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Underarm Odor – Causes, Remedies, How to Get Rid & Treatments

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Taking some time reading around in any online forum serving the health niche and you are bound to come across questions such as “What causes underarm odor?” “How can I stop underarm odor?” “How do you get rid of underarm odor?” Continue reading to learn more about underarm odor, including the causes of underarm odor, treatment options, and various ways to prevent the problem in the first place. If you are a handy DIY kind of person, then you will delight in the home remedies for underarm odor section.

What Causes Underarm Odor – Underarm Odor Causes

Sweating ranks among the top underarm odor causes. We all know that sweating is often followed by getting a foul body odor. It however needs to be clarified that sweat doesn’t smell on its own. The culprit for the odor commonly associated with sweat is the bacteria that live on human skin.

These bacteria feed on sweat and break down proteins and fatty acids in the sweat to give off unpleasant-smelling acids.

Underarm Odor Causes
Underarm Odor Causes

Sweat from the apocrine glands that are usually found in abundance in hairy areas of the skin such as the armpits and the groin area is usually rich in proteins and fatty acids needed by the bacteria. This explains why the armpit and the groin are the parts of the skin most likely to develop a foul odor.

Some foods also cause underarm odor. Spicy foods, strong smelling foods such as garlic and onions, and sulfur substances such as cabbages, beans, fish, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and organ meat among others are all common culprits for underarm odor.

Medications: Some medications also cause underarm odor as a side-effect. Antidepressant and antipsychotic medications are common culprits.

Medical conditions such as diabetes, trimethylaminuria (fish odor syndrome) and liver and kidney diseases can also cause underarm odor.

Hormonal changes associated with puberty, menopause and hypogonadism (a rare condition that affects men resulting in low levels of testosterone) can also lead to underarm odor.

Stress can also cause underarm odor.

Bad Underarm Odor – Do You Have Trimethylaminuria?

Trimethylaminuria is a rare genetic condition that is attributed to a compound known as Trimethylamine which is released as the body breaks down foods rich in choline e.g. organ meats and egg yolks.

You can tell if you are likely suffering from trimethylaminuria by paying close attention to the odor given off by your armpits. Trimethylaminuria usually involves a smell similar to that of rotting fish but at low concentrations of Trimethylamine, the smell maybe somewhat like that of garbage.

Talk to your doctor or a health service provider if you think that you could be having trimethylaminuria.

Underarm Odor in Toddlers – Underarm Odor in Kids

Although underarm odor typically begins at puberty when hormonal changes activate the apocrine glands, it is possible for some toddlers to get underarm odor. As The Net Doctor says, some people are born with a higher number of sweat glands which can lead to excessive sweating.

Proper hygiene can help to get rid of underarm odor in toddlers, but if it does not help, then you can use a mild deodorant to combat the problem. Look for a deodorant whose label indicates “natural” since such deodorants very likely don’t have antiperspirants. It is also recommended that you look for a deodorant that doesn’t have phthalates since these are a little too harsh for a toddler.

Strong Underarm Odor

Just the other day someone asked, “I have string underarm odor, what could be the underlying cause?”

Well, this can be due to various causes including, a diet with lots of sulfur compounds e.g. cabbages and asparagus, sweating and the related bacteria activity, medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism (which may result in excessive sweating), liver diseases and kidney diseases, certain medications e.g. antidepressants and hormonal fluctuations due to menopause or puberty.

Treatment approach will depend on the specific underlying cause.

How to Get Rid Of Underarm Odor – Underarm Odor Treatment

Having an underarm odor that gets people turning heads every time you lift your hands to reach for something in the cabinet or on the shelf is never a fascinating thing. It is not only embarrassing but can also kill your self confidence. Here is how to get rid of underarm odor:

Wash it off: If there is an important step in combating underarm odor, then it has got to be good hygiene practices. Bacteria feed on the sweat on your skin to give off foul smelling substances that are responsible for that underarm odor. Bathing daily helps to wash off both sweat and bacteria which then helps to get rid of that pesky underarm odor.

Underarm Odor Deodorant
Underarm Odor Deodorant

Use antibacterial soap: An antibacterial soap goes an extra mile in reducing the number of bacteria growing on your skin. This is important because was it not bacteria, sweat would not smell (but of course you can’t and should not get rid of all the bacteria on your skin).

