What Causes Body Odor?

Why are some areas of the body more prone to smell?

Sanaz Majd, MD

Body odor is known in scientific circles as bromidrosis. The root cause of the socially handicapping odor is our old friend, bacteria. But bacteria aren’t always very friendly; in fact, they are often impolite guests on your body, leaving waste products that are anything but hospitable. The more bacteria there are, the more waste; and the more waste, the more the stink.

 Recalling what we learned from earlier articles, bacteria grow well when they have:

  • Moisture

  • Food to eat

  • Warmth

  • Proper environment, including things like sodium concentration and pH

Can you guess where on your body bacteria consider prime real estate? Applying the “sniff test” you would guess: armpits, groin, and feet. And you would be right! 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd, a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. She sees everything from pediatrics to geriatrics, but her special interests are women's health and patient education. She also loves to teach, and has been doing so since her college days.

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