Smelly armpits: when do they become a problem

Smelly armpits aren't an uncommon health complaint. Too many-a-time you will have been sat on a train, on a bus, or in a business meeting, and gradually noticed the overpowering unpleasant smell of body odour (bromhidrosis).

What causes smelly armpits?

In the most simplistic of medical terms, smelly armpits are caused by bacteria on the skin. On their own, the bacteria are quite harmless. When you perspire, however, it is responsible for breaking down acids in your sweat. This, in turn, causes the distinctly potent stench, which has come to be known as BO.

During and after puberty, when the apocrine glands have developed, it is really quite normal to notice sweating in the underarms and in other areas of the body. Typically, this can be managed effectively with no trouble at all. Antiperspirant deodorants and washing regularly should be enough to do the trick.

When perspiration is problematic

Standard sweating aside, for some people, smelly armpits become quite an issue. This is particularly true for males, who naturally perspire more than females. More sweat obviously equates to a greater chance of developing undesirable body odour.

Of course, the majority of us do inevitably reach adulthood, eventually. And so, there is a risk that each of us will suffer from excessive sweating with odour. This considered, there are some things that can exacerbate the issue. If you are struggling with body odour, take a look at your weight, diet, and health. Factors to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Your weight: overweight people are more likely to suffer from bromhidrosis
  • Your diet: alcohol, spices and garlic can induce excessive sweating with odour
  • Your health: some medication is known to worsen body odour, as can some conditions, including diabetes or kidney disease

Time to take action

If you have tried washing regularly, wearing a quality antiperspirant deodorant, and taking note of the self-care advice above, all to no avail, it could be time to see your GP.

As well as denting your confidence and reducing self-esteem, bromhidrosis and excessive sweating can be a symptom of underlying medical problems, of which you might not be aware. If there is a problem, your doctor will be able to assist. It may be that your GP simply prescribes a stronger antiperspirant or, in the case of severe body odour, surgery may be recommended.

If there’s nothing your doctor can do, it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. There are other routes to solve your smelly armpit issues. Wrinkle-relaxing injections, otherwise known as Botox, can be arranged privately and is known to effectively reduce underarm sweating.

Good luck!


Leave a Comment

  • Paul Stevens says:

    That’s such an embarrassing topic but definitely worth mentioning. I haven’t come across other articles about this. I’m definitely struggling with this and the doctors weren’t of much help. I never knew you could have injections for that. Time to do more research then