• Underarm Odor and Great News

    Asked by Sharlie on Thursday, April 30, 2015

    Underarm Odor and Great News

    First the great news....I received the results of the Oncotype DX Test and it was just a 14 so I will NOT need chemo! I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself! I am doing so well just 16 days after my BiMx. I think it is a reflection of my positive attitude going into it and being sustained by the prayers, support and love from so many people...including many here. Now for my question. I've noticed in the last week that I have a greatly increased odor from my arm pits. In the last several years it had so not been an issue that I seldom needed to wear deodorant. Now, just laying in bed within an hour after a shower I notice the smell. I asked my surgeon this morning if perhaps she moved anything around that would have caused this to happen and she said no. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this after a mastectomy? It's really strange and disconcerting. I'm hoping it's just temporary as my body adjusts to the changes.

    30 Answers from the Community

    30 answers
    • ld_105's Avatar
      ld_105

      I had just the reverse happen to me, less BO. I don't know if this is a result of the surgery or the AI blocking the hormone receptors.

      over 4 years ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar
      banditwalker

      Oh my, I was going to ask the same question. I had my bilateral in Sept. 2013. Chemo, rads, and just this past November reconstruction. The last 2 months I have noticed a different smell from my armpits. And it is not a good smell. I can't describe it. But it is horrible. Just an hour or two from a shower I will notice it. I was thinking it may be from the arimidex I am taking but that has been a year now. I was already 9 years past menopause when the cancer was diagnosed so I don't think it is my hormones. What ever it is is nasty. I don't like conventional deodorants so I make my own baking soda/corn starch mix with a little essence oil. Have been using this for years so don't think that is the problem either. If you find out what it may be, let me know.
      Congrats on your test results, good news!! It is amazing how much an attitude can help with recovery, right?

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Right banditwalker! I had a hysterectomy 30 years ago this hasn't had anything to do with menopause. My surgeon had no thoughts, so I'll ask the oncologist next week when I go. I'm not on any meds yet, so it's not that either. When I go to the store on Monday I'm going to buy a clinical strength deodorant to see if that helps. I'm just hoping it's temporary, but time will tell. The odor is pretty indescribable!

      over 4 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      I have a totally different smell after chemo and radiation..I thought that before treatment I kind of had an earthy smell that was familiar now I don't smell like me and i find it strange.

      I only use products with no aluminum like Toms and others. Keep my whites from getting yellow too. I can only say its from the chemo

      over 4 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      Now when I shower I use the feminine cleanser, gel type, in the private parts and under my arms..I only use the good stuff..the name brand from Walmart not the walmart brand..

      I like it because its a gentle and effective cleanser..Maybe try that before that strong deodorant and try Toms..Or look for any type of charcole cleanser..I used to use that when I ran..
      It is great for any sweat odors..I have seen a couple around..

      I like Toms deodorant..There are also several you can buy on line..pricey but organic and no aluminum.

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Ok, thanks CAS1, that's great advice. And ld_105, it's always nice when you get some good results out of something negative. Happy for you that you had the opposite results.

      over 4 years ago
    • motraveler's Avatar
      motraveler

      Actually I have had the same problem. Seems worse after starting Femars.

      over 4 years ago
    • barbdee's Avatar
      barbdee

      For me, there were new smells, no smell at all & now back to a different smell. I think the meds are still working their way out of my system. I know during chemo & the sweats every 15 minutes were awful. There is no hair regrowth under my arm pits either. I just know I would never start out any pre teen on aluminum based deodorants. Doesn't seem like the risk is worth it with 25% active ingredient & covering just shaved skin. I must have soaked up gallons of the stuff. By the way, I'm not on any hormone blockers, Take care everyone. Barb

      over 4 years ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      On my affected side, half of my armpit has been bald since radiation, which was the end of 2013. I still get a little BO, but it's not as strong as before cancer. Since I'm blind, I have a heightened sense of smell, so I always try to kep BO in check as best I can. I also tend to use Duv soap on my body, which we all know armpits, and I tend to wipe off any excess shampoo in the area down below, which helps with not only the smell but reduces the dryness down there. At least this is what I do. I am so happy for you that you won't need chemo! When I was on that, my body smelled of more a chemical odor, and my cat often approached me and sniffed as if I were someone who looked like her mama but wasn't. It cleared up after chemo was over, and she is cuddling with me again. HUGS and God bless.

      over 4 years ago
    • Judytjab's Avatar
      Judytjab

      Great news, Sharlie, about your Onco score. So happy for you. I know exactly how you feel. My score was low also and I was so thrilled that I didn't need chemo. About the underarm odor, like ID_105, the reverse is also true for me....at least so far. Let us know what your Oncologist says.

      over 4 years ago
    • PinkyPromise's Avatar
      PinkyPromise

      Sharlie, I forgot about that side effect until you just mentioned it. I'm six months out from my surgery, and I no longer have that issue, but I don't remember when it resolved; I don't think it took long. I'm using a crystal deodorant, which seems to work well.

