Men's Health: Dealing With Body Odor, Sweating, Back Hair, & More

Back Hair

A man with a hairy back.

Most men have hair on their backs, whether it's just a little, or a lot. For men who wish to have a hairless back, there are many options available. For temporary results, waxing, hair removal creams, or shaving can rid you of your back hair. For a more permanent solution, laser hair removal can either thin or remove back hair entirely.

Beer Belly

A man at the buffet.

As men age they tend to gain weight, with much of it settling in the middle. Often referred to as a "beer belly," a widening waist, especially over 40 inches, can raise the risk of heart disease. However, proper diet and exercise can help reduce the waistline, and the risk for related health problems.

Excessive Sweating

Man sweating while giving a speech.

Men sweat more than women, but some men sweat more overall. Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, usually affects the areas we tend to sweat most: the armpits, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. Consult your doctor if this is a problem for you; treatments may be available to help you stay dry.

Unibrow

A man tweezing his eyebrows.

Testosterone, a male hormone, is what causes men to have more body hair than women. This can also cause what is referred to as "unibrow," or eyebrows so thick they meet in the center and appear to form one brow. Many men opt for electrolysis to ensure a permanent solution and two distinct brows. For a temporary fix, waxing done every four to six weeks can shape the brows.

Razor Bumps

A man shaving.

You shave to get smooth skin, but sometimes small red bumps may appear after shaving. Razor bumps, also called pseudofolliculitis barbae, form when hairs curl back into themselves and grow into the skin. You can prevent razor bumps by taking a hot shower before shaving to soften the hairs and open the pores, using thick shaving gel, not stretching the skin when shaving, shaving in the direction the beard grows, and holding a cold wet cloth against your face after shaving.

Rosacea

A man with rosacea on his nose.

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes skin redness, bumps, and pimples. It may also cause skin thickening, especially around the nose, which may appear swollen and bulbous. It's diagnosed more often in women, but symptoms tend to be worse in men and people who drink alcohol. While there is no cure, there are treatments that can help control or relieve symptoms.

Receding Hairline

A man at the barber.

Male pattern baldness occurs in many men. Men start to notice their hair thinning and a receding hairline in their 30s, and by their 50s many men may be significantly bald. There are a number of ways to treat hair loss, including prescription medications and surgical hair restoration.

Color Blindness

A normal and colorblind chart.

Being colorblind means you do not see colors normally. This condition affects about 1 in 10 men, and most commonly there is an inability to distinguish red and green colors. There is no treatment for color blindness, however, there are special contact lenses and glasses that may help wearers identify colors more easily. It is a lifelong condition and most men learn to adjust without difficulty.

Snoring

A man snoring in bed.

Snoring affects about 44% of men, making it more common in men than in women. It can be affected by the position in which you sleep, medications you take, alcohol you have ingested, or underlying medical conditions. It also can be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea, in which the sufferer stops breathing for short periods during sleep. If snoring disrupts your sleep, consult your doctor to rule out any medical conditions.

Belching

A man with indigestion.

Belching, or burping, is a bodily function usually caused by the body expelling excess air swallowed when eating. This is normal. However, if belching is frequent, accompanied by nausea, abdominal pain, or if belching does not relieve the discomfort, it may be a sign of a more serious digestive disorder. Consult your doctor.

Gas

A man belching.

Gas, also called flatulence or "farting," results from passing intestinal gas. While the sound and smell can cause us to be the "butt" of jokes, passing gas is common and harmless. Eating beans, fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in fiber can cause gas, as can drinking carbonated beverages such as beer and soda. If you are lactose intolerant, consuming dairy products may cause you to have more gas. If excessive gas is a concern for you, pay attention to foods that trigger more gas, and consult your doctor if symptoms do not resolve when you eliminate trigger foods.

Body Odor

A man applying deodorant.

Body odor comes from bacteria that thrive in a moist, warm environment. When we sweat, our skin becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and we may give off an unpleasant body odor. Stinky foods such as garlic and onions may also be culprits. Usually, a shower, clean clothes, and antiperspirants will rid you of body odor.

Jock Itch

A man taking a shower.

Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a fungal infection with symptoms such as a red, itchy rash in the groin area and inner thighs. It often occurs after excessive sweating such as from hot weather or exercise. It can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams or gels. To prevent recurrence, treat athlete's foot at the same time if you have it, keep the area clean and dry, and wear loose-fitting clothing.

Athlete's Foot

A man suffering from athlete’s foot from the pool.

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that affects the feet and toes, causing itchy, red, cracked, tender, and scaly skin. Blisters also may form. It also can spread to the groin or inner thighs (jock itch). It is treated with topical antifungal creams, and in severe cases a doctor may prescribe oral medications. To prevent infections, keep the feet clean and dry, use athlete's foot powders, wear open shoes when possible, and use foot protection at the gym or in public showers.

Ingrown Nails

A man cutting his toenails.

An ingrown toenail happens when your nail grows into the skin around it. It most commonly affects the big toe, and symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and infection. To prevent ingrown toenails, avoid cutting nails too short, use nail clippers specifically designed to cut toenails, and wear shoes that are not too tight.

Bad Breath

A man using breath freshener.

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by smoking or eating strong-smelling foods, but most often it is caused by bacteria in the mouth. Proper dental hygiene including tooth brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can usually get rid of the offending odors. Several underlying medical conditions such as gum disease, dry mouth, acid reflux, sinusitis, or diabetes can cause bad breath. If your symptoms of bad breath persist even with proper oral care, contact your doctor or dentist.

Sexual Dysfunction

A stressed couple in the bedroom.

Male sexual dysfunction may make you feel embarrassed, but the truth is by age 40 nearly 40% of all men have experienced some kind of sexual dysfunction including decreased libido, premature ejaculation, or an inability to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction, or ED). Often sexual dysfunction in men is related to an underlying condition, smoking, or medications you are taking. Talk to your doctor if you experience sexual problems to rule out diabetes, heart disease, neurologic conditions, or circulation problems.

Hearing Loss

A man having his ear examined by a doctor.

Hearing loss is a common problem, especially as we age. Loud noises or continuous noise can affect hearing. It may affect your ability to hear high-pitched noises, or it can result in ringing or buzzing in the ears. To prevent some forms of hearing loss, wear earplugs or headphones to protect against loud noises on the job, keep your personal music player headphones at a low volume, and avoid loud noises when possible.

Enlarged Prostate

A man waiting for the restroom.

As men age, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, is a common problem. The prostate is a gland that surrounds the urethra, and when it is enlarged it can cause symptoms including the feeling of needing to urinate more often or more urgently, or frequent nighttime urination. Talk to your doctor about behavioral modifications or medications to help relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Reviewed by Joseph Palermo, D.O, on 5/11/2016

Men's Health: Dealing With Body Odor, Sweating, Back Hair, & More

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