Contributed by- Dr. Dhrity Vats
Most of us at some point or other have fallen victim to embarrassing situations like bad breath, body odour, excessive sweating and smelly feet. This can also have a gender angle attached to it, wherein females are troubled with unwanted hair growth and men with excessive mammary gland growth.
Although very common, these problems are often the reason behind endless episodes of social awkwardness and lack of confidence. A person suffering from any of these problems is often teased and humiliated but like any other health issue these problems are not the person’s fault.
Anyone of us can fall prey to these problems; so it is important to know the whats and hows of these illnesses. Read to get answers to all your questions regarding these smelly, stinky and unwanted problems.
Bad breath: It reaches people before you actually do
Waking up with bad breath in the morning is only natural and does not necessarily indicate any pathology but persistent bad or stinky breath can be a huge warning bell that you might be suffering from halitosis. Bad breath is not only unpleasant but can also affect your confidence drastically. Some of the common causes of bad breath or halitosis are:
- Poor oral hygiene: The most common reason for bad breath is poor oral hygiene which can lead to several problems like tooth decay, gum infection, unwanted plaque deposition. The unpleasant smell is caused due to the bacteria that builds up on your teeth, in between the teeth, tongue and gums. These bacteria are also responsible for gum disease and tooth decay.
- Food and drink: What you eat or drink affects your breath significantly. Consumption of strong flavoured foods such as garlic, onions, certain spices and intake of strong smelling drinks like coffee and alcohol can cause strong and smelly breath which can linger for many hours.
- Others: Smoking, tobacco chewing, certain medications can lead to bad breath. Medical conditions like liver disorders, respiratory tract cancers and infections, high blood sugar and sinus can also cause bad breath.
Oral hygiene practices to fight bad breath
Good oral hygiene means healthy teeth and a much happier you. Below are few very important oral hygiene steps that should be included in your daily routine:
- Using a soft bristle toothbrush twice daily to clean your teeth
- Cleaning your tongue is the most important and should be practised regularly
- Flossing and use of any inter dental aid is also highly recommended
- Regular visits to the dentist is highly recommended
- Chew cardamom, clove or a breath mint after consuming some strong smelling food or drink
Body odour: The biggest human repellent
All of us have had one of those awful stinky sweaty days. Bad body odour can be really unpleasant and often lead to embarrassing social incidents.
But what really causes sweat and body odour?
Sweat itself, generally does not have any smell. The salts in the sweat breakdown and reacts with the apocrine glands which discharges oil from the armpits and groin area leaving a pungent smell. The smell is the result of the reaction between sweat and oil. Hyperhydrosis or excessive sweating is a medical condition where the general ratio is four times normal sweating.
How do you get rid of body odour?
Inorder to maintain good and healthy physical hygiene and avoid the horrible body odour problem follow these really simple yet effective steps:
- Take a bath regularly
- In summers and humid weather you can bathe twice
- Add antiseptic solutions to your bathing water
- Try rubbing a slice of lemon on the areas where you sweat maximum
- Alum can also give wonderful results if added in the bathing water or rubbed on the smelly areas
- Drink lots of water
- Eliminate odor producing foods from your diet
- Consider using natural antiperspirants; whether store-bought or homemade
Smelly feet: Don’t take those shoes off
Smelly feet can be really embarrassing, a lot of people avoid opening their shoes in public because it can be really uncomfortable for everyone around. Sweating in our feet is a natural phenomenon but stinking feet is the result of poor hygiene habits.
The bacteria on the skin breaks down sweat as it comes from the pores, the awful smell of the feet comes when the sweat decomposes due to prolong shoe cover or poor hygiene. Smelly feet is known as bromodosis medically. The feet sweat glands are the most active than any other part of the body.
People who wear shoes for a longer duration are prone to smelly feet as the skin of the feet is not able to breathe due to the constant shoe or socks cover. Other reasons of smelly feet can be a fungal growth in the feet especially in between the toes. Diet also plays a major role, foods that can lead to smelly feet are onions, garlic, asparagus, cabbage, mustard seed, red meat etc.
How to cure smelly feet?
The simplest answer to healthy and non smelly feet are:
- Few foot creams and powders available in the market
- Boric powder can also do the trick
- Maintaining a good hygiene of your feet
- Clip your nails regularly
- A good pedicure always helps to relax and maintain clean and healthy feet
- Change your socks daily
- In summers try using sandals or open footwear
Unwanted hair in women: Who does not hate it!
Androgens (the male hormones) are responsible for hair on the body. Women too produce this in minimal range in their bodies. Excessive production of androgens in the female body causes hormonal imbalance and can lead to unwanted hair growth also known as hirutism.
A major symptom of PCOS is hirsutism i.e. excess hair growth. Unwanted hair growth in the several areas on the body like upper lips, chin, neck and other parts of the body can easily lead to embarrassment and lack of confidence. Below are few solutions for abnormal hair growth:
- Cosmetologists like laser or electrolysis
- For temporary removal of hair waxing can be done
- Medical treatment for hormonal imbalance
Moobs or excess breast tissue: Stop shying from it!
Several male suffer from this embarrassing disorder. Gynecomastia is the enlargement of the mammary glands present in the body of a male due to hormonal imbalance. The female hormone that is the estrogen is raised than the normal levels which causes this problem. Sometimes it can be confused with fat deposit in the healthy males where fat is deposited in the mammary glands and appear enlarged.
There are hormonal therapy available for individuals incase of hormonal imbalance. Exercise can be done if it is a pseudogynecomastia with fat deposits. Surgically removal of mammary glands is also advisable in extreme cases.
Dietary recommendations to avoid these problems
Most of these health issues are related to a unhealthy lifestyle. Those who drink and smoke heavy are prone to have these health issues. Small and consistent change in one’s lifestyle will help in controlling these problems. Change in diet will definitely help, a healthy diet containing
- whole grains
- lots of leafy vegetables
- fresh fruits
- soy products
- raw nuts etc. can help a lot
Avoid refined sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oils, processed foods and red meat because it releases many toxins into the blood stream.
Psychological affects of these embarrassing health problems
Yes, these ailments can lead to social embarrassment and lack of confidence in an individual suffering from any of above mentioned disorders. Gone are the days when nobody bothered about the physical conditions, nowadays everybody is conscious about their physical appearance.
Bad body odour or bad breath can be a huge turn off. No matter how charismatic you are, bad smell can easily lead to an uncomfortable situation. Maintaining proper hygiene is a must, it will not only save you from the social embarrassment but will also ensure good health.
These embarrassing health problems can act as a huge hurdle in one’s social life and can affect the total well being of a person. Checking and correcting these factors will not only make you a more confident and socially acceptable person but will also help you in maintaining a proper and healthy hygiene.
A few changes can help you tackle these health problems and break the shackles of embarrassment.
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