alcoholic man with bad body odor

The Truth About Body Odor And Alcohol Consumption

By Tori Utley is an entrepreneur working jointly in technology innovation and addiction recovery, holding her license as an alcohol and drug counselor (LADC) in Minnesota.

Sober Recovery Expert Author

alcoholic man with bad body odor

As you know, any substance that goes into your body must be broken down—just like any other food or beverage. So when you drink, the substance passes through the body and ends up in the bloodstream. That’s why consumption is often measured through one’s blood alcohol content, or BAC.

As alcohol flows through your body, your body is then tasked to break it down and metabolize it. When you drink excessively, your body has to work overtime to go through the substance and could cause you to reek in the process.

If you're a drinker and notice that you're consistently trying to cover up body odor, it could signal a problem with excessive alcohol use.

Here are three ways alcohol consumption can create unusual body odors.

1. Your body is excreting alcohol through your pores.

Your body views alcohol as a toxin and starts to break it down to get rid of it. While there are many ways your body pushes out toxins—like through your gastrointestinal system or urine—most alcohol is metabolized and excreted through the pores or sweat glands.

If you find that your body smells like alcohol or that you can’t seem to shake off a stench, know that it’s likely coming from within. Taking a shower and putting on clean clothes can help, but drinking plenty of water to help flush the alcohol out of your system can better tackle the odor at its source.

2. You’re suffering from dry mouth.

Our saliva helps limit bacterial growth and neutralizes the acids produced by bacteria. Unfortunately, alcohol is notorious for causing dry mouth, making it the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Drinking plenty of water won’t only help flush your system, it also hydrates your mouth to help maintain your oral health.

3. You’ve let yourself go.

Let’s not rule out the fact that many people with substance addictions end up foregoing their overall hygiene. During a drunken binge or a hangover, taking a shower or brushing their teeth can easily fall to second priority. If you’ve noticed that you or a loved one are falling into a pattern, it may be time to consider the possibility that you’re facing an addiction.

Alcohol-induced body odor doesn’t impact social drinkers as much as individuals with long-term excessive use. Simply put, the more you drink the more toxins your body has to push out and the higher the likelihood that you’ll choose to skip proper hygiene, which can negatively affect your social life and self-esteem.

Most importantly, it's a solid sign to pay closer attention to your overall health and drinking habits.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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