5 Reasons Your Armpits Smell So Bad and What to Do About It

Why do my armpits smell? There are two main reasons why your armpits might smell: sweat and bacteria. When you sweat, the moisture provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. The combination of sweat and bacteria is what causes that characteristic underarm odor. 

You might be thinking that you’re the only one with smelly armpits. But the truth is, nearly everyone has a certain smell emanating from their pits. Cleveland Clinic says that body odor is “caused by the bacteria that live on our skin, and it’s completely normal to have a natural body odor.

However, certain things can make your body odor stronger. If you notice that your armpits smell particularly bad, there might be an underlying reason.

Here are five reasons your armpits might smell bad and what you can do about it.

1. You’re eating certain foods

Certain foods can make your armpits smell bad. For example, if you eat a lot of curries, garlic, or onions, these spices can seep out of your pores and make your sweat smell bad.

Spicy food isn’t the only culprit, though. Other foods that can make your BO worse include cabbage, broccoli, red meat, and alcohol.

2. You’re not showering often enough

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s the number one cause of smelly armpits. When sweat and bacteria mix together, they create an unpleasant smell.

So it’s not surprising that the more you sweat, the more likely you are to have smelly armpits. The best way to combat this is by showering every day and using antibacterial soap on your underarms.

If you find that you’re still having issues with BO even after showering, try using an antiperspirant or deodorant as well.

These products work by either masking body odor or by preventing sweating altogether. Just remember to read the label carefully; some antiperspirants can cause skin irritation.

3. You have excess hair

If you have hairy armpits, that hair can trap sweat and bacteria against your skin, making body odor worse. One solution is to shave your armpits at least once or twice a week.

However, this isn’t an ideal solution for everyone, as shaving can sometimes cause skin irritation or even lead to infection.

If shaving isn’t an option for you or if it isn’t solving the problem, try using an antiperspirant that contains aluminum chloride hexahydrate. This ingredient helps to reduce sweating temporarily.

4. You have a medical condition

There are a few medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating and smelly armpits. One such condition is hyperhidrosis, which is a condition that causes overactive sweat glands.

Another possibility is Trimethylaminuria (TMAU), which is a genetic disorder that prevents the body from breaking down certain compounds. This build-up of compounds then gets released in the person’s sweat and urine, causing a fishy smell.

Other medical conditions that can cause smelly armpits are diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, infections, and hyperthyroidism. If you think you might have one of these conditions, it’s best to see a doctor so they can give you a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

5. Hormonal changes

Another potential reason why your armpits may smell bad is if you are going through hormonal changes. When you go through puberty, your body starts to produce more sweat and oil. This can cause your armpits to smell more than usual.

If you’re a woman, you may also notice that your armpits smell different during your menstrual cycle. This is because of the changes in hormone levels that occur during this time.

Another time you may notice a change in how your armpits smell is during pregnancy. This is due to the increased levels of progesterone in your body.

Progesterone is a hormone that helps to maintain pregnancy. It also slows down the movement of food through your digestive system, leading to constipation and a build-up of bacteria in your gut. This can cause your armpits to smell foul.

If you think your armpits are smelling bad because of hormonal changes, you can do a few things to lessen the odor. Wash your armpits with an antibacterial soap. This will help to kill the bacteria that are causing the bad odor.

You can also try using a deodorant or antiperspirant that contains aluminum chloride. This can help to reduce the amount of sweat you produce. 

How can I prevent my armpits from smelling? 

The best way to prevent your armpits from smelling is to keep them clean and dry. That means showering regularly and using an antiperspirant or deodorant daily.

If you find that your underarm odor is still a problem, you might need to try an antiperspirant that contains aluminum chloride, which is an ingredient that helps reduce sweating.

You can also try using a topical antibiotic ointment if you have an infection in your hair follicles or sweat glands. 

What is the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant? 

An antiperspirant is designed to reduce sweating, while a deodorant is designed to mask the odor. Many products on the market today contain both antiperspirant and deodorant properties. 

What are some home remedies for smelly armpits? 

There are a few home remedies that may help with smelly armpits. These include applying baking soda or lemon juice to your underarms or using coconut oil or tea tree oil as an antiperspirant.

However, it’s important to note that there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these home remedies. If you’re looking for something more effective, you might want to try an over-the-counter antiperspirant or deodorant instead. 

What if nothing seems to help my smelly armpits? 

If you have tried all the tips to stop body odor, but nothing seems to work, it might be time to see a doctor or dermatologist. There are many prescription-strength antiperspirants available that can help reduce sweating and control body odor when used as directed.

Additionally, there are medical procedures (such as Botox injections) that can be used to temporarily block the sweat glands in the underarms from producing sweat. Your doctor can discuss all of your treatment options with you and help you choose the best one for your individual needs. 

In conclusion

Hopefully, this article has helped answer some of the questions you may have had about smelly armpits! Remember, most of the time, smelly pits are nothing to worry about. You can fix this problem by taking some basic hygiene measures.

However, if you’re concerned that your smelly pits could be due to something more serious, don’t hesitate to see a doctor for further evaluation.

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