What Can Your Body Odor Reveal About Your Health?

Oct 19, 2018 by apost team

All of us are familiar with the unpleasant smell of body odor that is periodically present in ourselves and others. It is generally believed that sweat is the source of body odor.

This belief is not true. The true source of body odor is the accumulation of bacteria that breaks sweat down and converts it to acids that are responsible for the bad smells.

Body odor is also a concern because it can be an indicator of serious medical issues like liver problems and diabetes.

The following is a brief explanation of what some particular body odors may say about your health.

Fecal Smell


A fecal odor emanating from the body could be evidence of a bowel obstruction. This is a blockage that can take place in the small or large intestine and can signal the presence of a serious medical condition. These obstructions of the digestive tract can result in poop-smelling breath that can become worse each time the person eats.



Bitter Smell


A smell that is bitter could be a warning that the liver is not properly functioning. Problems with the liver are serious issues that warrant a trip to the doctor. When the liver is not working correctly, a variety of peculiar odors can be produced. Damaged livers can also cause both nausea and digestive problems.

Fishy Smell


Two conditions, Trimethylaminuria and Fish Odor Syndrome, are known to cause the offensive odor of rotting fish. The excessive excretion of TMA is responsible for the fishy smell.

The smell can be present on the breath, in the urine, or in the sweat of the affected person. These conditions are genetic and usually make themselves known not long after birth.

A fishy smell can also be caused by excess proteins in the diet or the presence of certain types of bacteria. This syndrome is treated with dietary adjustments, acid lotions, and antibiotics.

Sweet Smell


A sweet smell that comes from the body could be a sign of diabetes. The cause could be an over-accumulation of ketones in the body's bloodstream.

A sweet smell in urine could also indicate the presence of Maple Syrup Urine Disease. With this disorder, the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine are not properly metabolized by the body.

Rotten Egg Smell


When there is too much meat in your diet on a daily basis, you may develop a repulsive odor. This odor may remind some people of rotten eggs. This particular smell is caused by the high concentrations of amino acids that contain sulfur present in meat.

This is especially true with red meat. These amino acids cause no harm to the body but when not properly digested will cause a not too pleasant smell.

Alcohol Smell


The body will recognize any alcohol that is consumed as a toxin and convert the substance to acetic acid. Approximately 90 percent of alcohol that is consumed is metabolized in this manner.

The remainder is excreted through urine, sweat, and respiration. The alcohol that is excreted is what causes the body to smell like a liquor distillery following a few drinks too many.

Sweaty Smell


If you sweat excessively it may be a good idea to get checked for hyperhidrosis. Many people with this condition are otherwise healthy. Over sweating is usually the only consequence of hyperhidrosis but the condition can sometimes be a sign of health issues.

Temperatures and emotions can be triggers for hyperhidrosis, however, many sufferers of the condition simply sweat during waking hours. The feet, groin area, and armpits are the main areas where sweat will accumulate in the human body.


Do you or someone you know exhibit smells at times that may be difficult to explain? Send this article to those you care about and discuss the article with them. Have you experienced of these odors before? Let us know in the comments.

Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation with your doctor. Your health is important to us!