Is it weird that one armpit should stink much worse than my other?

I’m not doing any manual labor here. But really, the stink comparison is quite severe.

I’m left-handed, but the massive stink occurs on my right pit.

A few months back, after a sexual encounter (I couldn’t sleep and was feeling myself), I discovered that I have a rice-shaped flesh-colored mole sprouting out of the middle of my right pit. Could this have anything to do with it?

I would say you probably scratched the mole in your right pit with your left hand and deposited some bacteria there.

It’s almost certainly armpit cancer - see a doctor right away!!!


Well, at least you’re not alone, MrSarcasticus. When I work out, I sweat, but, unlike stress-induced sweat, it doesn’t produce that bad stink. All except for one rogue sweatgland on one side, which produces the same bad odor that one normally associates with nervous sweat.

This has been going on for many months, despite the fact that I shower once or twice a day, and use an anti-bacterial soap. An anti-perspirant does stop it, of course, but I don’t like to use that all the time. On the plus side, there’s no sign of anything scary going on over there, and it hasn’t gotten any worse.

I’ll be watching this thread with great interest, to see if anyone has any solid info!

Start out with the fact that sweat itself doesn’t stink (including underarm sweat)…

It’s sort of like the situation with… um… cheese. Same cow’s milk, but different microorganisms. You could have feta in one armpit, and limburger in the other one. Could be worse. Putrefying underarms could normally be full of putresine and cadaverine.

I bet it’s your shirts which are storing two different bacteria populations. It wouldn’t matter how much you shower and use antibacterial deodorant, the armpits of your shirts re-seed the original bacteria.

It’s fairly easy to scrub and sterilize your armpits. But then they’re quickly re-contaminated from detrius stored in the armpits of “clean” shirts. Laundry soap and electric dryers don’t kill 'em. Try first sterilizing shirts with very weak bleach water while doing laundry, THEN scrub out your armpits. But if you accidentally wear just one old shirt which still has the two different bacteria populations, you’ll be back where you started.
Heh. To verify that this is the cause, try wearing old unmodified t-shirts BACKWARDS after getting clean. This should make the stinky pit exchange places with the good one.

I would suspect that it might be more than just commensal bacterial populations on the skin and in the follicles. If the sweat stinks immediately, you may have one or more minor infected follicles. It’s no biggie. It happens all over the body, all the time, but most of our body isn’t ‘designed to capture smell’. It has been hypothesized that pheromone and odor -useful in the animal kingdom- is one function of our vestigial armpit hair, and the substantially different composition of sweat, oil, and other skin glands in our armpits.

Furthermore, the population mix living on various areas of the skin is complex. It’s not a matter of mere innoculation with a contaminated shirt. The various bacteria compete and cooperate, until a balance is reached that is most stable for that region. Staphylococcus aureus, one of the most common and universal skin bacteria, is actually very helpful in that regard. It out-competes other, potentially harmfull bacteria, over the broad expanses of dry exposed skin. In other tissues, it can be less benficial: in the blood, it is (among other things) the primary agent of Toxic shock syndrome; and in the muscle, certain (rare)strains that may already be on your skin might cause Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh-eating disease) I wouldn’t worry to much about that last one, though: it’s rare.

If this assymetry of odor really bothers you (or if you simply wish to prove it’s not surface bacteria), simply do this:

Wear an old sweaty T-shirt, backwards, this weekend. If the surface innoculation theory is correct (which I personally doubt), both your armpits will soon stink equally, since both will be heavily innoculated with both bacterial mixtures. With any luck, the less stinky strain will win, but I wouldn’t hold my breath

Or maybe I would. How stinky are they?

True, there are small differences between the temperatures of your two armpit, since they have different circulatory structures (look up brachycephalic trunk and innominate vein, if you really care), but I’d bet on either a temporary infection (if the effect is recent) or a simple assymetry in the distribution of glands (usually unnoticeable)

Barring that, I think highly of the “Preferred hand” innoculation theory. People do use their two hands for varying activities, and therefore the hands, in particular, can be exposed to, and spread different bacteria. There’s a classic tale of why Hindus don’t use their left hand at the table (Oddly, I don’t know if it’s true, though I was raised by Hindus - and I doubt I could get a straight answer from them anyway)

OK, I’ll be the one to say it…

Try Right Guard. You’ve apparently been using only Left Guard.

Sorry. :slight_smile: