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Body Odor-An Unpleasant Encounter

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Biology 103
2002 Second Paper
On Serendip

Body Odor-An Unpleasant Encounter

Melissa Brown

"What is that smell?" you ask.
"It is absolutely disgusting," you reply to yourself as you continue walking along. Then you realize that this smell just keeps on following you, from classroom to lunchroom to dorm room, even in the courtyard. Then it hits you that garbage has not been following you everywhere but you are the cause of that disgusting smell; you have body odor. What is this phenomenon of body odor? According to John Riddle, Body odor is the term used for any unpleasant smell associated with the body(1).

Most of us are concerned about how we look especially, how we smell so body odor which can be a potentially fatal blow to a person's social life is not a welcome addition to one's ingredients for success. It is this human fear of being excluded that led to the invention of the term, body odor. In the 1910s and 1920s, advertisers highlighted people's discontent with the things around them and with themselves in order to encourage them to buy their products. A group of advertising men used the term B.O. to mean body odor in a women's deodorant advertisement for their product, Odo-Ro-No. It played upon women's sentiments that beauty was important to achieving their main goal in life: a husband.

Listerine, which today has mundane advertisements with bottles of Listerine and a voice talking about the results of laboratory research that show Listerine's ability to combat gingivitis, cavities and so on, also used this approach. Listerine had an advertisement that showed "pathetic Edna" who was approaching her "tragic" thirtieth birthday and was always "a bridesmaid and never a bride" apparently because she suffered from Halitosis or bad breath (of course it could not have been personality problems that was hindering Edna's romantic progress!). As a result of this ad, Listerine's sales went from $100,000 a year in 1921 to more than $4 million in 1927. Body odor is a major concern for most people and even those who do not suffer from it are concerned about preventing body odor because of its negative social consequences.(2)

People are very sensitive about how they smell. Humans do not appreciate the power of a bad smell as much as skunks appreciate theirs. The striped skunk which is known in the scientific community as Mephitis mephitis accurately shoots a narrow stream of yellow fluid, butyl mercaptan, up to 10 feet at a threat. If the fluid hits the eyes of the threat it may cause temporary blindness. Even if the skunks misses, which is rare, the musk will cause nausea, gagging and general discomfort. (Perhaps next time you are at a party and you receive some unwelcome attention, you should raise those armpits or let out a breath of air to your unsuspecting predator.) Most people however, try to do quite the opposite and purchase expensive perfumes to mask odors and create a sensual smell that will attract the opposite sex. They spend a lot of money buying perfumes like Object of Desire by Bvlgari and they do not realize that the fluid that skunks emit is commercially used as a base for perfumes because of its clinging nature.(3) This makes me wonder whether if it is only by having a bad smell that we can get a good smell.

So what exactly causes us to have that bad smell? Most of the causes are related to lifestyle choices. If you use drugs, toxins or herbs such as alcohol and cigarette smoking, you body will smell. Also if you eat certain foods such as garlic and raw onions you will have an unpleasant breath. You can also develop body odor by simply sweating excessively or practicing poor hygiene. A couple other causes of body odor include: tooth or oral conditions such as periodontal disease and gingivitis. Also, there can be inborn errors of metabolism for example, aminoaciduria. Most of these problems are a result of a decision that the sufferer had made about how he chooses to lead his life. If he chooses to be a chain smoker he will smell like a cigarette. If he chooses not to shower or wash his clothes then he will have a pungent smell. If he chooses not to practice proper dental hygiene then he will have Halitosis. However, if he sweats excessively because he has a fear of social situations then his cause of body odor cannot be as easily rectified. In addition, people who suffer from aminoaciduria also cannot easily change their lifestyle to rectify their body odor because aminoaciduria results from an enzyme deficiency. We should not judge or marginalize people because of their smell because the cause of it may go beyond poor hygiene.(1)

