Body odor is a great turnoff. The smell is bad, and it is a sign that the person is unhygienic. Yet in many instances, people with body odor cannot help it. Many cases of body odor are caused by hormonal imbalance 1.
A human has a smell because there are bacteria in his body. Bacteria thrive in damp areas, and when a person sweats, he creates an environment in which bacteria can grow. Body odor is generally the smell of bacteria growing on the skin, because sweat itself has no smell. That is why body odor is stronger in damp places: under the armpits, between toes and the groin area. Males usually have stronger body odor than women because of the androgen hormone and a certain kind of bacteria in the skin. While some females also have these bacteria, their lower androgen production mixed with progesterone and estrogen do not produce the same level of body odor. In most cases of body odor, improved hygiene eliminates the problem, but there are times when the cause is hormonal and a medical situation exists.
Hormones and Diet
Hormones play important roles in our bodies and lives. Hormones make us grow, and help our internal organs and metabolism function properly. Any snag and our bodies suffer disorders ranging from cretinism to mood swings, infertility to excessive stress, hyperthyroidism to extreme sex drive. Diet and severe eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa may force the body to eliminate a great deal of waste to balance the body metabolism. In doing so, perspiration can be excessive and body odor will result.
There are substances around us that we inadvertently ingest that influence our metabolism. Traces of heavy metals, chemicals from herbicides, pesticides in plants, poisons from plastic food containers and substances from the water we drink and the air we breathe may negatively affect our hormonal balance. The ordinary tin can in processed foods has been reported, for example, to infuse estrogen-like hormones in the body, causing the body to reduce production of the estrogen.
Stress and Menopause
The normal levels of progesterone and estrogen are whacked out of balance by menopause, so during hot flashes of menopause, inordinate sweating may occur, resulting in body odor.
Source of Hormones
Hormones are produced by glands, so if you don't know the source of your hormone imbalance but suspect you have one, see a doctor as hormone and glandular problems can be serious and expose underlying health problems.