Persistent Body Odor
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ShannonRichey posted:
Hello. I am a 32-year-old woman...I have had a problem with body odor since puberty. I have tried products like Certain-Dri and Drysol to control sweating in the underarm area, but I had to stop using them because they itched and burned really badly. I shower and put on deodorant every day, sometimes twice a day. I have tried basically every deodorant under the sun, including 'body-responsive' (Degree) and Secret. I've even used men's deodorant, quite a bit. The deodorants will sometimes work for a while (a few consecutive days/weeks), but then just stop working, or not work as well. Sometimes I put baking soda in my bath and have put it under my arms, but it burns, since I shave my underarms daily.

I've had people in high school tell me to my face and behind my back that I stink, and I can smell it. My husband and some friends, even my doctor, swear up and down that I don't have a problem with this, but when I smell my clothes I can smell it. I'm talking about clothes like bras I've only worn a few hours, lately. It affects the way I dress...I don't wear tight tops or anything that is too tight under my arms, or sleeveless tops. Even clinical strength deodorants will smell fine on me, but when I smell my clothes, the clothes stink.

What could I do to help with this? Am I alone? I am on anti-depressants and others for bipolar and hypothyroidism, but I have had this problem long before I started taking those meds. Thanks!
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ShannonRichey responded:
Oh, and...I have a moderate activity level and have had this problem regardless of activity level. A boyfriend once told me that I should exercise more and that I would be 'sweating out all the bad stuff'...I don't know how or if that would work. I only wear cotton or ramie blends on top because other fabrics will smell even worse.
 
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lauren2030 responded:
I suggest you go to a doctor, the can recommend a good deodorant or any other medication that can help you situation. Good luck!
 
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4Watermonkeys responded:
Here's a few different ideas (from experience!):

1. I've tried everything under the sun, including prescription deoderant/anti-perspirant. I've found only one over the counter product that works for me. Only one scent of the Degree Clinical line works for me - the other scents have horrible results even though they are essentially the same product. I figure there may be some type of sensitivity/reaction to the other fragrances.

2. I've met several people that were dealing with the same severity that you are experiencing - within hours or even minutes after showering they smelled again. For some, it was a type of yeast infection on the skin. Once diagnosed and treated, odor was no longer an issue. The yeast infection was not from poor hygiene - for them, it developed as a result of diabetes. Too much sugar, and the infection flared up.

3. Have you noticed that the odor is stronger when wearing certain clothes? For whatever reason, if I wear anything made out of fleece, my skin gets a strong musty, underarm odor. Again, I figure there must be some type of sensitivy/reaction going on. It's frustrating trying to find coats that don't have fleece linings!

The best thing that has worked for me was keeping track of what days were the worst, what type of clothing was worn, and what toiletries were used (soap, doederant, shampoo, lotion, etc.) and see if there is a pattern. Good luck!
 
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ShannonRichey responded:
Thanks! I do notice odor being a bit stronger when wearing certain clothes. I don't wear anything synthetic (esp. polyester) in terms of shirts or sweaters, because the moment the slightest bit of sweat gets on them, they reek.

I've never thought about an unrelated medical condition causing odor. I've been tested and I don't have diabetes (the opposite, actually), but I don't remember a time when I didn't have some sort of depression or anxiety. The issue is the same when I'm not feeing anxious, though. I wonder if perhaps it could be something else entirely? Thanks for the tip...
 
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4Watermonkeys responded:
You mentioned that you're not diabetic, but rather the opposite. What does that mean? When you mentioned that, kidneys came to mind. Some of the conditions and medications for them that you mentioned can effect the kidneys which do play a role in sweating. Simple labwork of blood and urine samples can tell if your kidneys are dumping or not getting rid of enough waste. There are so many conditions related to the kidneys that can cause excess sweating, and to be honest, many of the symptoms that go along with conditions such as hypothyroidism. Perhaps the next time you see your doctor tests can be done. Other than finding an underlying medical condition I think it's just a matter a trying new products, avoiding topicals and fabrics that don't work, and watching for patterns. I found that the only way clinical or prescription strength deoderants work for me was if I use them in the morning rather than at night as directed. I really do wish there was an instruction manual that our bodies had to follow - it would make things so much easier to figure out!
 
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girlygoogly1 responded:
I have the same problem. Its a metabolic disorder called apocrine bromhidrosis. it is usually hereditary, more commen in dark skinned people and can occur anywhere theres apocrine glands i.e. axilla, groin, feet, breasts. It starts at puberty because this is when apocrine glands switch on. Its a tricky problem I know, heres my advice" Try to find another clinical antiperspirant that doesnt burn as these products will actually migraite your sweat glands. The anti-depressant I take, wellbutrin inexplicably cut my symptoms by 80%. My Derm says it is not a normal treatment for AB but it does decrease gland secretions. Also, I have cleocin 1% lotion that I apply daily to the affected area.

