Bye Bye B.O. (Bad Odor)

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Here are some remedies to help you fight the funk.

Whether it’s the nose-scrunching stench from a kick-butt workout, the whiff of last night’s kung pao chicken lingering in your every word, or that less-than-fresh aroma that makes you say, “Not tonight, honey,” your body gives off a myriad of scents that, while totally normal, can sometimes stink. Not to worry–these expert tips will help you battle B.O. for good.

Smelly Pits
Sweat is normal and odor-less–until it comes in contact with the bacteria on your skin. And bacteria thrive in warm, dark, moist places like your armpits. If you find your shirt is constantly drenched, you may have hyperhidrosis, a condition that sends sweat glands into unnecessary overdrive. Excessive sweat accompanied by nausea, dizziness, or weight loss could indicate low blood sugar or a thyroid problem.

What to do:
Underarm products containing both a deodorant and an antipersperant help mask odor while stoping wetness, but most of us apply them at the wrong time. Moisture prevents the key ingredient in antiperspirants–aluminum-based salts-from plugging sweat ducts, so applying them after showering isn’t most effective way to treat the probblem. Foe optimum dryness, roll on a sweat stopper, when you’re skin’s dry and the product has more time to penetrate your pores. (You may need stronger, prescription antiperspirant like Drysol if you have hyperhidrosis.) Then reapply in the morning, if you like, when you’ve sufficiently dried your armpits after showering.

Stinky Feet
With 250,00 sweat glands each, your feet produce up to 1/2 cup sweat every day. And as temperature rise, so does the moisture, creating the perfect breeding ground for odor-producing bacteria.

What to do:
Wash and dry your feet thoroughly when you shower. Wear shoes made from natural materials–like leather or canvas–that allow feet to breathe. If your feet still get damp, sprinkle on a foot powder or stick an absorbent insole in your shoes. That same antiperspirant you’re applying to your underarms everynight will also keep your feet dry.

That “Not-So-Fresh” Feeling
Every woman has a distinctive, natural vaginal scent that can become stronger or milder throughout her monthly cycle. But a really foul smell may indicate a change in vagina’s delicate bacterial balance–a top reason women visit their gynecologist. Odor accompanied by discharged that’s yellowish, green, grayish, or thick like cottage cheese may indicate a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis (BV), or trichomoniasis.

What to do: Wash around your vagina with a mild soap like Dove when you shower.And try to keep excess moisture away from your genitals: Change out of wet swimsuits and sweaty workout clothes immediately and wear cotton-lined panties that wick moisture away and allow air to circulate. Avoid scented hygiene products that, if you’re sensitive, can up your risk for vaginal irritations. If you do have an infection, antibiotics (for BV and trichomoniasis) or antifungals (for yeast) will generally clear it right up.

Beastly Breath
More than 80 million Americans suffer from chronic bad breath (halitosis), which occurs when bacteria that live in the mouth feast on decaying food particles, then produce smelly sulfur compounds. What you eat can cause dragon breath too. Pungent foods like garlic and onions are absorbed by the stomach and then released from the lungs for up to 72 hours after you’ve eaten them. If your gums bleed or are red or swollen, and your breath reeks, you may have a treatable gum disease like gingivits.

What to do:
Use a scraper or brush on your tongue everytime you brush your teeth (at least twice a day or after every meal) to get rid of bacteria. Daily flossing and twice-annual dentist visits are equally important. Low concentrations of carbamide peroxide, a tooth-bleaching agent, can destroy odor-generating bacteria and sulfur compounds for up to a year. The approximate $600 treatment is first administered by your dentist, then completed at home over 10 days. Though most insurance companies won’t pay for this procedure, if you suffer from truly toxic breath, you may find it’s more than worth the cash.

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