11 Weird Causes Of Body Odor & What To Do About It

Ever notice how 99.9 percent of your morning routine revolves around smelling nice? You shower, swipe on deodorant, spritz perfume... maybe swipe on a bit more deodorant. Most of us deem it incredibly important, and the process definitely takes a while. So it can be pretty frustrating when, despite all the effort, you still struggle with body odor. I mean, aren't all the above steps enough to leave you smelling nice all day?

It can be frustrating to deal with consistently smelly underarms, or ripe sweat. But it can also be a bit embarrassing. "For some people, it can reach a point at which it negatively impacts their life — especially social interactions — and may make them feel uncomfortable," says Dr. Jeremy Fenton of Schweiger Dermatology Group, in an email to Bustle.

If that sounds like your life, let me remind you that you're not alone. And let me also point out that there are many, many causes for body odor. Depending on your type of BO, a shower or swipe of deodorant may not do the trick. So read on for some of the weird causes of body odor, as well as a few ways you might be able to cure up the issue.

1. You're Simply Too Stressed

Have you ever heard of stress sweat? It's one of the many different types of sweat, and it's the stinkiest of them all. "That’s because it’s produced from a category of sweat glands called apocrine glands," noted an article on HuffingtonPost.com. "Aprocrine glands produce a less-watery sweat, and bacteria go crazy for the fats and proteins in the mix." In the process, all sorts of smelly smells are released.

What To Do

Keep your stress in check. Think along the lines of meditation, yoga, or deep breathing so your body can remain more balanced (and decidedly less stinky). You might also want to consider changing your shirt, or swiping on more deodorant, after a stressful event.

2. You Need To Scrub Your Nether Regions

Another type of sweat comes from the eccrine gland, which exists in high numbers under your arms and in the groin area. Because these places get sweaty, and stay moist, they tend to be a bit stinkier. "This form [of body odor], eccrine bromohidrosis, is due to the sweat softening the keratin that makes up the skin," Fenton says. "When the keratin is softened, it is easier for bacteria to break it down and leave behind an odor from the breakdown."

What To Do

Get yourself on board with a more consistent bathing schedule, according to Fenton. Scrub those pits and wash up downstairs. You might also consider shaving these areas so sweat can't accumulate.

3. You Don't Change Your Undies

I hope your change your underwear every day, but how often do you change your bra? Apparently, most of us over-wear and under wash our unmentionables, according to bra expert Susan Nethero in an interview with Danielle Kosecki and Lauren Gelman on Prevention. And it ain't good. "Since bras lay in places prone to sweat — across the back, under the arms, and between your chest and breasts — and are often made of fabrics that trap odor after repeated wear, this can create quite the stink," Nethero said.

What To Do

If you want to smell fresh, don't wear a bra more than twice before washing it, according to Nethero. It may mean more trips to the laundromat (or better yet, your sink for a hand wash), but it'll be worth it.

4. Your Birth Control Is Causing Problems

If your stench is coming from an unknown cause, it could be your birth control that's to blame. As Charlotte Hilton Andersen said on SHAPE, "... some birth control pills cause dry mouth, which can lead to a buildup of sulphur in your mouth ... Also, meds like acetaminophen (Tylenol), anti-depressants, and diet pills have been shown to cause extra sweatiness."

What To Do

Read the labels on your prescriptions, and ask your doctor about any potential odorous side effects.

5. You Have A Nutritional Deficiency

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as zinc, magnesium, and riboflavin, can lead to body odors. Take zinc, for example. "One of its major functions is to break down carbohydrates and help cells clear out waste," said Andrea Cespedes on Livestrong.com. "A diet insufficient in zinc may deter this detoxification and cause body odor."

What To Do

Eating a more balanced diet can help clean out your body. Add in fresh greens like parsley, kale, and spinach, which can help deodorize your bod, according to Cespedes. Same goes for citrus fruits.

6. Your Bowels Are To Blame

How's your fiber intake? If it's too high, it can lead to stinky gas. If it's too low, it can make you constipated, according to Andersen. And both can obviously lead to a buildup of smells in the body.

What To Do

Keeping your fiber intake to about 25 grams per day should be just the right amount, according to WebMD.

7. You Have Genetically Smelly Feet

About 10 to 15 percent of people are born with extra sweaty feet, according to HuffingtonPost.com. That extra moisture can lead to the growth of micrococcus sedentarius, which is a bacterium that smells like sulphur. (Ew.)

What To Do

To combat your lack of genetic luck, try changing your shoes every day (or switching off pairs), wash your feet more often, and try to go barefoot as often as possible, according to DrWeil.com.

8. You Had Fries For Dinner

Ever notice how some foods make you smell worse than others? Well, fried foods are definitely on that list. "The oils in fried and baked goods can quickly become rancid, causing poor digestion and consequently body odor," said Andersen. Cue post-french fry smelliness.

What To Do

Go ahead and eat whatever you want. But if you're worried about smells, think twice about digging in before, say, a first date.

9. You're About To Get Sick

A recent study in Sweden found that your body can smell a bit "off" when you're about to get sick. "[The study] found that when participants were injected with a toxin that kick-started their immune response, others were more likely to rate their B.O. as smelling 'unhealthy,'" noted Kara Wahlgren on Seventeen. Pretty interesting, right?

What To Do

Well, I can't really tell you how to prevent an immune response stench. But I can venture to guess that staying healthy, and thus preventing the immune response, should definitely help.

10. You Partied A Bit Too Hard

A long night of drinking may have some malodorous side effects the following day. "As alcohol courses through your blood and around your body, some seeps out through the pores — and, quite evidently, through the breath," noted HuffingtonPost.com.

What To Do

It doesn't matter which type of alcohol you drink, as it all smells the same once it's metabolized, according to HuffingtonPost.com. All you can do is drink up, and then wait for the alcohol to leave your body. Only then will you go back to your sweet-smelling self.

11. You Wear Too Much Deodorant

I know, this one seems counterintuitive, but hear me out. Apparently, by wearing antiperspirant too often, you can inadvertently mess with your body's natural bacteria, according to Wahlgren. Not only that, but it can eventually lead to more odor-causing bacteria. Not good.

What To Do

If you aren't going outside, then don't apply deodorant. And definitely don't sleep in the stuff. Giving your skin a break will hopefully help even things out.

Because sometimes a small change is really all it takes. By making a few small tweaks, and being aware of what can cause body odor, you can help keep yourself smelling as amazing as you do first thing in the morning.

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