Deodorants and antiperspirants: Using deodorants and antiperspirants is another great way to get rid of underarm odor. Deodorants usually have fresh smelling fragrances that mask the underarm odor but antiperspirants contain compounds (usually aluminum salts such as aluminum chloride) that decrease the level of sweating by creating a barrier between the sweat glands and the outside of the skin.

Cut down on odor-causing foods: It is also important to reduce your intake of spicy foods, strong scented foods such as garlic and onions and foods that contain high amount of sulfides which often makes them causative factors for underarm odor e.g. cabbages, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli among others.

How to Eliminate Underarm Odor – How to Remove Underarm Odor with Vinegar

Vinegar can also help you get rid of underarm odor. It alters the pH of the skin which makes it unfavorable for bacterial growth and activity. This kills the bacteria responsible for underarm odor.

Use a washcloth to apply vinegar all over your underarm after bathing and the see the wonders it can do to that underarm odor. You should however not apply vinegar on a broken skin (e.g. after shaving).

How to Control Underarm Odor – The Botox Way

For people with severe or persistent cases of underarm odor, particularly those attributed to excessive sweating on the armpits or axillary hyperhidrosis is you like, Botox treatment is often given. This involves injecting small doses of Botulinum toxin into the armpits. Although Botox is usually very effective in controlling underarm sweating and odor, it gives temporary results that typically last for 4-9 months.

How to Reduce Underarm Odor with Aluminum Chloride Solutions

Aluminium chloride is a common ingredient in antiperspirants because when dissolved in sweat, it creates a barrier between the sweat glands and the outside surface of the skin. 20 percent aluminum chloride solutions that are usually available over-the-counter in most local drugstores can as well be used to get rid of underarm odor.

Such solutions are usually sold as Anhydrol forte and Driclor among other brand names.

How to Stop Underarm Odor

Underarm Odor
Underarm Odor

If you are struggling with underarm odor and are wondering how to stop it, then here are a few helpful tips that you will want to consider:

  • Bathe and change your clothes daily to reduce the number of bacteria and amount of sweat in your underarm. It is also advisable to use an antibacterial soap instead of a regular soap.
  • Wash your clothes thoroughly especially those that come into contact with the underarm
  • Apply a deodorant or an antiperspirants to your underarm at least twice a day
  • Rub your underarms with some alcohol such as isopropyl using a small cotton wool
  • Sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch to your underarm
  • Reduce or eliminate spicy and  strong scented foods in addition to sulfur rich foods such as cabbages and asparagus from your diet
  • Use Chlorophyllin supplements.

How to Prevent Underarm Odor

Preventing underarm odor majorly revolves around avoiding the likely trigger of underarm odor.To start with it is important to maintain a good personal hygiene regime. That means showering and changing clothes daily.

In addition you should eat a balanced diet and consume spicy foods and other foods that cause body odor in moderation.

Another great way to prevent body odor is to apply some deodorant or antiperspirant daily after shower. Deodorants mask underarm odor while antiperspirants have ingredients that control sweating.

Home Remedies for Underarm Odor – Natural Remedies for Underarm Odor

If you are a fan of home remedies, the n here are a few home remedies for underarm odor that you may want to try. As you will soon notice, most of the ingredients mentioned here are available in your home or can be acquired at low costs.

  • Take Chlorophyllin supplements: This is one of the best natural remedies for underarm odor. Chlorophyllin is a derivative of the green coloring matter in plant that we have all come to know as chlorophyll – thanks to my biology teacherJ
  • Green tea: Green tea has antibacterial properties which makes it helpful for underarm odor. Simply boil some green tea in a pot and rinse your underarm with it.
  • Rub some alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar onto your underarm to reduce the number of bacteria growing there.
  • Witch Hazel: This is yet another fabulous natural remedy for underarm odor that not only dries your underarms but also leaves behind a nice scent. You can use a cotton ball to apply your witch hazel or splash it onto your underarms.
  • Baking soda: Applying some baking soda on your underarms is also a great way to get rid of that awful smell in your underarms. Cornstarch also makes for a great choice if you don’t have baking soda.
  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has strong antibacterial properties which makes it one of the best home remedies for underarm odor.  Simply apply enough drops of tea tree oil on your underarm and enjoy the results
  • Lemon: The drying effect of lemon juice coupled with its low pH also makes it a great natural remedy for underarm. Simply cut a lemon into two halves and squeeze its juice on your underarms.

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