A female friend recently confessed to me that she had been suffering from body odor her entire life. She wanted to share her experience because she wanted to help others- I am thankful that after starting this blog, I’ve met such people who are willing to share their story to help others.
Her nightmare began when she was about 9 years old- and she had neglected her personal hygiene as she did not realize she should bathe and change her clothes everyday (that is why a child has to be taught everything- one cannot assume that they would know what we know).
By the time her parents realized, it was too late. As she grown older, she suffered from low self esteem, never knowing when the problem would ‘act up’ at her armpits and embarrass her. She was fearful of being outdoors and even being physically active as it would encourage more sweating and giving in the odor. Sometimes just wearing the wrong clothes would make the ‘smell’ come out faster. It’s not always the person who have the odor knows about it- sometimes others can smell but the person is oblivious to it.
She had tried all sorts of ways to overcome the problem but nothing seemed to work. If not, the problem seemed to have gotten worse- especially with the sometimes faulty air-con in her office. At first she was using a deodorant but found that it did not work after a while. And she did not really dared to use anti perspirants because of the relationship with cancer. Wearing polyester based clothings were a strict no no.
Still, she noted that when she is nervous, such as when she has to confront difficult situation or when she was in stress, the odor became more pronounced and offensive. She felt that this ‘curse’ was really holding her back in life- she could not wear clothings that were too thick like coats, neither could she wear polyester which came with all shapes and colours.
What puzzled her is that when she was on holiday and not stressed, the odor seemed less pronounced even though she was outdoors travelling and sweating buckets.
Later circumstances made her scaled down her life- she left the job and took another job nearer to her home to take care of her family.
She explained to me that the strange thing is that, when she was no longer thrown in a stressful situation when she felt defensive and angry, her body odor problem was reduced. She said that once a person has this, it will follow a person his or her whole life- but it can be reduced. Till today, she told me that things are ‘under control’. But she takes the following precautions:
- Reduce stress- it’s a vicious cycle- the stress make the sweat glands overactive, which then triggers the bacteria and sweat is produced.
- Do not want to put herself into negative situation- and learn to think positive
- Avoid eating food that are too spicy- because she believed that it contributed to odors
- She said certain clothings brings out the odor very quickly- it’s important to dispose these clothings no matter how expensive they are- after all, it’s a matter of self esteem
- Change clothings more often and use anti bacteria detergent
- She uses a little anti perspirant – not a lot but a little because she is worried about the effects on cancer
- Always bring an extra set of clothes- you’ll never know when it acts up
- For a woman, sometimes the body secretes more odor during some hormonal change cycle- identify them and take precaution (use anti perspirant and have an extra change of top)
She said reflectively that perhaps it was probably her body’s way of trying to tell her something- and for the first time in her life that the problem’s ‘under control’ she felt it’s a sign she had probably done something right. I believe so, because I honestly could see that she looked much more happier now than a few years back.
My 2 cents
There are options such as surgical options to completely remove the offensive sweat glands or to take medications to make the body sweat less. This should be strongly discouraged. Like what I read in a book on healing- eliminating any parts that are giving off warning signals is like taking a stick and hitting the fire alarm till it stops ringing just because you are irritated by its sound. Furthermore, areas like the armpits is located near the breasts, tonsils and lungs. We have lots of lymph nodes that is supposed to fight off infection and threats to our body. And eliminate those toxins via sweat. If you remove that, then these toxins or dangerous by products may be parked in the breasts instead. Eventually, they turned to cysts and may lead on to cancer.
Body odor is related to bacteria which seemed to take up a permanent residence in the sweat glands. Rightfully, if our immune system is strong, these bacteria should not stand a change to manifest and ‘do their thing’. Bad dietary choices, inactive lifestyle, stress and negative emotions have been known to thrown our immune system off whack. And having the odor could be your body’s way of telling you that those bacteria ‘rule’ the area.
If you are willing to look for permanent solution, perhaps exploring into taking care of your body, mind and spirit health would be well worth the effort….because the benefits spilled into each and every area of your life.