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Body Odour | Causes of Bad Body Odour | How to Prevent Bad Body Odour

Updated on October 15, 2012

Bad body odour is one of the main reasons for high divorce rate and newlywed couples on the verge of divorce or separation, as told by the marriage counselors in Terengganu State, Malaysia. Other interesting reasons are the routine sex and boring pyjamas.

Everybody has his or her own distinctive body smell. However, it becomes a problem when a person’s body odour is so strong or pungent that it drives other people away. There are causes of these smelly body odours, and there are ways to prevent or eliminate bad body odours. Unpleasant body odour is often easy to prevent with proper body hygiene. Unfortunately, those who have it are often unaware of the unpleasant smell emanating from their body; probably they are used to the smell.

Spicy Food
Spicy Food

Main Causes of Smelly Body Odour

1) Perspiration

The common cause of bad body odour is due to the bakteria acting on perspiration that has left to dry on the skin for some hours. Human body has two kinds of sweat glands :

Exocrine grands – found all over the body and

Apocrine glands – activated only at puberty and are found in hairy areas such as the arm pits and the pubic region

The apocrine glands secrete proteins and fatty substances that cause the smelly body odour.

2) Spicy Food and Meat

Frequent consumption of spicy food such as curry, garlic and onions is another cause for smelly body odour. A study published in the Oxford Journals in 2006 found that red meat is one of the reason to cause unpleasant body odor.

3) Other Reason

  • Diseases such as kidney problems or liver problems
  • Certain medicines
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism
  • Stress
  • Skin problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Weak body metabolism
  • Bacterial growth
  • Fungal infection
  • Deficiency of zinc mineral, cavities, toxins, etc
  • Heredity factors
  • Menopause
  • Low levels of male hormones
  • Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
  • Fever

How to Eliminate Bad Body Odour ?

1) Take bath or shower frequently, whenever you sweat after some physical activity

2) Use antiseptic or antibacterial soap or bathing gel

3) Apply a deodorant or antiperspirant on the armpits or

4) Apply talcum powder on the armpits, or other body area that sweats easily to keep the skin dry

How to Prevent Bad Body Odour ?

1) Practice good hygiene

Take the time to analyze your hygiene habits and improve them if necessary. Take a bath or shower at least once a day. Take a shower or bath after excessive sweating.

2) Avoid excessive sweating if you are not doing physical exercise

If you are just sitting in the office doing work, avoid excessive sweating by keeping your body cool with a fan or air conditioner.

3) Avoid leaving perspiration on your body for a long period of time

If a bath or shower is not an immediately available option, wipe your sweat away and keep your body dry, such as applying a talcum powder.

4) Wear light clothing under humid hot weather

Avoid fabric such as nylon, which can trap heat and moisture.

5) Change clothes daily

Change a new set of clothes daily, especially the underwear.

6) Consult with a medical doctor

Consult with a doctor if you think a disease may cause your body odor.

Foot Odour

Foot odour is common because there are more sweat glands in the foot than other parts of the human body. Also, the feet are often kept bundled in socks and shoes. Poor foot hygiene can also cause fungal infection leading to bad feet odour. To prevent foot odour :

1) Keep your feet clean

2) Wash the toes and dry well

3) Apply foot powder to help soak up excess moisture

4) Change to new socks daily

5) Wear wool or cotton socks which can naturally absorb sweat, avoid synthetic materials

6) Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes daily, alternate with other shoes to allow sweaty shoes to air out in between wearings

7) Avoid wearing plastic shoes that does not help your feet to breathe

8) Consult with a doctor if all the above home treatment fail to work

Body Odor Makeover


The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are owned by Ingenira who hereby asserts her copyright on the material. Permission must be granted by the author in writing prior to copy or republish this article in print or online. However, please feel free to copy the first paragraph with a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Ingenira


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    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 5 years ago from Atlanta

      Great article Ingenira very informative. The one thing I can not tolerate is bad BO, thanks for giving tips on keeping the BO under check.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Great information, especially for a hot climate. I remember a guy at work, he looked so nice in his suit, but his body odor was atrocious! lol!

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 6 years ago

      Good info, very comprehensive.

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub, because we all have that one friend that, on a hot day, is no fun to be around! Voted up and useful!

    • sarmack profile image

      Sarah 6 years ago from Washington State

      What is "body odor"? We can't wear cologne which is so beautiful and good for us, because people complain. An allergy to cologne or perfume is just a manipulation tool, just as other things are. The only time we should be concerned for another person who has "body odor" is when they smell of dirt... homeless people will reach this level. It is an indication that this person is dying or about to die. The smell is like freshly dug dirt... Other than that, if you don't like the way a person smells, it is your problem. If you don't like to cook, get out of the kitchen...

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Good and useful tips! Two times in my life I have worked on the same place as a person who smells very bad of body odor. It is very difficult and no one wants to be the one telling the person the he/she smells really bad. Good hygiene is so important! Useful and up!


    • catalystsnstars profile image

      catalystsnstars 6 years ago from Land of Nod

      Lol, I like Sarmack's comment. And that she/he touches on the idea that we are too used to artificial odors from each other. I get a whiff of everyone's odor now and then and to be honest it's always too much. I become self-conscious when I wear perfume (and I've had the same bottle for almost four years).

      All the reasons noted are great to get people thinking about their scents but there are a plethora of other causes that fall directly into what we are putting on our body. Love the hub though.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Haha.. workwithnature, you are so funny. Yes, a study has shown that people who eat a lot of read meat will emanate unpleasant body odour. Thanks so much for your sharing and funny comment. :)

    • workwithnature profile image

      workwithnature 6 years ago from Ireland

      Wow had no idea, very perspiring. I mean inspiring Lol It is a good thing that I love my girlfriends smell then :) One thing I noticed is when people tend to eat meat, or when I eat it. The smell of sweat always gets worse. ;)

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      thank you, prasetio for your very kind comment.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub and you have useful information here. I am glad to follow your tips. At the same time, I learn new things from you. Rated up!

      Love and peace,

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Yes, certainly, angInwu, personal hygiene is the best home remedy for bad body odour.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      LOL, sarmack, good idea. Eat some garlic and onions so that nobody complains about the smell.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Thank you for your comment, lucybell. Nice to see you here.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Good tips. I think personal hygiene is the best way to keep body odor away. Thanks and rated up.

    • sarmack profile image

      Sarah 6 years ago from Washington State

      So is the problem that we have become accustomed to fake body odors?! When the natural becomes obscene, is that not the door to a societies faltering? A suggestion from the past: If the odor of garlic or onions is unlikeable, but the person is likeable... eat some garlic or onions so you smell the same. Then you won't notice the odor.

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 6 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      Very interesting hub. I did. Not realize there were so many reasons for body odor.