Trichomycosis Axillaris: A Reason Behind Smelly Armpits

The summer almost near and with it starts warm and hot weather resulting in excessive sweating. Summer is lovely if u can maintain yourself but what if your underarms smells like hell? Body odor is a common issue and most of you might have already faced such problems. You already know that excessive sweating is the culprit for smelly armpits but the sweat itself doesn’t cause underarm odor. Most of the causes of smelly underarms are due to bacterial colonization on such sweaty areas.. One of such is trichomycosis axillaris which is caused by bacterial infection due to excessive sweating and poor local hygiene.

Trichomycosis axillaris is a superficial bacterial infection of the hair shaft. This is more commonly seen in men since most women shave their underarm hair. Trichomycosis axillaris usually involves underarms hair and pubic hair. Besides malodorous sweat, there are no any symptoms, so most of the individuals don’t visit dermatologist.

What causes Trichomycosis Axillaris?

Trichomycosis axillaris is caused by overgrowth of corynebacterium and not by fungus as the name may imply. As these bacteria loves moist environment they colonize commonly on underarms and pubis (especially scrotum hair). Hot, moist environment, excessive sweating and poor local hygiene are most common cause of trichomycosis.

What are the signs and symptoms of Trichomycosis Axillaris?

Besides malodorous sweaty underarms, there are no any other specific symptoms. On closer view, 1-2 mm yellow, black or red granular nodules or concretions can be seen attached firmly to the hair shaft. The concretions consist almost exclusively of tightly packed bacteria. Studies have shown that changes in chemical environment of these bacteria produces various pigment,giving the nodules with different colors. Yellow color is most commonly observed and may stain clothing. Rarely, there may be breakage of hair shaft. Trichomycosis may be associated with erythrasma, which is superficial bacterial infection commonly involving axillary and inguinal area.

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosed is usually made clinically based on direct examination and findings. The bacteria in the concretions can be visualized using a potassium hydroxide preparation.

Treatment of Trichomycosis Axillaris

The simple and effective treatment is to shave the affected hair. Washing the hair with vigorous rubbing is also another way of removing the colonization of bacteria. Washing with benzoyl peroxide wash is another effective treatment option. Other effective options include topical applications of creams, ointments and gels containing clindamycin, erythromycin or benzyl peroxide. Regular use of drying powders and ammonium chloride solution will fight against perspiration preventing Trichomycosis axillaris.

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