Beauty Health Psychology

Why Body Odor Can Suddenly Change

Written by Dana Peterson

It is not for nothing that someone can smell good when they are personable. It becomes all the more unpleasant when the body odor becomes unpleasant and thus a problem. At the latest, when body odors appear not only in summer or in stressful situations, you should act: Why body odor can suddenly change.

At the latest, when body odors appear not only in summer or in stressful situations, you should act:  Why body odor can suddenly change.

Everyone has their own body odor, which is mainly determined by the genes. But when the normal smell turns into an unpleasant one, it is time to act. There are many reasons for this, but poor hygiene is not always the cause. Stress, diet changes or even illness can also cause your body odor to change. What to do if you suddenly can’t smell yourself and how to improve your body odor.

4 causes of sweat odor: why body odor can suddenly change

Most of the time we don’t even notice it at first, or only when someone asks us about it: But our body odor can suddenly change. If this is the case for you, you should first look for the cause – because the reasons can be very different.

  • Increased sweating
  • Food
  • The hormones
  • Medical causes

Cause 1: increased sweating

Summer heat, more exercise, or increased alcohol consumption can all make you sweat more. Sweat glands are distributed all over our body and ensure that our heat balance is regulated. So sweating in itself is important and doesn’t necessarily make you smell. The unpleasant body odor is only caused by the bacteria in the sweat.

Our sweat is 99% water. So far so good – the remaining 1% are ingredients such as urea, protein, lactic acid and fat, which are staple foods for many bacteria. When our sweat remains airtight, for example in socks and shoes, it is a real mecca for bacteria. You will feel right at home in this warm, humid environment and the longer the bacteria stay there and break down our sweat, the more intense our body odor becomes. In stressful situations, with elevated temperatures or a lot of exercise, your sweat glands are stimulated and you usually sweat more.

Cause 2: the diet

Sometimes such an altered body odor is only temporary. Then a past meal with lots of garlic, onions or leeks can be to blame. They are exhaled through the skin. Black tea, alcohol, spicy or difficult to digest food, however, can also cause sweat production to suddenly be stimulated and a strong body odor to develop. Also, red meat and cabbage can have a negative impact on our smell. But there are also positive effects on the odor of sweat: According to experts, a diet that increasingly includes the consumption of fruit and vegetables leads to a pleasant smelling sweat.

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Cause 3: the hormones

Hormones are messenger substances that are produced by the body in order to control certain bodily functions such as growth, metabolism or sexuality. Above all, sex hormones are also noticeable externally: Swiss scientists have found that sex hormones not only affect our psyche and fertility, but also how we smell. Estrogens, i.e. female hormones, have a high proportion of sulfur and female sweat smells slightly like onions as a result. In men, the testosterone creates a slightly cheesy odor. Age and fertile phases change the body odor, hormones also change.

Cause 4: Medical causes

A suddenly changed body odor can also have more serious causes: Certain diseases can also cause unpleasant body odors. Diabetes, kidney disease, a yeast infection, hypothyroidism, or metabolic disorders can all cause your smell to change. The use of medication can also be responsible for this under certain circumstances.

These smells are warning signals from the body

  • Sour body odor: A sour vinegar odor can indicate an underactive thyroid.
  • Smell of urine: If the sweat starts to smell like urine, a kidney disease may be hidden behind it.
  • Smell of acetone: The cause lies in the pancreas: body odor and breath odor, which smells slightly like nail polish remover, can indicate diabetes and insulin deficiency.
  • Ammonia smell: If the body emits an acrid ammonia smell through the skin, this indicates a problem with the liver.

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About the author

Dana Peterson

I'm Dana Peterson, a freelance writer, serial blogger, self-published author of 7 books, and speaker who enjoys enlightening others about unknown and little-known facts.

I'm a mother of two kids, but I've also been a typographer, a film composer, a piano player, a singer in an all-girl rock band. I love writing on cruise ships, or late nights, but also at home in my sunny southern California garden.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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