Sweating in a natural phenomenon and is very important for health. It is the natural way of the body to let away waste from the body. However there is a slight odor in the sweat. When the sweat begins to smell like onion or vinegar, then it becomes both embarrassing as well as something to worry about.
Personal hygiene: It has been noticed that people who do not wash or take bath regularly tend to have their sweat smelling like vinegar. The body excretes waste substance due to sweating hence it needs to be washed away daily. If it is not done so, then the smell becomes unbearable. The pores then get blocked of the skin and cause skin irritation also.
Food Consumption: It has been noticed that even after regular wash also the sweat still continues to smell like vinegar. In that case it is seen that the food taken also has an effect on the sweat. Thus it is very important to control one’s diet so as not to smell like vinegar. There are reports that people who are suffering from diabetes tend to have sweat smelling like vinegar. This is because the sugar breaks down leading to the formation of acidic compounds and this gives the smell of vinegar in the sweat.
Types of sweat glands: The average human has three to four million sweat glands. There are two types of sweat glands. They are as follow;
Eccrine glands : This type of gland is more or less present all over the body where ever there is skin. These glands are responsible for controlling the body temperature. When sweat evaporates the body tends to cool down.
Apocrine glands: These glands are found in the breasts, genital area, armpits and ear. The glands in the breasts secrete fat droplets that get converted into breast milk. In the ear, the glands help to form ear wax. Most of the glands are around the genital area, eyelids and around the nipple of the breast. These glands are responsible for the odor mainly because they are high in protein which the bacteria can break down easily.
However the eccrine glands are high in salt content hence making it harder for the bacteria to break the protein. Thus it can easily be said that body odor is because of the apocrine glands.
Treatment of body odor
There are four main steps to control body odor.Firstly having a shower with warm water helps to kill the bacteria that are present on the skin. This should be done at least once a day. However if the weather is hot like in summer then it is advisable to have a bath twice a day.
Secondly the clothing one wears should be of such material so that the skin is able to breathe. This is because it will help the sweat to evaporate and cool the body. Natural fibers like cotton or silk is ideal for wearing especially during summer.
Thirdly one must try and avoid spicy foods as these tend to make the sweat smell pungent or more like vinegar. A study revealed that intake of red meat also causes the smell of sweat to be that of vinegar.
Lastly the use of aluminum chloride can help in treating this problem Mostly all anti per spirants contain this product. However if the odor still stays on then it is better to consult a doctor.
Now let us consider why sweat is not good when it smells bad. There are certain areas of the body like pubic hair and armpits that give away a stronger scent as compared to other parts of the body. As mentioned earlier it is always advisable to wash such places more often. It is also seen that people who can smell their pee surely do have a problem. Normally urine has a slight ammonia smell. However when the whiff gets greater and there is pain as well as burning while urinating it means there is a problem. It is seen that when one is dehydrated the smell of urine is stronger. Hence it is advised to keep oneself always hydrated..
At times vaginal discharge also smells like vinegar. Most women have a subtle sort of acidic or vinegar odor and this can come to the nose even from a distance. This could be due to bacteria appearing in the vagina.
Body odor can vary from person to person. As bacteria breaks down sweat different odor compounds are produced by the sweat glands. The two common acidic compounds are propionic acid which makes the sweat smell like vinegar. There is also another acid called isovaleric acid that makes the sweat smell like cheese. Even hormonal changes can bring about the change in the smell of sweat. Menopause and hot flushes can also bring about5 change in the smell of sweat. Even human biology and hereditary can be a cause in sweat smelling like vinegar.