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4 Tips to Get Rid of Body Odor

Are you stinky? If you are, this is your lucky day! Dr. Rob has the low-down on BO.

By
Rob Lamberts, MD
Episode #026

Why Does Body Odor Smell?

Anyway, it’s the substance from the apocrine glands gives the bacteria in those places an all-you-can-eat buffet and hence causes them to put out chemicals like propionic acid and isovalonic acid, which are real stinky molecules. So somehow controlling the environment in which these bacteria live is key to controlling those odors.

Quick and Dirty Tips for Getting Rid of Body Odor

Make life miserable for these bacteria! Be a bad host! How do you do that? Here are my quick and dirty tips on how to deal with body odor: 

B.O. Tip 1:  Bathe
It is my experience as a physician that people who do not bathe smell significantly worse than those who bathe regularly. I am not just talking about running water over yourself. Use soap! Soap makes the oils on your skin soluble in water, removing that oil that the bacteria like to feed off of. 

Soap also kills off bacteria. All soap does, not just antibacterial soap.

B.O. Tip 2: Stay Calm
The apocrine glands are stimulated by stress, which means that anxious people are stinkier than the calm, cool, and collected. I have not personally done research on the subject, so I’d love to hear any ambitious listener’s research on the subject.

B.O. Tip 3:  Stay Dry
Antiperspirants are the first step to staying dry. They block the output of the apocrine glands, reducing the food for the bad bacteria. If the typical antiperspirant is not enough, there are actually prescription strength antiperspirants that work most of the time.

Another way to stay dry is to wear clothing that will soak up moisture. Cotton undershirts for men will help. Women, being no expert in women’s clothing, I can’t give specific advice; I do know that women never smell bad, so this really is irrelevant anyhow.

B.O. Tip 4: Watch What You Put in Your Body
Strong foods like garlic and onions can come out in your skin. Certain medications, especially some anti-depressant medications can increase the output of apocrine glands. Smoking makes you stink in general, but actually can change your sweat as well. Finally, certain diseases like diabetes can cause you to change smells.

Now, if all else fails, you should go to a dermatologist. Botox injections have been successful in helping people with perspiration problems (and your underarms have no wrinkles as an added bonus). Even surgery has been attempted to fix this problem.

Stay tuned, because I'll cover other potentially embarrassing problems like bad breath, urinary incontinence, bowel problems, hemorrhoids, and "male" issues in other episodes.

That’s it.  I don’t know a whole lot more about B.O. I hope that helps!

If you have questions you want answered, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com.  You can find me on Twitter as @housecalldoc and on Facebook under “House Call Doctor.”

Let me remind you that this article is for informational purposes only. My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time!  Stay Healthy!


Body Odor image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the Author

Rob Lamberts, MD
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