body odour because it could be an actual sign of; Got, Diabetes, Menopause, Kidney disease, liver disease and some other infectious diseases.5

A doctor may recommend antiperspirants that contain aluminium chloride, this could reduce the level of sweat in a person. Preferably, antiperspirants that contain about 10-30% of aluminium chloride are often advisable.

Botox (Botulinum toxin), could be directly inserted into the skin by an expert in order to help reduce sweating. Research has shown that, Botox injections can help reduce armpit sweating by around 82-87%.

There are times when surgery becomes a solution to this issue, a surgical procedure called ETS (Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy) is usually the last option, and it has been found to come with a risk of causing damage to some nerves. However, individuals still live well after the operation. 3

Further Studies.


Hi, I am Tobi a writer, speaker, relationship blogger, lover of good music. I love making friends and learning from people. Want to hear me speak on relationships and general life issues, you can find my podcast channel Here and listen to any episode for free, do not forget to subscribe and share with friends. I sincerely appreciate every love I get from members of the community, do well to keep them coming.


People from Mediterranean regions, like where I'm from, are sometimes known to use too much perfume—perhaps because of the hot climate, perhaps because of desensitization to the smell of the one wearing it—and that can be annoying in a different way!

Some perfumes even have chocking smell which could be really annoying also, I really feel the best thing is to select a good perfume and use moderately. Thanks for reading

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Thanks for this blog. I have a naive question relative to it. Maybe I am wrong here; feel free to let me know.

I remember that there was a moment at which a bunch of health issues were raised due to the aluminum content of antiperspirant products. I however cannot remember precisely (and I cannot investigate now). Do you have more information or memories on this? Thanks in advance.


Hi Sir @lemouth, thanks for reading and constantly supporting.
According to what I found out, the aluminium contents in this antiperspirant product usually dissolves on the skin and melts into pores, which in turn plugs up the pores and reduce level of sweat.

There have been several reaearch on the damage that the direct application of aluminium products could cause to the skin, there are rising issues like: Breast cancer, Bone disease and Memory disorder. However, there haven't been any conclusive research on the topic, according to what I have found out.

It is however advised that people who have complicated health issues like; Kidney disease, Bone disease and Memory disdisorder should avoid antiperspirant that contains aluminium.

A person whose kidney is in a healthy condition, can naturally clear out aluminium from the body, but a weak kidney may not be able to do that, so it is usually advised that those with kidney failure need to avoid the use of medications or anything that contains aluminium.

Deoderants are a better option, they do not contail aluminium.

Thanks for this answer. This definitely confirms that my doubts were correct ones (although I didn't know there was no scientific consensus on this matter.

Cheers, and have a nice Easter (long) week-end (if you have such a thing in Nigeria)!

Yes we do, but some of us still have to work on weekends like this. Have a great weekend Sir.

Cheers, and have a nice Easter (long) week-end (if you have such a thing in Nigeria)!

I can definitely imagine this. For some jobs, there is no break...

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This is educating. I enjoyed reading every line of it. Thanks for lecturing us on the causes of body odor

I am excited to know that you found it helpful, thank you.