Is Stress Causing My Smelly Feet?

Smelly feet can cause a number of embarrassing situations for sufferers. What do you do when you go to someone’s house and they ask that people take off their shoes? What if your family is getting ready to sit down for dinner, but you have to remove your smelly work shoes? How can you be intimate with a new romantic partner, knowing that your feet totally reek? The stress of being in these situations could make matters even worse! So, what do you do? We’ve got a few ideas to help with your malodorous malady.

The Smelly Feet / Stress Connection: How Does Anxiety Work?

There are several different mechanisms that explain why sweat is linked with stress. For starters, anxiety and stress trigger the release of a stress hormone called “cortisol,” which in turn stimulates the sweat glands.

Furthermore, sweat is a physiological response to our environment. “You have between 2 million and 5 million eccrine sweat glands,” reports CNN. Warm weather or physical exertion can cause body temperature to rise, which stimulates these glands to secrete water, salt and trace amounts of electrolytes in order to cool the body.

“But sweat caused by stress, fear, anxiety and sexual arousal is produced in the apocrine glands,” says the Wall Street Journal. “In addition to water and salt, the main ingredients of heat sweat, stress sweat also contains fatty substances and proteins that readily interact with bacteria living on the skin to create what is commonly called body odor.”

The odor of feet and underarms can have long-lasting effects, too. “When you sweat more, you smell more – even when you’re not sweating,” reports The Calm Clinic. “Sweat creates an environment that is more prone to bacteria overgrowth,” they explain. “So if you sweat more by just a little bit, you make it more likely that bacteria will grow on your body, and body odor is a result.”

What Else Makes My Feet Smell? How Can I Remove Foot Odor?

Other culprits that contribute to smelly feet include:

  • Hyperhidrosis – a physical condition causing people sweat profusely
  • Health – menopause, low testosterone, tuberculosis, cancer, malaria and low blood sugar all cause foot sweat
  • Fungal Infections – a particularly unpleasant odor often accompanies athlete’s foot and toenail fungus
  • Sock material – polyester, nylon and synthetic provide less ventilation than cotton blends, wool and natural fibers
  • Shoe material – canvas and plastic shoes are worse than leather in terms of breathability
  • Wet feet – consider trying an absorptive powder to sop up moisture if you regularly sweat profusely
  • Personal hygiene – socks should only be worn once and feet should be cleaned daily with antibacterial soap
  • Dirty shoes – shoes should be sanitized daily with a SteriShoe® UV shoe sanitizer to kill off odor-causing bacteria

What Can I Do To Remove Stress In My Life?

Stress relief is of paramount importance — whether you are overtaxed from too much multitasking or you have a personal issue that is plaguing your mind. If stress is a significant factor in your life, then consider some of the natural stress relief techniques mentioned by Dr. Manny Alvarez in a recent Fox News article:

  • Passionflower
  • Massage
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Organization
  • Eating Healthy
  • Limiting Internet & Social Media
  • B Vitamins
  • Aromatherapy
  • Sleep

2 replies
  1. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    I’m a relatively stressed out person and I used to have smelly feet. Not sure if there was any link between the odor and the stress, but it was a problem nonetheless. Work has me traveling all around the country constantly. One of the first things I always want to do on the plane is take my shoes off and relax. Before I was unable to do so since the smell coming from my feet was unbearable for fellow passengers. I finally did some research on solutions to the problem and came across a foot cream called Lavilin. Wow! What an amazing product! I’ve been using it for 3 years now and I still expect it not to work, but somehow it consistently does. Unbelievable. Combined with Sterishoe, I think this would be a very powerful cure.

  2. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    I’m a relatively stressed out person and I used to have smelly feet. Not sure if there was any link between the odor and the stress, but it was a problem nonetheless. Work has me traveling all around the country constantly. One of the first things I always want to do on the plane is take my shoes off and relax. Before I was unable to do so since the smell coming from my feet was unbearable for fellow passengers. I finally did some research on solutions to the problem and came across a foot cream called Lavilin. Wow! What an amazing product! I’ve been using it for 3 years now and I still expect it not to work, but somehow it consistently does. Unbelievable. If you search for it online you can find it easily – I’d certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable foot odor fix!

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