Almost everyone has received a compliment about the perfume that he or she is wearing. This shows that people react to scents and that a pleasant scent encourages a favorable perception of that person. New research has shown that some individuals are highly sensitive to smelling a component of body odor which is called androstenone. Furthermore, if the person can easily smell androstenone then he will decide whether or not he likes the person based on the smell. What is androstenone? It is a human pheromone which is a chemical attractant that is in body secretions like perspiration. Men release large quantities of androstenone while women omit small amounts. So men are more likely to be judged by their smell than women. According to the study, fifty percent of people cannot smell androstenone at all and one half of them can only catch a whiff and enjoy the scent. Those who can smell androstenone, on the other hand, do not like the smell and compare it to urine or perspiration. The study went on to show that there was a correlation between the ability to smell androstenone and the androstenone-smeller's judgment of the person. In other words, if someone can smell androstenone on someone else and finds the smell unpleasant then he will dislike the person.(4)

Clearly, there is a lot at risk if one has body odor since man is a gregarious animal then body odor can make him unable to maintain or even start relationships. We have realized this so there are number of ways to eliminate body odor. One of the most rudimentary ways to get rid of body odor is to wash with both soap and water especially in the groin area and armpits which are more likely to smell. The best soap to use is a deodorant soap which impedes the return of bacteria. Showering, as well as, washing your clothing regularly will help to prevent body odor. In addition, we should wear natural fabrics like cotton which absorb perspiration better than synthetic materials like polyester. Athletic apparel makers like Nike and Adidas are adopting this idea in their clothing design by creating materials that cause the sweat to evaporate faster.

You should also use commercial deodorants which mask underarm odor or use antiperspirants which reduce the amount of perspiration. If these fail then you should turn to France, the land of fine perfumes and "Le Crystal Nature" which is a chunk of mineral salts that helps to keep bacteria under control without irritating the skin. A more serious approach to fighting body odor is Drionic which is an electronic device that plugs up overactive sweat ducts and keeps them plugged for up to six weeks.(5) There are many ways to avoid having body odor. The easiest way to find out what is available to you is to take a stroll in your local Eckerd, CVS or Riteaid.

Body Odor is a major concern for human beings. It is one concern that affects men and women to almost the same extent. We are concerned about our smell because people judge how we take care of ourselves by our smells and use this information to decide whether we are worthy of friendship because of it. We need to pay attention to how we smell not only because of social interactions but because odors from our body may alert us to a medical problem like a urinary tract infection or periodontal disease. It must be noted however that much of the hype about body odor comes from marketing consultants who need to sell their companies' product and play on our insecurity. Try to avoid being caught up in this web of commercialism while at the same time taking good care of your body.



1) Body Odor. It gives basic information about Body Odor.

2) It provides information on the less renowned tidbits of history.

3) It provides information about the striped skunk.

4) It provides information that otherwise would not get a lot of attention.

5) It provides online information about problems that affect teenagers



Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)

01/22/2006, from a Reader on the Web

I have been searching for an answer about this one person I work with. He smells intensely of a vinegar like substance, but honestly I would have to say he smells like pickles. half the people I work with say the same thing. It is so intense that I get a headache and a stomache and he is unbearable to be near. I cannot find anything on the internet that would explain this, and I do not have the guts to ask the poor guy, because honestly I cannot even be near him. Any speculation on this matter????? Thank you


Additional comments made prior to 2007

Western culture need to avoid of escalation of hatred and wilingness to take advantages over other using somebody's personal issue as their body/breath odor! Where every house or apartment, everyone has access to bath, shower. Where there is no hygiene issues! This attitude can be fueled by nuslim nations. So one should think about this ... Reader on the web, 1 April 2006



I have the same problem with one of my employees who is from Nepal. I think it could be the spicy food they have, another employee addresses the matter to me since I'm the manager but it is a very delicate matter and I feel sick if I stay 3 foot close to this person. Besides this is a high end retail store and also had customers commenting on the way this person smells. I'm going to have to let her go but wonder if there is anything this person can do to get rid of that horrible odor ... Yolanda, 26 April 2006



i have just noticed a body odor of vinegar. I saw reference to another person about same problem. This just started in the last few days and I am trying to find a reason. Any suggestions? Supplements? thanks ... Tom, 15 July 2006



I see alot of people with posted requests for body odor issues. Mr. Chan has won the Geneva award for his invention in the medical category for a product that cures body dor. A press release was issued and maybe some of your readers would benefit from it.

