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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


Our 12-year-old daughter has terrible body odor that smells yeasty. Sometimes we can barely stand to be in the same room. We have provided antibacterial soaps and deodorant but they don't seem to be solving the problem. Could this be diet or medically related or is it simply a teen phase?
    
This problem is often seen by pediatricians and rarely is there an underlying medical condition responsible for the problem. If your daughter is otherwise healthy and growing normally, then we can not 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 being isolated from friends, embarrassed, becoming anxious about her condition, and developing a low self-esteem.

Assuming that your daughter bathes properly, the most probable cause of her condition is 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.

The hormones originating from both the adrenal gland and ovares 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 daughter washes these areas frequently. Antiperspirant and deodorant sprays would be safe for your son 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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