There are many different activities that cause us to excessive sweating (more than usual) – room high temperature, hot weather, physical exercises, activities which make you feel anxious all cause the sweat to flow. Sweat by itself does not have much of an odor (body odor). Most of the smell is caused by bacteria which live on the skin and in clothing. These bacteria use the sweat for growing. The sweat on most of our body is not full of nutrients (foods) for bacteria, so the bacteria there do not cause a lot of smell. Sweating is one of the body’s ways of cooling down and it is important that we do sweat. There is a very rare condition where people do not sweat, and they are at a very high risk of overheating.
Excessive sweating – sweat glands
The most common type of sweat glands (eccrine glands) are spread all over our body and they produce sweat that is mainly salt and water. This sweat helps keep your body at the right temperature. Human body has more than 2 million eccrine glands!
We also have sweat glands (apocrine glands) in certain places, such as under the arms and in the groin, which produce oils as well as ordinary sweat. These glands only start producing the oils after the beginning of puberty. These sweat glands make sweat at the same times as the eccrine glands, and they make even more sweat when you are stressed.
Most body odor is produced by bacteria feeding on the apocrine sweat from under the arms and in the groin.
Some foods that we eat, such as garlic and spicy foods can change the smell of sweat.
We all have our own particular scent. This is why dogs can track a particular person by their scent. Have you noticed that perfumes and deodorants don’t always smell the same on different people? That’s because of our different scents.
Excessive sweating – How to avoid the sweating odor
Try to wear mainly the cotton clothing, as cotton clothes have large pores and allow air to pass through thereby not letting sweat to accumulate and to occur.
Wash your body regularly, especially underarms, groin and feet. Dry your feet completely after you have washed them. You can use antibacterial soaps, but be sure you don’t have allergy. Take a patch testing on your inside wrist and if nothing happens within next 48 hours, then you are free to use antibacterial soaps.
Change and wash your clothes as often as you can. When sweat gets onto clothes, bacteria can also grow there, making the clothes smelly too.
Once you start going through puberty, it may be a good idea to start using underarm deodorants and antiperspirants. Underarm deodorants make the sweat acidic which stops bacteria from growing. We still make the same amount of sweat, but there are fewer bacteria to make the smell. Antiperspirants block the sweat ducts with aluminium salts, so that less sweat is produced and less “smelling” bacteria appears. They should only be used on underarms – you need to be able to sweat over the rest of your body to keep yourself healthy.
For sweaty feet – wear leather shoes as they are made up of natural material that will let your feet breathe. Let your shoes dry completely before wearing them again. If possible, wear different shoes on alternate days. Wear the socks made of wool or cotton that will keep your feet dry as they are quite effective in absorbing moisture. Also, changing your socks twice a day will benefit you. Never forget to dry your feet completely after taking bath as microorganisms grow in damp spaces between your toes. Try to avoid wearing shoes, whenever possible. It will give you much relief.
Avoid or reduce caffeine and other stimulants from your diet as soon as possible, as these aggravate sweating and body odor. Avoid also the foods with strong odors like onions and garlic. It is also advisable to eat foods rich in fibers to be able to flush out toxins that may
contribute to heavy sweating and body odor.
For night sweating – apply antiperspirants at bedtime to sweaty palms or soles of feet. Try perfume-free antiperspirants.
Treatment with Botox® – it is the commercial name given to a toxin which is produced from botulism toxin. It blocks the chemical transmitter that causes sweating. It is used mainly on isolated cases of armpit sweating. The injection of the Botox® in the armpit areas can help the patient for about 3 to 6 months at a time.
Iontophoresis. In this treatment, a low current of electricity is delivered to the affected body part with a battery-powered device. This is equivalent to the use of a topical antiperspirant.
Some doctors would recommend the laser-therapy which considered as the modern treatment.
About excessive sweating – Important to know
You have more than 2 million eccrine glands!
When this sweat evaporates, it cools your body down.
During hot weather you will sweat more than usual.
Hot drinks, drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine, and spicy foods can also make you sweat more than usual.
Having a fever is part of the way that a body fights an infection. The temperature drops when the body is recovering from the infection. If you have a fever, your body cuts down the amount of sweat that you make (keeping your temperature high). When your body is ready for its temperature to drop you may sweat a lot (this is sometimes called ‘breaking of the fever’).
If you are dehydrated – perhaps it is hot weather and you have not had enough to drink, or you have been ill with diarrhea and vomiting – you will make less sweat than usual.
People with unpleasant body odor are unable to smell their body odor because they live with it all the time and they are no longer sensitive to the smell.
Sometimes people have a smell caused by a health problem. People with diabetes for example may have a fruity smell, while people with kidney or liver disease may have an ammonia smell.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.