This condition is an abnormally high level of apocrine gland secretions into your sweat which is broken down by bacteria and can create an array of very strong odors that no shower will cure for long. The cleocin helps because it kills bacteria. For emergency's if its under your armpits, try an alcohol swab or sanitizer, this will provide temporary relief. Ive had this for a long time as do other women in my family and Ive seen several specialists. There are surgical options of removing your apocrine glands, botox injections to paralyze them and electrolysis to kill the hair folicle which absorbs odor. From a holistic prespective there are several herbal remedies, like cranberry supplements and a product called citricran. Also food is important- If I eat indian food within 10 minutes I reek LOL! Strong spices, onions, garlic ect-i would avoid these if youll be in a situation that could cause embarrassment. like work or something. One more think, drink alot of water-it helps dilute things a bit. Good luck! If you would like to talk email me at girlygoogly@yahoo.com
 
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nanamore responded:
I had a persistent bad smell in my armpits for several years. It was from an infection in the hair follicles. Three different dermatologists prescribed meds that did not work very well or for very long. Several OTC things failed, as well. And the smell permeated all my tops and nightgowns (read long t-shirts). Yuck! I could not stand myself.

Finally, a new dermatologist recommended I wash my pits with HIBICLENS which can be found on the drugstore shelf in the first-aid section. It is in a turquoise box. After using it for a few weeks, the smell went away. I put all my smelly tops in the washing machine with a couple of cups of vinegar added to the detergent and they all smell fine.

A year later, no more problem. I still keep the HIBICLENS on my shelf as insurance, though.
 
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ShannonRichey responded:
I have borderline hypoglycemia...basically, that my blood sugar often stays low rather than high. I do take care of myself re: eating regularly the same way a diabetic would have to. I also have hypothyroidism...perhaps I need a higher dose of the synthroid, or there was a time a while ago when I didn't take my medicine every day because I couldn't afford it. I'm back to it now, maybe that had something to do with it.

The main fabrics that cause problems for me are synthetics-polyester, acrylic, etc. I've pretty much cut those out of my wardrobe when I can...it is really hard, especially since so many things are cotton/poly blends! I also avoid clothes that are too tight under the arms or sleevless/cap sleeves. Are sleeveless, too-tight or synthetics a problem for you too? I've mostly avoided these things on tops-I don't really worry about it when it comes to stuff like bras, and it is darned near impossible to find a bra without something synthetic.

I wonder something. Could wearing too much deodorant cause odor too? Meaning, more than the 'recommended' amount...for instance, using 20 strokes rather than the 10 others use? I've used the 20 because I thought I needed more than others since I had an issue others didn't have. I was just thinking about some things-nose spray, for example-where it doesn't work as well if you use it more than you're supposed to. I wonder if that could be a factor?

Thank you, everyone, for your help. I really hope I haven't sounded too 'thick' with asking so many questions!
 
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ShannonRichey responded:
Where would you find that lotion, and are there brand names it goes by? I'd really like to try that. I haven't heard of that before. I might just have the same condition...I remember my mom would often use men's deodorant and my dad sometimes smells musty. I never thought of that before!

I take Wellbutrin as well, have just begun a higher dose.

I have bipolar and a touch of OCD tendencies. My doctors have told me that I don't actually have the odor, that it's one of the obsessions. I've tried so many deodorants; I have about four different types in my dresser drawer right now, in fact!
 
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HOTFLASHES_101 responded:
Shannon...I am a RN and want to share how vital it is you get someone to look at that boil. Boils can contain *Staph ( normally) or other contagious organisms* (see below) inside a boil. Place warm washcloths on it alternating 20 minutes on then off 30 minutes. Do not squeeze or it will spread bacteria. It usually opens with alternating warm compresses. Some folks use Hydrogen Peroxide 50/50 in the water but always call your doctor's office or a hospital emergency room and share your dilemma with a nurse then ask for advice.

If you lack $ to see a Dermatologist, email Dr. Oz's website and someone will respond . It's worth a try.

As for body odor...things that work: 1)Go to a health food store and ask for good body odor tablets( usually have Chlorophyll in them like Clorets ) which diminish body odor. Buy a top brand after calling your doctor to check if those tablets are compatible with meds you now take. Some meds do not mix. So to be safe call Dr. 2) The BEST roll on deodorant for controlling odor is Amway's Body Series regular scent roll on. 3) Try AMMEN'S MEDICATED POWDER IN SHOWER FRESH ( mildly scented) OR ORIGINAL SCENT IF YOU PREFER UNSCENTED. 4) Try MONISTAT Soothing Care Medicated Powder at Walgreens or WalMart. Both powders work great under skin folds and in panty area. They don't need a prescription. 5) WHEN BATHING to cut ODOR IN PANTY AREA try Dove Original White bar soap. It's outstanding. DO not use the Dove exfoliating or colored bars like pink...only use Dove Original White Moisturizing bar.

