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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


My 8 year-old daughter has terrible body odor. This has been a problem for some time. She doesn't show any signs of early puberty. She bathes regularly. She does seem to sweat a lot especially at night while sleeping. Could this be a sign of something? Our pediatrician says "hyperhydrosis,” but I am concerned that there is something else that causes the sweating and body odor. Thank you.
    
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term that is used to describe any condition that results in excessive sweating. It is usually reserved for those children who have excessive perspiration of the face, hands and feet, a problem that is socially embarrassing and presents many problems for the youngster. This problem is often seen by pediatricians and rarely is there an underlying medical condition. If your daughter is otherwise healthy and growing normally, then we cannot think of any illness that this symptom suggests. However, we are glad you asked the question since the presence of abnormal body odor could lead to your daughter to be isolated from friends, embarrassed, becoming anxious about his condition, and developing a low self- esteem.

Assuming that your daughter bathes properly, the cause of his condition is probably the normal beginnings of puberty(In the United States, puberty can start anytime from age eight to 13 in girls and (age 10 to 15 in boys). In the next few months you will begin to notice other changes. These include breast development and underarm/pubic hair in girls and facial, underarm, and pubic hair in boys. The hormones originating from both the adrenal gland and testis will cause increase sweat on the skin surfaces.

The bad odor comes after the normal bacteria on the skin that ferment the sugar in sweat to form the chemicals that smell. Therefore, using an antibacterial soap, such as Dial, Betadine, or Phisohex scrub, will reduce the number of bacteria on the skin’s surfaces. The sweat glands around the breasts, genitals and armpits produce the most sweat so make sure your son washes these areas frequently. Antiperspirant and deodorant sprays would be safe for your daughter to use. Read the labels and pick deodorants that contain bacteria-killing metals, such as aluminum, zinc, and zirconium. While they may only mask the condition, they will help the condition.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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