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No to B.O.

Banish bad body odor now

“First impressions last.” That statement has been said a lot of times, because more often than not, it is true. And more than looking good, how you smell can make or break one’s perception of you! Notice how humans gravitate toward good or pleasant smells, like a certain perfume, flowers, or a room, and how we are repelled by smells that are foul and pungent such that we try our best to avoid or stay away from it?

We are attracted to people who smell nice because we associate them as pleasant, have good hygiene, and responsible enough to take care of themselves. At the same time, smelling good adds to one’s confidence and self-esteem. This is why those with body odor bear the burden of shame and embarrassment, especially when the smell does not go away and it slowly affects their daily life. Today, let’s tackle how body odor can take a wrong turn, how one can manage it, and the treatments available for this condition.B.O.

Bromhidrosis is the clinical term for B.O. It may also be called osmidrosis and bromidrosis. Body odor starts with the fluids that come out from our sweat glands, and which can be classified into two: Eccrine glands produce odorless fluid all over the body as a reaction to rising body temperature. Apocrine glands, on the other hand, start as odorless fluid coming from the underarms, genitals, eyelids, ears, or breasts that produce a unique scent in individuals called “pheromones” and bad odor when it comes into contact with bacteria. Bromhidrosis is usually caused by excessive fluid production from the apocrine glands that produce a strong, unpleasant odor; however other factors may also be considered, like the level of bacteria present on the skin. Some studies show, however,  that those with bromhidrosis have bigger and more apocrine glands, so the secretion of these glands may be the main culprit. An individual may have one of the following forms of bromhidrosis: Aprocrine bromhidrosis is the most common form of bromhidrosis that happens more often among males. This usually begins post-puberty but rarely affects the elderly.

Apocrine bromhidrosis occurs when sticky fluid from apocrine glands mixes with bacteria that produces the foul smell. This form of bromhidrosis is most likely genetic. Eccrine bromhidrosis happens when sweat  breaks down the hair’s keratin, which then produces a bad smell. Sometimes, eating certain kinds of food or taking a type of medication may cause it, such as eating onions, curry, garlic, drinking alcohol, or taking medications such as penicillin.

To determine the form of bromhidrosis, the doctor may check for the patient’s medical or family history, as underlying conditions such as obesity or diabetes may contribute to bromhidrosis. Take note that sometimes hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) may be an underlying cause of bromhidrosis as well, and this must also be determined by the physician to be able to make a proper recommendation for treatment. To manage bromhidrosis, it is important to keep skin dry and lessen the bacteria present on the skin. To do this, the dermatologist may advise regular washing of affected areas up to twice a day with a prescribed soap (chlorhexidine-containing wash), wear loose-fitting, breathable, and comfortable clothes such as cotton or absorbent ones, bringing extra clothes to change when sweating, and regularly applying deodorant. For treatment of more serious cases, the physician may remove the apocrine glands by surgery.

If hyperhidrosis is a factor, the patient may be advised to take beta-blocking medication, or try botolinum toxin injections and nonsurgical procedures like Percutaneous lasers and microwave that deliver electromagnetic energy to the sweat glands to cause total destruction that would lessen the sweating.

If you know anyone suffering from this condition, remember that most of the time, their unpleasant smell is not their fault. Proper treatment should be administered immediately to alleviate the daily discomfort caused by bromhidrosis. It is understandable that not all patients may be willing to go to a doctor, or even admit that they have the condition, but it is the first step to get the cure. If you think you have bromhidrosis, remember that you are not alone, and you do not have to suffer in shame and embarrassment. You can banish B.O. and live life comfortably.