Avoid sharing bar soap/towels/washcloths. You CAN share liquid soap since it is a squeeze bottle. With bar soap everyone IN HOUSEHOLD should have their own bar and rinse the bar of soap after THEY shower. Don't reuse towels/washcloths/dishrags. NO SPONGES FOR ANYTHING-THEY CARRY LOADS OF GERMS.

Dial makes great liquid shower gels and the purple one with Lavender scent is awesome. Also Dial bar soap in Mountain Fresh scent is excellent at cutting body odor. Rinse well since soap residue causes skin to itch. I shower using a hand held shower attachment from Target.

Clean the tub after each use with disinfectant like Clorox soft scrub or Clorox if safe for TUB finish.

  • DON'T TOUCH BOILS OR PIMPLES...THEY ARE FULL OF PUS AND VERY CONTAGIOUS. ANYTHING LIKE HANDKERCHIEFS,HANDS,WASHRAGS,TOWELS THAT TOUCH THE BOIL BEFORE OR AFTER IT OPENS MUST BE WASHED SEPARATELY IN A WASHER WITH HOT WATER, DETERGENT AND CLOROX. TOSS TISSUES & WASH HANDS.

    MRSA=Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus and is a very dangerous organism found in all ages now plus other ORGANISMS GROW IN PUS FILLED BOILS, INCLUDING STREPT ( which causes Strept throat). TAKE NO CHANCES AS BOILS ARE DANGEROUS IF UNTREATED AND WHEN THEY DRAIN. THEY REQUIRE CERTAIN ANTIBIOTICS TAKEN FOR A SPECIFIED TIME TO KILL ALL THE INFECTION CAUSING GERMS WHICH CAN SPREAD TO AREAS AND ORGANS IN YOUR BODY AS WELL AS TO OTHERS AROUND YOU WHO ALSO BECOME CONTAMINATED BY THE GERMS IN BOILS&PIMPLES WHICH CAUSE SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS IF NOT TREATED ADEQUATELY. THE RIGHT ANTIBIOTIC IS REQUIRED TO KILL THE GERMS CAUSING IT.

  • **Kids, Cancer and AIDS patients, diabetics and seniors can be vulnerable. Wash hands if boil is touched. GERM X Lavender gel is good.

    TO RECAP: Buy tablets to decrease body odor after you check compatibility with current medications by calling your doctor first. Bathe (shower is better) daily with antibacterial soap like Dial Lavender showergel and try DOVE Original White bar soap to cut odor in PANTY area.

    NEVER use sponges. Clean tub after EACH use with Clorox clean up or Soft Scrub/rinse good. DON'T reuse washcloths, nor allow anyone to use another person's washcloth/towel or bar soap. All washcloths, towels, dish rags and tea towels need to be laundered after each use. Keep hands clean by carrying small bottle of hand sanitizer in purse or pocket to decrease infection after touching SHOPPING CARTS /HANDRAILS/ETC.

    GOOD LUCK
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    HOTFLASHES_101 responded:
    OOOOOOPPS Shannon sorry that info about the BOIL was for another post but the odor info was for you. Somehow they ended up combined. Hope the BOIL poster reads it.
     
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    shydiva1 responded:
    Thanks Shannon for speaking out on this issue. Now I know that I'm not alone. After reading some of the replies it gave me hope. This was an issue that I did'nt feel comfortable discussing with anyone not even my doctor (OK, my husband). I've tried the clinical strength brands and like you said they only work for a little whlie and then it's back again. I find myself throwing away a lot of tops and blouses because of this unpleasent condition. Also thanks girlygoogly and hotflashes, you guys provided some very helpful information and suggestions.
     
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    ShannonRichey responded:
    LOL I was wondering what that was referring to. It's probably a good thing you posted it here though, we never know who might see what we are doing or writing and be helped by it.
     
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    ShannonRichey responded:
    Check your email!

    I also looked up some things elsewhere and found that people with thyroid issues often have the same problem...but my doctor said my thyroid levels were normal last time I went in about three months ago. Weird. But it is great to know I am not the only one!

    I'm olive-complexioned and *used* to have a tan...but not much anymore. That's my fault, I don't go outside as much as I used to. I *hate* sunless tanners, they smell awful! I have a lot of Native American, Cherokee and Choctaw, if that matters. When you say 'dark skinned', are you thinking in the tan category?

    I need to drink more water anyway...thanks!