Doctors Say Your Body Odors May Signal Way More Than a Skipped Shower
Unpleasant body odors are embarrassing, but they can happen to everyone. Data suggests that about 90% of Americans and 92% of teenagers use antiperspirants or deodorants to diminish their natural body odor and to smell great. Yet a sudden spike in body odor should always be taken seriously as it can be a sign of an underlying health problem.
Bright Side has put together a list of various body odors and what they can mean.
Your scalp smells like... a dirty diaper.
Everyone’s hair can get stinky sometimes. But some people have hair that can be best described as either smelling like rotting fish or dirty diapers. Experts dub this as the “smelly hair syndrome.” What causes it? Well, experts still don’t know. Theories range from bacteria and fungi being the culprit to super oily hair picking up smells from the environment, while some suggest that it’s caused by a hormone imbalance.
So, what should a smelly-haired person do? The best solution is to use antibacterial liquid body wash and sulfur-containing soaps to clean your hair and scalp. While sulfur will reduce the oiliness of the scalp and eliminate the food needed by the bacteria or fungi to grow, the antibacterial agent will stop the bacteria from growing.
Your sweat is the stinkiest in the subway.
Everyone perspires, and unless you forget to put on deodorant in the morning, it is unlikely that anyone will notice. But we all have our bad days when it is hard to hide the odor emanating from our armpits. Normally the eccrine glands produce sweat which, in most cases, does not stink. But then we also have something called the apocrine glands present mostly in the armpits, the groin, and in the area around the nipples of the breast. These glands release sweat in response to various factors, including anxiety and emotional stress. When the bacteria on the skin starts breaking down this type of sweat, it can cause an unpleasant odor. So now you know why your sweat smells bad when you are nervous or tense.
The answer to how to avoid this is easy:
- Avoid stress.
- Shower every day. Using antibacterial soap, especially around the sweaty areas, to get rid of the nasty bacteria that causes the smell.
- Some foods that we eat may cause us to stink. Avoid them. To know what food to eat and what to avoid in order to smell great click here.
Your breath puts people off.
There can be a zillion reasons for bad breath, from bad dental hygiene to the food you ate to you forgetting to brush your teeth in the morning. But if you follow proper dental hygiene yet find yourself constantly suffering from bad breath, then there is something sinister lurking behind the breath. Persistent bad breath can be caused by any of the following conditions:
- Eating certain foods such as onions, garlic, and spices can cause bad breath. You can combat these by adding vegetables like spinach and lettuce to your meal. Also, drinking green tea or milk helps.
- Sleep apnea: This sleeping condition has strongly been associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart diseases, so treating it sooner than later can spare you of its long-term health effects.
- Some cancers and metabolic disorders can give you a distinctive oral odor as a result of the chemicals they produce.
- Small stones that form in the tonsils and get covered with bacteria can produce a bad odor.
If you consistently have bad breath, it is recommended that you see your doctor to have the cause identified.
You can’t bear the smell of your own pee.
Urine never smells good but the cause of its smell can be either benign or malignant. Normally, urine should have a very subtle, ammonia-like smell or it can even be odorless. But if you get unbearable fumes and the process of urinating is accompanied by pain and a burning sensation, schedule an appointment to see your gynecologist/urologist. You may be suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI). Also, an individual with diabetes may have a sweetened urine odor.
While UTI and diabetes are the malignant reasons, benign causes can include what you ate or drank the night before. Eating asparagus can cause a strong odor due to the body’s breakdown of asparagusic acid. Similarly, the consumption of saffron, tuna fish, onion, and certain spices can result in telltale scents. Dehydration is another cause of foul-smelling urine, so remember to drink enough water.
Your friends run away when you remove your shoes.
There are more sweat glands in our feet than anywhere else in the body. However, unlike the other sweat glands in the body that secrete just in response to heat, exercise, or tension, the sweat glands in the feet secrete all the time. More sweat means more “food” for odor-producing bacteria to grow. This smell can become worse if you wear the same footwear every day or in women dealing with stress or hormonal changes. Smelly feet can also be a sign of Athlete’s foot, a condition caused by a fungus growing on the top layer of the skin on your feet. Luckily, the solution to this problem is pretty simple.
- Keep your feet clean.
- Keep your shoes and socks clean.
- Use an over-the-counter antifungal cream.
Your nether regions have smelled better...
There are many things that can affect the way your smell “down there” — your period, infections, poor hygiene. Although most of the smells are totally normal, there are some that are definitely worth worrying about, especially if the stench is accompanied by a discharge. This could indicate a yeast infection or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including chlamydia.
What to do if your vagina has an unusual fishy smell and is accompanied by a discharge? Schedule an appointment with your doctor or your gynecologist. The treatment will depend on the diagnosis.
If the smelly odor doesn’t go away despite your best efforts, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Don’t forget to share this article to spread awareness!
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for BrightSide.me