hormone imbalance

Suffering from embarrassing body odor can be a sign of imbalances in the body’s hormone or endocannabinoid systems.  Bouts of sweating, heat fluctuations and a smelly body odor does not necessarily mean the person is unhygienic.  In many cases, body odor can be a sign of hormonal imbalance and can be fixed by balancing hormones.

What are hormones?

Hormones are chemicals that travel through the body and send instructional signals to tissues. For example, growth, respiration, metabolism, sexual development, and fertility are influenced by hormones. Hormones can also affect the function of the immune system and behavior. Before a baby is born, hormones guide development of the brain and reproductive system.

Hormones are produced in glands (hypothalamus, pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid, pancreas, adrenal, pineal, ovaries).  When the glands are not functioning properly, inadequate amounts of hormones are sent into the bloodstream, which causes illness. Conditions caused by hormone malfunction develop slowly and are not immediately noticeable.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in the regulation of disease. In the most simplest terms, the endocannabinoid system monitors the body’s constant need to build new cells, and break down old cells. This system interacts with several other bodily systems (hormone, circulatory, immune, digestive, respiratory, nervous, endocrine, skeletal, muscle, reproductive).

It has two main functions:

  1. Modulate pleasure, energy, and well-being
  2. Nudge the body back to health in the face of injury or disease

Stress and hormone imbalance

Did you know that there are 2 different types of sweat glands? When we are stressed or upset, sweat is released from the apocrine gland and is a breeding ground for bacteria. If you have bad body oder after a heated argument, a stressful work meeting, or an intense discussion, your body is reacting to the increased stress levels. When we are hot, sweat is released from the ecrrine gland.

Menopause: A common cause of hormone imbalance

Menopause is one of the most common causes of hormonal imbalances.  Menopause upsets the hormone balance in a woman’s body causing shifts in levels of estrogen and progesterone.  During menopause women can experience several health changes including hair loss, headaches, irritability, mood swings, weight gain, depression, fatigue and excessive perspiration.

While the odor is not directly noted as a symptom it can be a result of some of the symptoms that occur in the body during this time.

Women who experience hot flashes and an increased body temperature may find that there is an increase in sweating.  The excessive perspiration, combined with naturally occurring bacteria on the skin may result in a mild, yet noticeable body odor.

Diabetes and hormone imbalance

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone insulin or if the body is unable to use insulin properly. Insulin helps supply the body with energy by transporting sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. An estimated 30 million Americans have diabetes.

Diabetes or insulin malfunction can can cause body odor to have a fruity, sweet smell. The smell is often most powerful in the breath and urine. If you or a loved one develops a fruity smell, ask your doctor for a fasting blood test.

Hypothyroidism and hormone imbalance

Hypothyroidism is categorized by an under-active thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland is under-active, it produces low amounts of thyroid hormone. thyroid hormone is responsible for managing the body’s metabolism. People with hypothyroidism have a slow metabolism and are often overweight.

It is estimated that 10 million Americans produce low amounts of thyroid hormone.

Pituitary tumors (or malfunctions) and hormone imbalance

A pituitary tumor or a malfunctioning pituitary can cause hormone imbalance and body oder. The pituitary gland is a tiny gland located at the base of the brain that makes and stores hormones. Specific hormones (Prolactin, Growth Hormone (GH), Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), andFollicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)) are made in the front portion of the pituitary gland while other hormones (antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and oxytocin) are stored in the back portion of the gland.

The pituitary gland is often referred to as the master gland of the body because it creates hormones that travel through the bloodstream, directing and stimulating other glands and hormones.

Other causes of hormone imbalance

Aside from menopause, body odor can be caused by a variety of other things.  The types of foods consumed during menopause can also have a direct impact on excessive sweating and body odor.  Women who are already experiencing hormonal imbalances should limit excessive amounts of protein in their diet.  Red meats are notorious for causing body odor due to hormonal imbalances.  If a woman is experiencing imbalance issues due to menopause, caffeinated drinks, garlic, onions and other pungent foods may worsen body odor.

Natural treatment cures for hormone imbalance

There are a variety of herbs and vitamins that can be consumed in the treatment of body odor.  Before taking herbs and vitamins, talk with your doctor first. Natural does not mean it is harmless. Herbs can have negative interactions with your current medications. Vitamins such as magnesium, zinc, or vitamin B all work well in decreasing body odor.  The dosage should be determined by a doctor who has examined the individual and knows the history of hormone imbalance.

Herbs are another natural remedy for the treatment of body odor due to imbalance.  Some herbs may be taken by mouth, added to foods, or directly applied to the armpit area to eliminate odors.

Herbs such as rosemary, licorice, ginseng and coriander contain antibacterial properties that can prevent bacteria growth.  Stopping bacteria growth prevents body odor in localized areas.

Talking with your doctor

If you have an unexplained body odor, make an appointment with your primary physician. When you talk with your doctor, be sure to bring your current medications with you. If you do not have a doctor or health insurance, look for a list of free health clinics in your area. At the free health clinic, you can talk with someone who can give you medical advice.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Which tests are you going to perform?
  • When will I have the test results?
  • Do I need medication?
    • Will the medications interact with my current medications?
    • What are the side effects of the medication?
    • Can CBD help?
  • What symptoms require immediate medical attention?
  • What are the best foods to rebalance my hormones?
  • Should I change my diet?
  • Do I need to keep a journal of my eating habits?
  • When should I schedule a follow-up appointment?
  • Will exercise help?
  • Should I try acupuncture?