Here it is below:

Dr. Mist winner of several awards including the Geneva Award for itsí invention in the medical category is currently marketed as a deodorant is also used as a multi-function hygiene product. As a deodorant, there is absolutely no staining, no aluminum, alcohol, oils or fragrances and it flushes out toxins. Customers are moving away from sticks and gels which stain their clothes and lasts part of the day. Dr. mist will last for days, even if bathing is not possible (ie: patients in hospitals, campers, etc)

Dr. mist is a new invention based on floatation technology that works like an anti-perspirant, but still allows the pores to breathe. As recently featured on the news, it is also very effective athlete's foot, soothes mosquito and insect bites, accelerates healing in wounds, clears up acne and pimples with visible results in 24 hours and soothes skin irritation ... Claudette, 13 September 2006


I had bad breath and body odor since I was born. Spent more than 20 years and thousand of dollars trying to find what was missing in my system until I saw Dr. Brenda Watson describing what happens when there is not enough intestinal flora in the body. What happens? Vitamins along with impurities go straight to the blood causing the odor. So that is what was missing in my system.

I started taking probiotics (the higher the number the best) and multi enzymes and that was the beginning of my cure. Now I added Culturelle Lactobacilus Gg and no more body odor and bad breath.

Please, tell other people so they do not go through what I went through ... Mindy, 31 October 2006



My daughter is told she smells like pickles......we can't figure out what is causing's not perfume, soap, shampoo or anything else she's putting on externally.....I read your body odor article and the question posed by one of your readers is the same as mine.....why does my daughter smell like pickles??? What can be done about it?? ... Lupe Rodriguez, 7 December 2006



Re: an earlier post

Either he's wearing something that smells of what you described or it could be some form of disease ex. cancer. could be other forms but if you are that concerned. Does he have a desk? write an anonymous letter? it could be a medical problem and you do need to get your views across, because it could save his life ... Jennifer, 3 February 2007



I have recently noticed a slight wiff of vinegar odor from my body. I asked a friend if he noticed it and he said "no". I shower daily and am clean. Any ideas what may cause this? ... Phil, 16 July 2007



Hello there. I have been experiencing an odor for a while now but I still don't know where it is coming from. It occurs mainly when I am around my friends and it doesn't smell when I'm at home or at my doctor. Other people say that they smell it also. Please advise me what to do if you guys ever came across such an experience before. Thanks in advance ... Saf, 2 October 2007


Serendip Visitor's picture

foods high in sulfer

what did dr andrew cutler say about foods high in sulfur. what were they ? where can we read his manual?

Serendip Visitor's picture

OMG, What you what you just


What you what you just shared is my life!!!
I have shaved my head,it's still there..Work became too stressfull people's comments,remarks..all became too much..the more i stressed the worst it got!!!and i still have it,i'm not working at the moment,my life has come to a halt..which is so very depressing.i go to doctors,speciliest,try different things,i'm doing infer red sauna,to try and detoxic the body...they say it speeds up the process..i've have had it for about 5yrs it started when i was 34.

Anonymous's picture

I concur on the mercury filings

I am so relieved to see your post. I have been challenged by this vinegar like odor for more than 4 years. I noticed it in 2005, but believe that it had been around years before, but at a less noticable level.

In December 2005 I had all 14 amalgam filings removed and replaced with composite fillings (plastic). Since then I have undergone chelation therapy, with no results. The vinegar like body odor comes from fungus or systemic candida that grow out of control in the GI tract because of mercury poisoning.

I purchased Andrew Cutler's book called Amalgam Illness and have started chelating using his protocol. He was able to cure himself of mercury poisoning and I trust that his process will work for me as well.

I take an antifungal while taking DMSA and ALA. While I am dumping candida, the odor has not relented yet, though I remain hopeful. Dr. Cutler explains the importance of staying away from foods high in sulfur. So my diet is extremely limited, e.g. eggplant, squash, celery, carrots, lots of vitamins and minerals and probiotics.

I would love to share more with you. And I thank you so much for your post.