      Congrats on the chemo news -- that's fantastic!!

      over 4 years ago
    • PinkPeony's Avatar
      PinkPeony

      I had chemo and radiation. The radiologist told me that the underarm hair on the radiated breast might quit growing and sweat glands on that side might quit working. Three months post radiation, and I am still hairless under that arm but the BO is alarming. It smells worse than the untreated side. Very happy that you don't need chemo! :)

      over 4 years ago
    • Jbro's Avatar
      Jbro

      So glad about your score. My oncologist was almost positive I'd be having chemo based on the size of my tumor but my score came back low. What a happy day that was! I had bilateral with expander/implant reconstruction. I had a lot of sweating issues (particularly at night) when I started on anastrozole but not an odor issue. Occasionally have a night sweat but hot flashes are getting better (after 2 years). Good luck to you!

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Nice to wake up (slept in) to a bunch of support and great answers. About the underarm hair..I'll be 68 in a few days and my underarm hair stopped growing and all but disappeared at least 5-10 years ago. I don't even know when it started happening, but I just notice a year or two ago that it was gone. I had 2 or 3 hairs that would grow but I never could see them, just feel them once in a while. This odor I've been smelling was coming from both arms, even though cancer had been in my right former breast. So I had the BiMx and have not started any medications yet and did not have rad or chemo. This is just me from surgery, period. I'm hoping like you PinkyPromise that it will just stop. I'm happy for those who also had low scores. Thanks everyone for sharing your stores.

      over 4 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      I also developed an underarm odor during breast cancer treatment, but I didn't have chemo or a mastectomy. I had lumpectomy, radiation, and a sentinel node biopsy under only one arm, but BOTH underarms started having the odor.

      It's been 13 years since I got that odor, and I never even wore deodorant before that. I also get it not long after bathing, not related to hot flashes. I've read the odor is a bacterial problem, so sometimes I put alcohol under my arms or use Dial soap there.

      Since we all have different experiences, could it be more to do with hormones (or lack of) than a specific cancer treatment?

      over 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      IMHO, it is definitely to do with hormones or a new lack thereof.

      You also, please, need to stay fully hydrated. Dehydration concentrates odors. I don't use deodorant. I use salt. I bought some big enough chunks of Himalayan salt (lasts a long time) and used water to smooth out one side which is the side wet and I run over my armpits. Yes, i get wet but it doesn't smello too much.

      I have also discovered that I need to change my undies often AND that oiling "down there" [I use Castor oil] helps a great deal. I was radiated in that area and you guys were radiated in the area of your underarms. The hair from my carpet not only no longer matches the ceiling but is actually barely there where the radiation touched.

      over 4 years ago
    • Jesse0218's Avatar
      Jesse0218

      I buy Tom's deodorant, toothpaste or antiperspirant at the grocery store. It's not in the organic section either, just the regular section. It's cheaper that way but it's the same Tom's.
      I just finished radiation a week ago and haven't noticed any strange odors and hope I don't! I can't use any deodorant or anything under that arm yet and from the looks of it and the way it feels, it will be awhile before I can. I didn't need chemo and said no to it too so the oncologist told me if I wasn't going to do chemo, I needed to do the radiation even though I'm a low risk it will come back. I kept a positive attitude through it too. I truly believe that helped a lot because radiation was no picnic either. Along with the positive attitude, I have a stubborn streak that did get me in a little trouble at times. I even had the chance to get on a horse again in the middle of the radiation and of course me being me, was on in a heartbeat and took pictures in to prove it. I think everybody who works there heard about it and not from me either. Wasn't in trouble really for riding it except one lady who does it was lecturing me on my last day and said something like 'you couldn't even wait the 5 weeks to get on a horse'. My reply - 'no, I couldn't'. That was such a turning point for me because I'd hit my low point that morning. That nice, quiet horse turned everything around big time. So, if you have something you love to do that will help you through this, go for it! It helps lift your spirits during hard times. Hope the best for all of us!!!

