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How Hormones Can Affect Female Body Odor

Sweat and body odor are to be expected after exercise and exertion, but when smells persist after washing, the cause might emanate from hormone imbalance. Occurring most commonly among menopausal women due to hormonal fluctuations, understanding the link between body odor and hormones is key to uncovering an effective treatment.

Read on to discover how your hormones might affect body odor.

A decrease in estrogen confuses the hypothalamus and produces perspiration

Directly

In addition to regulating the reproductive system, hormones have major roles in the chemical reactions occurring across the body.

Changes in brain chemistry

Estrogen, the hormone that drops most dramatically during menopause, has a complex role within the brain as it is linked directly to the hypothalamus and its processes. (The hypothalamus is the portion of the brain responsible for body temperature control). As estrogen levels decrease, the hypothalamus incorrectly perceives the body as overheating. This can lead to unnecessary sweating as the body tries to "cool down." When combined with bacteria, this excess sweat can lead to body odor.

Indirectly

In domino fashion, the physical and chemical reactions that hormonal changes occasion cause further body odor problems.

Menopause symptoms

While the hormonal fluctuations brought on by menopause can be directly responsible for female body odor, additional side effects of these changes might also contribute to unsolicited scents.

  • Hot flashes and night sweats accompanied by their byproduct - perspiration - can feed bacteria growing on the body and causes smells.

  • Depression and anxiety can also be experienced during menopause, and the experience of mental stress is just as likely to cause sweating and body odor as physical.

Weight gain

Hormonal imbalance is known to affect a woman's weight, as reductions in estrogen can lead to water retention and a buildup of excess fat around the waist. If weight gain is not combated by adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet, it can lead to difficulties performing necessary everyday motions and lead to further sweating and female body odor.

When sustained for extended periods, weight gain can have dangerous consequences like the development of insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to diabetes. Diabetes has also been linked to body odor issues.

Medications

Unfortunately, many hormone-regulating medications can actually worsen the experience of sweating and female body odor. Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), for example, might find that a side effect of the therapy is an accompanying unpleasant scent.

Natural methods, such as lifestyle changes, might offer an attractive alternative, as they can be effective when used in conjunction with natural herbal supplements. Before opting for any solution, however, it's always best to discuss your options with a doctor.

Hormone fluctuation can seriously impact a woman's internal equilibrium, and body odor is just one potential side effect. The good news, though, is that no one has to live with the condition. Discuss how hormone imbalance is affecting you with a medical professional and discover the most suitable combination of treatments.

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Sources:
  • Dugdale, D. (2011). Sweating: Medline Plus Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003218.htm
  • Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
  • Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
  • BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007
  • National Health Service UK. ) . (n.d.). Trimethylaminuria ('fish odour syndrome') . Retrieved August 4, 2015.http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/trimethylaminuria/Pages/Introduction.aspx