Anonymous's picture

vinegar body odor

Well, I've been suffering this vinegar-like body odor for almost 2 years...
i want to live like a normal teen yet i cant because i cant stay near my classmates
any recommendation?? please help... ive been taking a bath everyday(cleaning every single part of my body) and yet after a couple of hours there it goes again..
please help me T_T

Anonymous's picture

If someone asks if they have bad body Odor?

I met a friend of mine who i met after many years,asked me if has a bad body
odor.He has a terrible odor. I have no clue as what to answer him, as i dont want
to hurt his feelings.Please help me how i can tel him.

Anonymous's picture

It feels good to know that I

It feels good to know that I am not the only one with the fecal smell problem. But then I see that 95% of us have not found a cure. I've dealt with the smell since high school. People don't know at all what its like, at one point everytime I would use the bathroom I would wipe so much until bleeding, I've tried blocking it with alot of toilet paper as well after a shower. I'm not a bad looking person either but the effects that it has had on me is obvious. I get tense when people get near me, I can't loosen up at all for fear of the smell. I can't smell it at all nor have I been to the doctor because I don't beleive there is a cure. 10 years later and I'm a mess, I quit my last job due to constant comments. I bet most of us are cleaner then the average person too. This really sucks.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I have same problem

I thought that i was the only one who have this kind of smell, i work at a store, as a merchandise stacker, before i got to, i took a bath, put on deodorant, put powder on my foot and on my back. but when i arrive at work and my boss comes close me, i also can't loosen up and i get stinky really fast. i took a bath 2 to 3 times a day, but i still stink. i dont eat junk food. i also tried all the deodorant and nothing works. when im alone or with parents, i smell clean but when i go to work, church, some social event, i cant stop worrying about my odor.i dont go to church and any social event now, i suffer enough at work, swallowing my shame, please help, help me pleaseee.... i also dont want to lose my job.

Anonymous's picture

Fecal Odor

I have the same problem that everyone else has been having. This has been going on since i was 21. I am now 34 and its getting harder to deal with people at work talk about me behind my back. I was in a restaurant tonight and had to leave because I knew people were saying it smelt bad and I assumed it was me again.I tried all different products keep up with showers and it does not go away. I have colitis as well.I have been reading through everyones articles if anyone has found the cure for this please let me know. Thanks

thickthighs's picture

comment on fecal odor

i also have ibs and used to have fecal odor..i stopped using dairy,sugary products and wheat and high carb foods along with increasing the garlic,and horseradish took a year but the poo smell went away
im now working on another odor but it doesnt smell like poo
i dont know if well ever be smell free but i live for the day
the earlier posts about mercury fillings is something to look into

Anonymous's picture

I was wondering if you have

I was wondering if you have any other symptoms with your odor problem? Do you eat Red meat? Is your odor a very strong gas-like smell? almost like Butane? If you have been experiencing diarreah and have these odors try eliminating
red meat for a month or two and see if that doesn't help. If It does maybe you have a food intolerance to red meat.

Anonymous's picture

fecal body odor,fishy odor, gas-like odor.

I would just like to comment on the fact that you mentioned that you just recently eliminated wheat from your diet and
that your fecal body odor disapeared. I have food intolerances to wheat/gluten. Whenever I would eat these types of foods such as breads,pastas,etc. I too would experience fecal smells from respiration,and other areas of my body. It took me several months to figure out that it was because of my food intolerances that was causing this.
I am now on a very strict gluten free diet.I also noticed that I no longer experience IBS that I once had due to food
intolerances. I was wondering what other body odors do you
experience? I also have milk intolerances that cause a particular odor and a red meat intolerance that causes another odor. I know this sounds crazy, but it has worked for me and was being caused by foods that I am sensitive to.

Anonymous's picture

Body odor & Sweat smell... Very noticeable when sweating...

I started to notice an odd smell when working out at the gym and sweating. I've described it as an ammonia type of smell - but perhaps vinegar-like would cover it as well.
I had a feeling it was due to heavy drinking (lots of gin) and pretty heavy use (abuse) of medication. When I changed to vodka, the smell nearly disappeared. I still take medication though...

