Bromhidrosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications and Prognosis

It is a foul-smelling body odor related to sweat.

Perspiration is actually odorless and only when sweat encounters bacteria on the skin can a scent emerge. Besides body odor, bromhidrosis is also known by other clinical terms, including osmrosis and bromhidrosis.

Essentially, bromhidrosis is a condition in which the person’s body odor is not normal. This is because sweat contains acid that is broken down by bacteria on the skin. The sweat glands also play a role in this condition, according to some experts.

Bromhidrosis can often be treated or prevented by changing your hygiene habits, although there are also medical treatment options.

The medical condition itself is a problem for sufferers because it can severely restrict the quality of life of the person diagnosed with the condition.

This condition is also more common in people past adolescence. Specific studies report that men experience more abnormal body odor conditions than women.


You have two types of sweat glands: apocrine and eccrine. Bromhidrosis is generally related to secretions from the apocrine glands. But both types of sweat glands can lead to abnormal body odor.

Apocrine glands are located mainly in the armpit, groin, and breast areas. The sweat of the apocrine glands tends to be thicker than that produced by the eccrine glands.

Apocrine sweat also contains chemicals called pheromones, which are hormones that have the effect of affecting others. People and animals release pheromones to attract a mate, for example.

When apocrine sweat is released, it is colorless and odorless, but upon contact with bacteria in the body, they begin to break down dry sweat and an offensive odor can result in people with bromhidrosis.

The apocrine glands do not become activated until puberty, which is why body odor is not usually a problem among young children.

Eccrine sweat glands are all over the body. Eccrine sweat is also odorless and colorless at first, although it contains a mild salty solution. It is possible to develop a bad odor when bacteria on the skin break down eccrine sweat.

Eccrine sweat odor can also reflect certain foods that you may have eaten (such as garlic), alcohol that you have consumed, or certain medications that you have taken.

So basically the results of bromhidrosis are due to the secretions of the apocrine glands, but even the sweat generated by the eccrine gland can be a reason for this medical condition.

Although bromhidrosis is common in puberty, it can also become severe and become a chronic and pathological disease. Also, the smell can interfere with the lifestyle of the person suffering from this medical condition.

When sweat mixes with bacteria on the surface of the skin, it can also affect clothing and make it difficult to remove the smell of sweat from certain garments. While a genetic predisposition and a certain age may be associated with this condition, so are the following dietary factors:

The foods that will be mentioned below are known as triggers, they stimulate the chemicals in the body, creating a strong odor.

Once the body has processed what it needs, it will send the leftovers to be excreted through (among other means) sweating. This escapes through the pores at the opening of the body, as well as other waste excretion systems.

Sulfur-rich vegetables

Vegetables that contain a high amount of sulfur content can be a factor that causes bromhidrosis. Sulfur is a natural organic product. While this form of natural sulfur is an essential ingredient, excessive amounts can lead to body odor.

Sulfur is found in every cell of the body, the excess of this compound can cause bad odors that emanate from the body.

The foods in the Brassica and Allium genomes fit into this category of foods called organosulfur. Asparagus is currently the most common food known to affect ammonia emitted by the body.

This component leads to smelly sweat and urine secretions. Brassica’s vegetables include a set of commonly eaten greens that include broccoli, cauliflower, and even cabbages.

The Allium group of vegetables includes onion, spring onion, leek, shallot, chives, and garlic. Spicy foods that involve heavy garlic intake, such as curries and spices can also lead to body odors.

Foods like these cause gas to be released from the body’s pores. Drinking plenty of water while consuming such meals can flush toxins out of the digestive system.

Meat / fish

Another reason for body odor is eating a lot of red meat. Since red meat is difficult to digest, the body works overtime to break it down, causing an increase in the amount of sweat produced.

While fish is a good option instead, the choline found in certain fish meats such as tuna and salmon are part of the B-complex vitamins, and such meat can cause the body to emit an odor.

Fried / greasy foods

Another source of body odor is the consumption of different types of fried and fatty foods. This can cause bacteria to grow in the mouth and on the skin.

The oils in these highly processed foods are associated with a lack of effective digestion and lead to bromhidrosis.

Heavily processed products

Processed foods also lack certain ingredients that make digestion difficult. Chlorophyll, found in plants, helps the body digest chemicals and additives in processed foods completely and efficiently.

These foods come high on the glycemic index and have a massive dose of carbohydrates and sugar. Therefore, they are difficult to digest. The harder the body works, the more sweat there is and the kidneys can weaken and fail.

Drinks like alcohol and coffee

Bromhidrosis is also caused by drinks like coffee and alcohol that take a long time to be digested and excreted through sweat on the skin.

While water is essential for a strong hydration regimen, especially during exercise and when life stresses are on the rise, these drinks, like coffee and beverages, like alcohol, only serve to aggravate bromhidrosis.

Excessive stress and tension

Yes, stress can cause body odor too. Being anxious and stressed leads to a large amount of a stress hormone called cortisol being released. It is known as one of the main reasons for sweating too much.

Sweating can, however, be less of a problem if bacteria live on the skin in smaller amounts. Remember that bacterial components are the real cause of body odor, along with a lack of proper kidney function.

Medical problems

Many medical conditions lead to odors and sweat. It is important to contact the doctor immediately, if there is a strong odor emanating from sweat and other excretions. Even if a chronic or long-standing medical problem requires medication, one of the ways it can affect it is bromhidrosis.

There are comprehensive side effects associated with these medications. Consequently, one of the results is body odor.

Certain medications can cause sulfur buildup around the teeth and gums. This substance smells like rotten eggs. Make sure the medications you take are compatible with each other as body color and halitosis can be a persistent problem.

Nutritional deficiency

In a world where nutrition is a low priority and frozen / processed foods are widely used, it is often impossible to get the required vitamins and minerals from food.

