Bad Body Odor
Q: I need your help very badly. Since 1999, I have developed a very
bad body odor and it is so serious that I lost a good job because of it.
It has even affected my dating. I was pregnant and I lost the baby but
I refused to have a D & C; could that have caused the smell? Also,
another cause could be after that I started eating and cooking with a lot of
garlic. I thought garlic is good for the heart and that is why I ate it.
Dr. Donnica: When people talk about "bad body odor," the source is
usually the mouth, underarms, genital area, or feet. Sweat itself is odorless,
but a bad "sweaty smell" can develop after sweat reacts with bacteria
on skin. Bad breath, or halitosis, is usually the result of salivary juices
acting on particles of leftover food trapped in the mouth.
Most of these odors are easily avoided by practicing good hygiene: bathing
daily, using shampoo and soap; brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing and
using mouthwash; and laundering clothes regularly. Certain foods such
as garlic, however, as well as onions, coffee, tobacco and alcohol, can produce
odors that linger despite brushing and even seep through your skin! Many
people find it difficult to be near heavy garlic eaters. An easy solution
is to stop eating garlic for a week and see if the problem improves (ask
an honest friend!). There is a fair bit of research suggesting that garlic
does have health benefits. If its side effects are causing you such major
social disruption, however, it is clearly not worth it. Some supporters
recommend Kyolic garlic, which is an odorless capsule. For more information,
read the book "Garlic for Health" (Lotus Light Publications, Wilmot,
Chronically bad mouth or other body odors may also be due to gum diseases or
other infections. I do not think this is related to your miscarriage and
not having had a D & C. Retained products of conception from a miscarriage
would cause a horrible infection and odor; but you would probably have terrible
fever and pain as well. If your body odor is coming from the vaginal area,
many other infections could also be responsible. If this is the case, please
see your gynecologist as soon as possible.
Created: 11/23/2002  - Donnica Moore, M.D.