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Well the strangest thing happened...the odor disappeared about as quickly as it appeared! I hope it stays away. Suck a fluke, but I guess with cancer you never know what's going to happen. But I have my Tom's deodorant just in case it comes back.

      over 4 years ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar
      banditwalker

      My odor seems to come and go. For short periods of time. In other words, one minute it's there the next it isn't. I have an appt. next week with the oncologist. I will ask him if this is something he has heard of. I asked my plastic surgeion yesterday but he said he had not heard of this. I am also wondering if it has something to do with the sweat glands being disturbed during surgery.
      Will let you know what the doc says.

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Thanks banditwalker. I'm seeing my onco tomorrow and hope to get a chance to ask him about it as well. My appt. got shortchanged by 20 minutes, so not sure what all I'll get covered, mostly important stuff. I asked my surgeon about it last week and about possibly disturbing the sweat glands and she'd never heard of it and didn't think she got anywhere near them. It's just funky!

      over 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      I wonder if you guys are awate that Toms of Maine was bought out from Tom and is now brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive?

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/burts-bees-toms-of-maine-green-products_n_1438019.html

      I don't use Toms but I wonder if you guys actually read the ingredients? The toothpaste now has fluoride in it and perhaps other changes as well. I don't know about the deodorant but please remember to read the actual ingredient list rather than the front where it says "natural".

      over 4 years ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar
      banditwalker

      @geekling, I have never used Toms myself, mostly because of the price. I have been to Trader Joes in Winter Park and picked up a tube of their toothpaste. I like it. Do you have a Trader Joes near you? The hubby and I will do a day trip and go there once in a while. Any who, even a shower sometimes does not take care of this smell. I am wearing my faucets away :).

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Thanks for the info geekling. I've done some preliminary checking and everything still states that Toms deodorant is alum free. Giant corporations are always gobbling up smaller, trendy ones to get in on what consumer's are buying. I would imagine when this happens the original company stipulates in the contract that the buying company has to stick to certain ingredients and adhere to their original values. Bert's Bees was bought out too, it's just part of the business world. But it's always wise to be ingredient savvy. I'm not partial to Toms, I just want to be a safe and informed consumer. Unfortunately, in the world we now live in, the truly safe products are getting fewer and harder to find...but one can always buy off the Internet.

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Well I talked with my oncologist this morning and he never heard of this underarm odor problem. Maybe people are just too embarrassed to bring it up as both he and my surgeon were not aware of this issue. I can't remember the term he used, but it had to do with the glands that generate the sweat that our body produces. It was mostly fatty glands so this might effect anyone who is carrying some extra weight, such as myself. I'm not sure that it has anything to do with the surgery or any of the related treatments. Maybe just a quirk of nature that befalls certain cancer patients. I guess it's just something unpleasant we might have to deal with from time to time.

      over 4 years ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar
      banditwalker

      @Sharlie, well just got back from my oncs office for check up, cat scan and blood work show all is wonderful! I asked about the odor and he had not heard of this either. And, it disappeared 2 days ago as fast as it had started just like what happened to you. But, when I left his office I could faintly smell it again. Wonder if it is nerves? Any way, am not going to complain about it as long as I am healthy and cancer free. Thanks for starting the conversation, good to know I am not the only one.

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      That's wonderful news banditwalker! I'm so glad you are cancer free and pray that you stay that way. That is funny about the odor and especially that none of the doctors have ever heard of it. I'm glad you're disappeared as well and you might be right about it being cause by nerves. That's entirely possible. That and our bodies are going through a lot of changes and a lot of stress. Take good care of yourself.

      over 4 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      I definitely don't think it's the sentinel node surgery that causes the odor, because my worst side is the opposite one from the surgery.

      over 4 years ago
    • Sharlie's Avatar
      Sharlie

      Yes I thought that was a great possibility too Barb and that's why I asked the surgeon about it. It's hard for me to believe that the surgeons and oncologists have never heard of this before.

      over 4 years ago
    • Mcfarland19805's Avatar
      Mcfarland19805

      I too have the BO from underarm, started after MRSA infection that led to lymph node removal, of coarse, Drs never heard of this, I also had the Cording that comes with lymph node removal, of coarse, Drs don't know what Cording is. Anyways, when there is surgery in the armpit the lymph node drain gets cut so the body has to get rid of the toxins a different way, from what I have researched. My odor cones and goes but when it is here, look out. Also read if you drink lots of water with some lemon in it, will help with the odor. God Bless.

      over 1 year ago
    • BeepBeep's Avatar
      BeepBeep

      I also have had a disgusting odor from arm pits ever since 3 lymphs removed for breast cancer. Drs had no clue when asked about. So for 2 years have endured the aroma until yesterday noticed no smell. I have been taking amoxicillin for strep throat for 4 days now and just realized the odor is finally gone! Not sure if temporary but I'll take it and hope it gone for good.

      8 months ago

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