The Dreaded "B.O."by Dr Vivian Oputa on April 29, 2012
Don't you wonder why some folks smell so offensive? Read on to understand why and if you are one of them, there is a lot that can be done to have you as smelling as pleasant as a bouquet of fresh flowers.
Do these scenarios sound familiar?
Scene One: Someone walks past and you get a not so pleasant "whiff" that could send you retching to the loo.
Scene Two: You're in the marketplace and someone brushes against you leaving you drenched in his smelly sweat!
Help your fellow man by telling him he doesn't smell so good.
Body odour is often caused by bacteria flourishing in sweat glands known as Apocrine glands found in the underarm, nipple and groin areas of the body. These glands secrete a protein, carbohydrate and lipid rich substance that bacteria thrive on, giving rise to what is perceived as an offensive odour. At puberty these apocrine sweat glands which are linked to hair follicles become active due to a surge in circulating sex hormones and differ from the sweat glands found on the rest of the body. The other sweat glands known as Eccrine glands are not linked to hair follicles and the sweat from these glands is not offensive.
You can usually smell your own "B.O." if it's from the underarm and groin areas. More generalized "B.O." is difficult for an individual to perceive because he or she has become accustomed to it. It is left for another person to help in making this known to him or her.
Sweating is a natural process necessary to aid in regulating body temperature and eliminating waste. Its evaporation helps cool the body in hot climates and after exercise. The degree of body odour is dependent on race as it has been found that black individuals have more apocrine glands than other races and a large number of Asians e.g. Koreans and Japanese, have no apocrine glands at all.
The perspiration process which makes body odour perceivable produces sweat which on its own is essentially odourless and is composed of 90% water and 10% urea, waste products and salts. It is the bacteria and odours from within such as by-products of metabolism that are responsible for this smell.
The body's metabolic processes give off odours when eliminating toxic waste and imbalances in these processes will give rise to stronger odours. Our environment and much of our food is loaded with Toxic waste that the body cannot eliminate readily. These toxins could emanate as strong odours from the body and any system which is saturated with such waste needs regular detoxification exercises.
Vegetarians and people who eat lots of meat have a distinctly offensive body odour and people on low Carbohydrate diets also tend to have this problem (Ever heard of Atkin's Breath?). Individuals unable to metabolise choline found in fish, eggs, liver and legumes tend to have a "fishy" odour. Nutritional deficiencies of Magnesium and Zinc as well as Constipation, where toxic waste is backed up, may also cause body odour. Some foods and drinks cause body odour such as garlic, onions, and alcohol.
Medical conditions may also change the way we smell:
- Uncontrolled diabetics may smell like acetone (nail polish remover)
- People with liver disease may smell like ammonia
- People with systemic yeast infections may smell like beer
Excessive sweating known as Hyperhydrosis encourages more bacterial proliferation and hence a greater tendency towards developing body odour. Underlying causes of excessive sweating include hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), fever (malaria and TB may cause night sweats), hyperthyroidism and some cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma. Anxiety may also cause excessive sweating. Some people inherit a tendency to sweat more than others. Menopausal and peri-menopausal women may suffer bouts of sweating with associated body odour. Consumption of caffeine or alcohol may also cause sweating.
Anhidrosis is a reduced ability or total inability to sweat and could be life threatening depending on severity. Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED) describes a condition where children are born without sweat glands and are thus unable to regulate body temperature. Extensive damage by burns covering a large surface area of skin may also give rise to this inability to regulate body temperature. Severe infections of the sweat glands such as hydradenitis may alter the function of the sweat glands too.
Useful Tips to Help Control "B.O."
Daily bathing, use of deodorants and frequent change of clothes if one sweats excessively is recommended.
There are prescription medications that can reduce sweating temporarily such as the Anticholinergic drug Glycopyrrolate which blocks the action of Acetylcholine, a chemical messenger in the body, thus preventing the stimulation of sweat glands.
Botox injections may be used to block the nerves that supply sweat glands. This effect lasts about 4 months.
Iontophoresis may also provide some relief. This is a painless and safe procedure where a doctor uses a low current electrical device on affected regions.
In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove the offending sweat glands or a surgical procedure known as a thoracic sympathectomy, in which the nerve supply is cut, may permanently stop sweating on the hands.
Certain foods and drinks such as garlic, exotic spices, onions, coffee and alcohol should be eliminated from the diet to see if this makes a difference.
Nutritional supplements containing Zinc (30-50mg daily) and Magnesium (200-500mg daily) should be introduced in combination as they aid in balancing body metabolism and reduce the tendency towards having systemically generated B.O.
Chlorophyll supplements, chewing parsley, alfalfa sprouts or wheat grass act as great deodorisers. When high-potency Vitamin B-Complex (50mg or more daily) is combined with Magnesium, it helps reduce some of the odour causing secretions.
Tobacco use is a major cause of body odour and bad breath. In addition to coming out through your lungs, the offensive odour also comes out through the skin.
Toxic overload can be addressed by regular steam baths, sauna and infra-red sauna use. Use of detoxification supplements and optimal hydration will also help eliminate toxic build-up. Constipation should be relieved by increasing fluid and fibre intake in your diet.
These tips may go a long way at helping you become Odour Free!
Thanks for reading my article. Get Glowing!