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3 year old with Body Odor

Our 3.5 yr old daughter has started getting adult type body odor under her arms. It can't be due to cleanliness as she showers every day or every other depending on her activity. I have read on some other sites that baby powder can help but I don't want to mask a problem. I also read that organic food could help but we have always limited her "added hormone" intake as much as possible. Her twin brother doesn't have any issues. Hopefully this is nothing to be concerned about but I want to make sure this isn't a sign of a hormonal issue.

A 3 year old with body odor is not normal and warrants further investigation. Some medications and foods can cause unusual body odor. Does your daughter take any medications? Foods that can cause body odor include asparagus, cabbage, onions, and garlic. Really anything in excess should be considered. As far as the “organic” verses “non-organic” that idea as a cause was new to me. I too search a few websites. There are several “mommy advice” sites that feel changing to organic milk will help. I doubt it, but you could try it and see. There was a Native American tribe famous for body odor secondary to large amounts of milk (obviously organic) ingested. How is your daughter’s diet different from her twin’s?

If there isn’t an obvious cause, then she should be seen by her doctor. The doctor should examine her for signs of premature puberty. These signs could be breast buds, pubertal hair or increase growth rate. If she were my patient, I would likely order a bone age. A bone age test is a simple x-ray of the hand that can determine if your daughter is maturing prematurely.

If there is any initial concerning findings then referral to a pediatric endocrinologist is warranted.


Written January 2014
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician






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