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Skin Care and Diseases

I have stinky armpits

02/23/2006

Question:

Hi there I have had this for about 2 years now. I can`t take it any more the smell drives me crazy. My husband even will say suff to me. I have tried everything over the counter and it does not work. What is wrong with me?

Answer:

There are a number of reasons to have abnormal odors from your arm pits.  Some are simply bacterial overgrowth from your apocrine sweat.  Others may be due to metabolic disorders that would give a foul smell of fish and/or necrotic tissue.  It would be my suggestion that you see your board certified dermatologist for a very precise diagnosis since more than one cause may be present.

I would suggest that you have your arm pits shaved at least once  a week to remove any debris that may be drying on hair.  Cleanse the armpits twice a day with a nonirritating cleanser or soap.  Then apply Bacitracin or Polysporin ointment in a very small amount (pea size) to the very dome or top of your arm pit.  If it is bacterial in origin you should soon see cessation of the odor.  Some patients use after shave lotions which have alcohol in them that lower the bacterial account, but others must use the Bacitracin or Polysporin, or even Neomycin.

You may become allergic to topical antibiotics so they are an interim treatment of the precise cause of the process.  Please see your board certified dermatologist since that individual will have special expertise in your question.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati