Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Features

Many solutions for musty odor

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar The Spokesman-Review

Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from “Stinky in the Rockies,” who said she had a body odor and described it as “musty.” She may have meant “musky.” Some folks have this and can do nothing about it.

The musk odor comes from the glands associated with making sebum. It was a major reason that human beings survived as a species because it kept us from being eaten by carnivores. “Stinky” can try to cover it up, but she is already appropriately clean. – John R. Dykers Jr., M.D., Siler City, N.C.

Dear Dr. Dykers: We appreciate your medical help, although it doesn’t offer much consolation. Our readers sent a plethora of suggestions for “Stinky.” Read on:

From California: If this has been a problem since adolescence, it is most likely due to the kind of systemic physiological imbalances that Western medicine rarely addresses. To really tackle the problem, it would probably be worth going to an acupuncturist, a chiropractor who practices neuroemotional technique or an Ayurvedic (ancient Indian medical system) practitioner.

Chicago: I overheard two medical interns discussing a case of body odor that turned out to be a zinc deficiency, and that solved my problem.

New York: I used to have the same problem until I discovered that the laundry machine in my building did not wash at the correct temperature. What I thought was a hot wash was really about 20 degrees Celsius. After I learned to run the hot water tap at the sink until the water was hot, the problem disappeared.

Midwest: Tell “Stinky” that a vegetarian diet tends to make people lose their odor. Worked for me and a number of close associates.

East Coast: My husband also had a musty odor, and we discovered it was his scalp. Even immediately after a shower, his hair would have that odor to it. The doctor gave him a prescription shampoo with selenium sulfide 2.5 percent in it.

Virginia: Please advise “Stinky” to see a physician who specializes in genetics and/or metabolic diseases, and get tested for disorders of protein and fat metabolism that can cause body odor. Some of these diseases can be treated with dietary elimination and supplements.

Dear Readers: Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead before you go to sleep tonight. And if you haven’t changed the batteries in your smoke detectors recently, consider this your reminder.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.