Persistent Body Odor
Q: I went through menopause when I was 40 and not long after that I developed
a constant problem with body odor. That was four years ago, and since then I've
tried every bath product on the market, but the smell is always there even while
I'm in the shower! It's humiliating. I feel like an outcast at work, and I'm
even ashamed around my own family. Can you help me?
Dr. Donnica: I don't know if I can help you, but your doctor probably can.
Many women who go through menopause have new or increased body odor problems,
often related to increased or excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Bath products
aren't as important to you as a strong anti-perspirant. Practicing good oral hygiene
and eliminating fried or spicy foods, caffeine, and garlic from your diet may
In many cases, this and other menopausal symptoms can be successfully treated
with a low-dose estrogen preparation, so long as you don't have any specific
contraindications, or reasons that you shouldn't be taking it. Excessive sweating
can also be caused by anxiety, diabetes, or thyroid disorders, all of which
can also increase in frequency after menopause, so a complete physical is in
order. If excessive sweating is found to be the cause of your body odor problems
and you can't take estrogen, other prescription medications are available to
decrease sweating (e.g. Robinul or Ativan). Another alternative, albeit an expensive
one, is to have Botox injections around your armpits. This may stop sweating
for up to a year.
Created: 2/22/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.