When there is a vitamin or mineral deficiency from food intake, it is essential to compensate or bromhidrosis may result.

Consider nutrients like magnesium, for example, these help clear the condition, try including items like oatmeal, raw walnuts, almonds, cashews, or even dark chocolate, and get your daily dose of magnesium.

Other factors

Some of the more common causes of bromhidrosis include excessive sweat secretion and poor body hygiene.

Other conditions associated with the condition include skin problems and excess weight. Then another causative factor is endocrine disorders such as diabetes or inflammation in the skin folds or intertrigo.

Some of the other medical conditions associated with body odor include trichomycosis axillaris or armpit of the hair infested with bacteria that emit body odor that breaks down sweat or erthyrasma where the skin that is chronically infected when rubbed emits an odor.

Other areas of the body can also become colonized with different types of bacteria, such as Sphingomonas paucimobilis. Laser hair removal can also trigger body odor. The same goes for metabolic disorders like PKU, fishy smell syndrome, sweaty feet, and cat syndrome odor.

In younger patients, nasal foreign bodies can also cause a body odor.

Toxic additives and even medicines like penicillin can cause body odors, in addition to the secretion of metabolites due to conditions like typhus, scurvy, and gout.


Bromhidrosis produces sweat that smells sharp, moldy, or stabbing. In addition, there is an excessive production of sweat that also interferes with daily life. Apart from the unpleasant and heavy odor, the armpits are the area where body odor comes to life.

Other areas that may be affected are the soles of the feet and the genital areas. The smell may be different for various people, but the most common types range from pungent, musty, or musty.

However, the skin appears normal unless a dermatological condition such as erthyrasma is responsible for this condition.

In the case of Eccrine Bromhidrosis, maceration of the skin can occur when keratin or body protein is consumed by bacteria. Also, there will be a thick layer of wet keratin that can be physically detected.


Bromhidrosis is easy to diagnose, your doctor should be able to identify the condition based on its scent.

You may not have a discernible odor if you are not sweating or have not recently showered, so your doctor may ask you to attend to you after you have been exercising or may have you exercise on a treadmill, for example during Quote.

Your specialist will also review your medical history to look for possible underlying causes of your body odor.


Appropriate treatment approaches for bromhidrosis are based on the severity of the condition. In some cases, preventive measures are sufficient, but in more serious cases, removing the offending sweat glands may be the answer. Your treatment options include:


Botulinum toxin A (Botox), which works by blocking nerve impulses in the muscles, can be injected into the armpit to block nerve impulses to the sweat glands.

The downside to Botox treatment is that it goes away after a while, so you may need it several times a year. This type of treatment is also used for sweaty hands and feet.


One way to reduce apocrine sweat is to remove the sweat glands. You may have heard of liposuction in relation to the removal of fat from your midsection or elsewhere on the body. Special tubes are carefully inserted into the body and the fat is removed.

The same concept can be applied to the sweat glands under the arms. A very small suction tube, called a cannula, is inserted just under the skin.

It is then rubbed along the underside of the skin, removing the glands as it goes. This process can leave some glands in place that can continue to cause excessive sweating.

In some cases, early positive results of less sweat and odor are the result of damaged nerves. When nerves stunned during liposuction repair themselves, the same problems can return.

There is encouraging progress in the use of ultrasonic liposuction, which uses vibratory energy to better remove specific sweat glands.


A more invasive way to remove the sweat glands or nerves that cause sweating is through surgery.

A procedure called endoscopic sympathectomy uses small incisions and special tools to destroy the nerves in the chest that lead to the sweat glands in the armpit. The procedure is effective for 5 to 10 years.

Another minimally invasive treatment is called electrosurgery. It is made with small insulated needles. Over a period of several treatments, a doctor can use the needles to remove the sweat glands.

A surgeon can also remove the sweat glands through a more traditional operation. This begins with an incision in the armpit, allowing the surgeon to clearly see where the glands are located.

This type of surgery is called a skin resection and it leaves some scars on the surface of the skin. It tends to be used with people who also have hidradenitis, a chronic skin condition that leaves lumps in the armpits and other parts of the body.

Home remedies

Before trying any invasive procedure, you should try some basic hygiene strategies. These can help reduce the amount of bacteria that interact with your sweat. These life choices for defeating bromhidrosis are a great place to start.

Because bromhidrosis is triggered by the action of bacteria on the skin, frequent washing may be enough to neutralize the bacteria.

Washing at least daily with soap and water can be helpful. If the odor is in the armpits, for example, you can focus your cleaning efforts there.

An antiseptic soap and antibacterial creams that contain erythromycin and clindamycin can also help. In addition, a strong deodorant or antiperspirant can play a key role in minimizing odor. It is also recommended to trim the hair in the armpits.

You should wash your clothes regularly and remove sweaty clothes as soon as possible. While some garments can be worn more than once before washing as a general rule, if you have bromhidrosis, you may need to wash after each use. A t-shirt can help prevent odor from reaching the outer layers of clothing.


For some people, bromhidrosis means more than just having body odor. It can turn out to be a sign of another medical condition. These include:

  • Trichomycosis axillaris (an infection of the hair follicles under the arm).
  • Erythrasma (a superficial infection of the skin).
  • Intertrigo (skin rash).
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity can also be a contributing factor to bromhidrosis as well.


A little odor under the arms or from other sweaty parts of the body is normal, especially during puberty. Bathing regularly, using a deodorant or antiperspirant, and wearing clean clothing may be enough to neutralize minor body odor. You should try those approaches first.

However, if the problem cannot be contained with hygiene, talk to your doctor about other treatment options. See a dermatologist to see if a skin condition can make things worse.

Bromhidrosis can be a difficult condition, but it is treatable for many people.