Just my $0.02


Morgan's picture

Did some searching

I did some research on this

The following link may be in the right direction for some people. Covers most causes and some remedies.

Why body odor reveals your true health habits: Here's how to reduce odor and enhance health Mike Adams has the theory that ingestion of meat and milk products can be causing problems and that changing the diet to exclude these to as great a degree as possible will normally help eliminate body smell. As he says "In terms of nutritional supplements, the best "cleaning" supplements that can reduce your body odor are chlorella and parsley. The culinary spice cilantro also does a great job."

How one individual cured bad breath. Be sure to read his warnings - very important. The link given does not work. The correct link is as follows,26,METRONIDAZOLE

Trimethylaminuria, Fish Malodor Syndrome A response to a forum question at giving information on tests in the U.S. and providing the following
Relates to TMAU Foundation and an interview with Dr. Robin Lachmann regarding Trimethylaminuria.

or see Describes and discusses Trimethylaminuria but at present there are no treatments listed at this site.

Hope the above helps somebody.

Anonymous's picture

Sorry to hear about all your

Sorry to hear about all your distress. I feel for you.

The only advice I can offer is in regards to bad breath. I recently had a really nasty taste in my mouth, but despite numerous close up breathing in my wifes face she assured me it didn't smell ( she would be honest if it did ).

I sneezed out a small white mushy thing that absolutely stank, a bit like feces. I remember coughing out a few in the past (perhaps half a dozen or so throughout my life not none for the past coupl of years) but as soon as this one came out the smell went.

I did a bit of research and found it it was a tonsil stone. They are surprisingly common and cane be easily removed by pressing a clean q tip or finger on the tonsil, when I did this two more came out and after much prodding none have come out so they must be all gone.

I think it is bacteria build up in the mouth that causes them so I bought a waterpik and some decent paste and mouthwash, I have no taste in my mouth now and intend to practice better oral hygiene.

Anonymous's picture

Body Odor Smelling Like Vinegar

I was wondering about it myself and I found the following on Wikipedia. I'm surprised no one has posted it yet.

An individual's body odour is also influenced by diet, gender, genetics, health and medication. Propionic acid (propanoic acid) is present in many sweat samples. This acid is a breakdown product of some amino acids by propionibacteria, which thrive in the ducts of adolescent and adult sebaceous glands. Because propionic acid is chemically similar to acetic acid with similar physical characteristics including odour, body odours may be identified as having a VINEGAR-LIKE smell by certain persons.[citation needed] Isovaleric acid (3-methyl butanoic acid) is the other source of body odour as a result of actions of the bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis,[1] which is also present in several strong cheese types.

If a person eats a lot of meat, they may have more amino acids available to be broken down, thereby creating the vinegar-like smell. I don't eat much meat, and on one recent occasion after eating red meat and then sweating, I had such body odor.

Anonymous's picture

thank you so much for

thank you so much for posting this! my 11 month old son has this problem so i'm going to try cutting down the amount of meat he eats. THANK YOU!!

Anonymous's picture

How do you tell someone that they have bad body odor-

What is the best way to approach someone if they have really bad body odor?

Geraldine Dubreuil's picture

How do i tell someone they smell

You have to be careful in what u say. Just think of it being You... how would u want someone to tell u? The person could have a medical problem...

daniel 's picture

strong bad smelling in my body

well, basicaslly it's the same problem that all this people and i wanna know what to do please answer to me, cause this situation is terrible.

Anonymous's picture

Fecal odor

I am a crohns patient and have had this happen to me quite a few times, a GI doctor will be able to tell you the cause but there something that can happen to cause this and it is called a fistula.

Definition of this term fistula

An abnormal duct or passage resulting from injury, disease, or a congenital disorder that connects an abscess, cavity, or hollow organ to the body surface or to another hollow organ.

Basically what can and has happened to me is the fistula or hollow passage can connect one organ ie: my colon with another part of the body, skin, mouth etc which can be the cause of this smell. Get checked out they are removable with minor surgery and medical testing.

Anonymous's picture


I had been suffering from fecal odor (and other types) from my pores and constant diarrhea for a long while when I started to see a kinesiologist. That changed my life!

