Fact or Fiction: Underarm Odor

By: Alison Cooper

Fact or Fiction: Underarm Odor
Image: © iStockphoto.com/Michael Monu

About This Quiz

We've all been there, and it's never pleasant. A hot day, a stressful situation -- and suddenly you realize you have some major B.O. What makes your underarms stink, and what can you do about it?
Bromhitosis is the scientific name for body odor.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's bromhidrosis.
Bromhidrosis is the scientific name.

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A hormone called androgen contributes to body odor -- it becomes active in the body when you hit puberty.
fact
Androgen it is.
fiction
almost fact: The hormone is called androsterone.

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Sweat alone is odorless, but androgen makes it smell.
fact
fiction
Sweat is indeed odorless, but it's breeding bacteria that you smell.
almost fact: Sweat does have a slight odor, and androgen intensifies it.

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To fight odor, you can wipe your underarms with a solution of one tablespoon of peroxide to one cup of water.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's one teaspoon of peroxide.
A teaspoon of peroxide in a cup of water could help get rid of the smelly bacteria.

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Eating garlic, curry and onions could cause body odor.
fact
Everyone is different, of course, but all three of these foods are known to increase B.O.
fiction
almost fact: Garlic and curry are common culprits, but onions don't have an effect.

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In a study of men in the Czech Republic, beer consumption was shown to have an adverse effect on B.O.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It was red meat, not beer.
Women who sniffed pads that had been swiped in the men's underarms (ewww) reported more unpleasant odors from the men who had eaten red meat.

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Men have a better nose for body odor than women do.
fact
fiction
A 2009 study showed that women are sharper odor-detectors.
almost fact: Young men are the best at sniffing out B.O., but the ability decreases with age.

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Aluminum chloride is the active ingredient in antiperspirants that reduces sweating.
fact
The aluminum chloride in antiperspirants reduces your sweating -- deodorants get rid of the smell.
fiction
almost fact: Aluminum chloride doesn't stop you from sweating -- it just gets rid of the smell.

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There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine are the ones under your arms (and groin and scalp).
fact
fiction
It's actually the apocrine glands that develop in the areas of your body that have a lot of hair follicles. This is the type of sweat that smells when bacteria break it down.
almost fact: The ladocrine glands are in your underarms, groin and scalp.

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If you have diabetes and your underarm odor changes, it could be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis.
fact
Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when there's no sugar left for the body to burn and it starts using fat instead. When this happens, a person's body odor can become "fruity."
fiction
almost fact: It's probably just means that your blood sugar is a little low.

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You Got:
/10
© iStockphoto.com/Michael Monu

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