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Don't Sweat It! Tips for increased sweat and body odor during summer months


Summer brings longer days, more time outdoors, and a higher chance of sweating through one’s deodorant. For those who have noticed an increase in sweat – or smell – it may be time to take a few tips from Wael Fakhoury, MD, board-certified Family Medicine physician at Crystal Run Healthcare.  


“Sweat is usually odorless but when it’s mixed with the natural bacteria of the skin it may cause an odor,” said Dr. Fakhoury, “If your sweat mixes with hair dandruff or forms alongside an apocrine gland, which are around your armpits and groin, the combination causes what we know as body odor.”


Luckily, there are ways to control the amount of sweat and its odor. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water, wearing loose-fitting and breathable clothing, and finding the right antiperspirant are all ways to control the amount one sweats. Bathing daily, getting rid of extra body hair with shaving or consistent grooming, and using an anti-dandruff or clarifying shampoo all help decrease sweat buildup and the odor-causing bacteria on the body.


“The foods and spices in your diet can also make body odor worse,” Dr. Fakhoury said, “If you’re trying to decrease your body odor, try to avoid onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, spices like curry and cumin, and spicy foods in general.” 


But what about those that take all these steps and are still sweating excessively or are uncomfortable with their body odor? It may be time to see a doctor.


“There are several medical conditions and diseases associated with changes in a person’s usual body scent,” said Dr. Fakhoury, “A noticeable change in either your perspiration or body odor could be the result of a thyroid condition, liver disease, kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, gout or even hormonal changes.”


Symptoms that signal it is time to seek professional help are:

  • A fruity body odor, which could indicate diabetes
  • Sweating while sleeping
  • Sweating so much that it interferes with daily activities
  • Frequent skin infections in body areas prone to sweating
  • A bleach-like body odor
  • Frequent sweating with no physical activity
  • Redness, irritation or tenderness of the area


For those with sweat symptoms from the list above, or with sweat-related concerns that are negatively impacting your quality of life, it’s time to consider seeing a primary care physician.


Primary care providers at Crystal Run Healthcare can help identify the cause of excessive sweating. Furthermore, they can provide methods to treat the root problems and solutions to alleviate symptoms. Crystal Run offers integrated, coordinated care for all patients with common medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure. With more than 400 providers in over 50 medical and surgical specialties, Crystal Run’s primary care providers will coordinate any follow-up care patients may need with highly-trained specialists. Visit Crystal Run Healthcare at one of its locations across Orange, Sullivan, and Rockland counties in southeastern New York.


Wael Fakhoury, MD is a primary care physician board certified in Family Medicine at Crystal Run Healthcare. He earned his Bachelor of Science at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and his medical degree at Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He completed his Family Practice Residency at New York Medical College/St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers, New York. His clinical interests include pediatrics, adult care, geriatrics, and drug and alcohol abuse. Dr. Fakhoury is seeing patients in Newburgh, New York.