It turned out that my ileocecal valve was constantly standing open!
This valve is located between the small intestines and large intestine. Its function is to pass chyme into the bowels. Because my valve was open, the chyme could go back into the small intestine and waste substances and gases from the chyme would be absorbed by the intestinewall and brought into the blood causing fecal body odor. The fecal odor was worse if I had been eating food rich in sulphur. Ex: meat, garlic, onions, fish, diary, tomatoes, broccoli and so on.

Since chyme would just flow into my large intestine I was having diarrhea!

But there are also other symptomes that could imply that the valve is not functioning properly. It can also result in constipation. Stress is a major factor to a non functioning valve, physical and most of all emotional.

Go see a kinesiologist. It takes just a couple of minutes to make the valve function again. He/she will also check your whole body for imbalance. Another thing you can do for yourself is to massage the acupressure point Li4:

This point stimulates the ileocecal valve. Another good point is Cv17, located on breast bone between niples. This point will help you with your anxiety.

Good luck!

DEBBIE DEAN's picture



Anonymous's picture

TMAU may be the cause

Hi there, please go see a medical genetist and ask for a urine analysis for TMAU. You maybe affected. I'm a sufferer of fecal smell myself and I was just recently tested positive for TMAU.

Anonymous's picture


I have recently had an exchange student move in with us for a year. The very first day of school the councelor called me to tell me of her bad body odor. I was stunned for I knew she had showered that day and used deodorant. I smelled her that next morning on the way to school. It is a sickening smell. The kids at school are not having anything to do with her. So I know it is gonna be a bad experience for her here. The smell to me is undescribable perhaps smoky smell, feces, vinegar all mixed together. She showers three times a day, Once in the morning, when she gets home from school and again before bed. This is not unusual as my own daughters showered that much especially if they had ball practices after school. How may I help this child. She may not have any friends here if I don't do something to help her. She is a beautiful child and I want her experience here to be memorable. She is a very active child. I know it is not from not being clean. She brushes her teeth all the time and her very white. She does not smoke, drink or eat anything unusually different from us. However, I have noticed she doesn't eat much at all and I am also worried about her not eating.

Please helo me help her.

Anonymous's picture

I too have an exchange

I too have an exchange student with terrible body odor. She has been here for two months and the stench is moving from her room to the rest of the house. It is making us sick. I have tried everything from leaving a note to all three girls (2 of my own)to clean all worn clothes and bedding, she didn't. I have physically gone into her room and asked her if she has dirty clothes she'd like me to wash, only to be told that she washed every single item the previous day. then I asked her to rewash her clothes as my washer doesn't always work well. She refuses to wash them. I am currently home doing three loads of laundry and very upset about the distrust it might cause but her piles of filth are making us sick. I am to the point of asking her afs advisor to find another home. Just a note, I don't care about messy rooms, my own daughters have clothes hanging over chairs, unmade beds, piles of sweatshirts in the corner and socks under the beds, ok, many items under the beds. I just can't stand the smell. You may have to check that the girl's clothing are getting washed. Uncomfortable, but sometimes necessary. Stressed in Maine.

Anonymous's picture

Body Stinks

After i gave birth i notice my BO gets worst. I can smell it really bad. i have tried so all kinds of deodorant but that doesnt help too. though i take my shower regularly(5times aday) still doesn't help. The worst part, right after shower i can smell my own BO. I really need help. Anyone out there have any solutions.

JS's picture


I don't know if this will work for you or not, but it got rid of a couple of body odors I had for many years. I actually took it as a cancer preventative, and found it killed a lot of bacteria I didn't expect it to. "Graviola" is a plant from the rainforest, and I bought Graviola 650mg from Nature's Health Company on the internet. I took 6 capsules a day. I took it for around 2 months the first time, and the same the 2nd time. It kills a lot of bacteria and other types of germs. It's relatively recently on the market and mostly untested so we are still discovering what it does. It kills different types of cancer cells also. I was pleased it got rid of an odor I have had for decades that nothing else got rid of, and generally any body odor I had has be drastically reduced even after I quit taking it. While I was taking it, I virtually had no body oder of any kind. It's amazing. Do some online research on Graviola and give it a try and see if it works for you.

