Stinking pits!

Do innocent bystanders collapse every time you lift your arm? Do teeming crowds magically give way when you pass through?  You may have a bad case of Bromhidrosis, the medical way of saying – You Stink !

Why does BO happen?

Most of the time, BO is caused by excessive sweat. Your body has two types of sweat glands. The eccrine glands, found all over the body, are inoffensive glands which produce odorless sweat that cools down your body. The real culprits are the apocrine glands, which are found in the hairy parts of the body. Especially the axillae (armpits) and … um well … certain other places.

The apocrines produce mating scents. Which is fine. Unfortunately, since the apocrines populate areas of the body that are hot and humid, they also encourage the mating of bacteria. BO is the outcome of the vigorous activities of these bacteria in said hot and humid climes. It may also be that your apocrines are overactive and you sweat more than lesser humans.


Shave. Bacteria love hairy surroundings. So… shave.

Bathe. Preferably every day. Preferably twice a day. There’s no need for an ‘antibacterial’ soap. You’ll smell like a doctor’s clinic. So just use any good brand … but bathe.

Watch your diet. You smell of what you eat. Cut back on dairy products, onions and garlic. Mustard oil stinks … no matter what people up North may say. Eat plenty of greens and leafy stuff.

Keep yourself hydrated.

Cotton is effective in absorbing sweat. Please do use cotton socks and undies … and it would be nice if you could wear fresh ones every day. Ask anyone who’s lived in a hostel. Believe me, I know.

Use deodorants sparingly. Deo’s only cover up, they don’t remove the problem.


If you’re hyperhidrotic, that is, if you sweat a lot, you may need an astringent or anhidrotic (anti-perspirant). Astringent lotions containing aluminium or zinc salts effectively shrink your overactive apocrine glands. Potassium permanganate lotion also works well as a local antiperspirant. You’ll need medical advice first before trying out a prescription anhidrotic, so check with your family medic.

Bromhidrosis is medically harmless. It won’t kill you.

But the solitude might.

Cheers … Srini.