What diseases can cause bad body odor?

Body odors that can indicate illness

From FITBOOK | September 05, 2020, 6:25 p.m.

The body odor can change for various reasons - for example due to a change in diet or a hormonal process. Occasionally, however, there can also be a serious illness behind the smell of skin, breath or urine. FITBOOK asked a doctor which smell indicates which disease.

Sweet, putrid or smell of acetone - there are diseases in which one develops an unpleasant, almost penetrating body odor. But why is it that urine, sweat or breath suddenly smell strong? Above all, this has to do with the breakdown products that arise as a result of the altered metabolism. And they have to get out somehow, mostly through the largest organ. "A sick body secretes the unpleasant smelling metabolic products primarily through the skin, but also through the mucous membranes," explains Dr. Anne Fleck.

The doctor and author ("Slim! And healthy with the Doc Fleck method") is an expert in the field of disease prevention and healthy nutrition. Fleck adds that bacteria in the skin flora can also contribute to the strong body odor in an illness. For example, many people smell different from their pores when they catch the flu. Bad breath, in turn, can indicate more dangerous diseases.

Bad breath can have different causes

Your teeth are well cared for and still you can smell a lot from your mouth? Then the problem could be deeper. Because the breath doesn't just begin in the mouth, but in the lungs. Not far away are the abdominal organs involved in breathing. There could be the root of the evil there. It should be noted that not all breath is the same. Different odor notes in the breath indicate different causes.

Fleck says: “Bad breath is often caused by inflammation of the gums. But not always. If the dentist has not found anything, an inflammation of the stomach lining could cause the bad breath. If you have a foul breath odor, an infection of the respiratory tract is possible. And if the mouth smells like "liver", there may be hepatitis or liver inflammation. "

What are the causes of changes in urine or body odor?

There is another unpleasant body odor that could be caused by a serious illness. "If the smell of acetone reminds you of a nail polish remover, it indicates diabetes," explains Anne Fleck. In this case, the body cannot secrete enough insulin. As a result, fatty acids are formed that are not properly broken down.

Something else can indicate diabetes: “In earlier times, both urine and stool were regularly included in the medical diagnosis,” says Fleck. However, she adds that if there is an intense urine odor, there is not always a disease behind it. “Food can also cause a distinctive odor.” Examples that everyone knows: asparagus, garlic, coffee.

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Urine smell from medication and insufficient fluids

Those who take medication can also develop a strong smelling urine. “That could be the case when taking penicillin,” says Anne Fleck. And even those who drink too little can sometimes leave stinking water. “If you vomit or if you don't drink enough, the body quickly becomes dehydrated. The breakdown substances then concentrate in the urine and develop their own odor, ”says the doctor Anne Fleck.

Hereditary metabolic disease with a sweetish urine odor

Urine does not always have to smell penetratingly pungent and sour in the case of illness, poor nutrition or medication. Sometimes the opposite is also the case: an intensely sweet smelling urine can indicate that one is suffering from the so-called "maple syrup disease". This hereditary disease causes metabolic disorders. Anne Fleck advises: “In this case, we recommend further diagnostics by an experienced genetics specialist. In addition, those affected should turn to a special consultation for rare diseases. You can find such facilities at many university hospitals. "

Also interesting: what your urine can tell you about your health

Can sweat smell like urine?

Yes. If you smell urine from the pores, this must be clarified medically. Because behind it there may be a serious disease of the detoxification organs. "If the sweat smells like urine, you should urgently see a doctor," advises Anne Fleck. “In this case, a nephrologist, ie a specialist in kidney diseases, is ideal. A urologist can also help here. "

And there is also an unpleasant body odor. If you spread a cloud that smells of ammonia, the urea content in the body may be too high. Then either the kidneys are damaged or something is wrong with the liver: "If you have a body odor of ammonia, a diseased liver can also be the cause," explains Anne Fleck. “Typically, the condition here is inflammation of the liver, hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver.” The organ hardens and shrinks. In the final stages of cirrhosis, the liver is destroyed. Cirrhosis of the liver is often triggered by longstanding alcohol abuse. In technical jargon, the diagnosis is called "alcohol abuse".

Do dogs smell a body odor disease?

Undisputed: Dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell. For a long time, however, it was not clear whether they could also sniff out the changed body odor in diseases such as cancer. However, many medical professionals now assume that this is actually the case. The four-legged friends can detect breast, bladder or lung cancer in particular at an early stage. Specially trained dogs should even be able to recognize an epileptic seizure before it breaks out.

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The animals are most likely to be trained as assistance dogs for diabetics. The dogs then give a timely warning of a diabetic coma. How do you do it? With their extremely sensitive olfactory organ, diabetic warning dogs perceive even the smallest changes in the patient's blood sugar levels. They then nudge their owner gently with their snout or put their paw on their knee.

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