I did take probiotics with it, as it does kill off bacteria, so it could kill off good bacteria in your intestinal tract also, and I would recommend probiotics with the Graviola.

Anonymous's picture

stinky breathe or face.... not sure

I have been experiencing this problem for about 2 years now and now one can figure it out. Sometimes my breathe smells like alchohol and everybody at work tinks im an alchoholic sometimes it smells like trash and fart and shit even burnt popcorn depending on what i rinse my mouth out with. I'm glad to hear im not alone but this is very depressinhg i dont even want to get out of the bed in the morning and im not eating. I wonder if this is some mysteriouse bacteria going around or has nothing to do with that at all. I just think that since its been a spike of this thing in the last few years that is definiately a possibility.

Anonymous's picture


Hey I have the same problem for 3yrs,I noticed bad breath like eggs or somthing,In 2006 unkown reasons lots of coating on tounge oder seams to be comming from nose.Iam going to do some experimenting with some technology. let you know if works,Well hope every thing is going well with you. Hope to hear from you soon.

Anonymous's picture

Very Unpleasent Smell from face and finger

My boyfriend started smelling this very strange smell from the knuckle on his finger that wouldn't go away even when washed. At first I couldn't smell it but now it is becoming easier for me to detect it. It will randomly start smelling then will go away after a while. Now the side of his face has begun to smell even worse than his finger. I am at a loss of what it is and what to do. Please if anyone has any ideas, help.

Anonymous's picture

Does exercising help?

Are you guys having the problem even though you are athletic? I used to be very sedentary but recently I started exercising and now I go to gym 3~4 times a week, doing sit-ups and other various exercises. So do you guys think that exercising helps if you've tried?

Mystery situation's picture

Several coworkers have

Several coworkers have complained that an awful smell is coming from me. It fills up the entire office. Yet no one else--friends, past coworkers, or other people at my current job--smells anything bad. I'm in danger of losing my job over this.

I shower every day and do my laundry regularly. Has anyone every heard of anything which could cause bad body smells which only certain people can smell?


Liverspots's picture

Same Problem

I had a similar problem. I switched from Tide to Charlie's soap. It works great. My bathrobe would smell after a few wearings right out of the shower. It doesn't any longer. I also think I have bile/liver stagnation. I am looking into this. From what I have read, go on a juice fast for 3-4 days, followed by a vegetarian diet. Milk thistle supplements are good for the liver. Take early or mid-day. Also, take acidophilus (keep refrigerated). Take at night. Spread out your supplements. The only other thing I would say is Super Digestive Enzymes from GNC. Take after your food is all digested. They contain lipase, amylase and protease (Dr. Mehmet Oz recommended this on Oprah). We bought a drain product that contained the same enzymes. (Clogged pipes?)

I also read that carrotseed essential oil is good (for the skin) mixed with a carrier oil, i.e., jojoba or other carrier oil depending on your skin type. Carrotseed can be taken internally only at the advise of an herbalist (I read no more than one drop per day). I am not sure what you would mix it with. Water? Just a guess.

Another thing I read is good is dandelion tea. It clears the liver.

Gas-X strips on the tongue work too.

Whatever you do, don't take too many things at once. Don't drink extremely cold water. It chills the liver. A hot cup of water with lemon in the morning is good.

I have excellent hygiene habits. I lather up twice in the shower, and wash my hair daily. I brush my teeth all the time. I wash my clothes every wearing. I just don't understand. I do think most of it is internal.

Anonymous's picture

basically all of them

ya basically i got the same story as all of u so if u get any info b sure 2 tell me

Anonymous's picture

I have been dealing with

I have been dealing with phantom smell issues for quite a number of years now. It started out as fishy which lead me to think it's TMAU, a metabolic disorder. I don't know if any of you have found help, but there are sites if you search TMAU that will give you options for testing. The odor can range from fishy, to fecal, to garbagy.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous's picture

facial odor

I recently noticed and commented to my husband about an odd, unpleasant odor from his face. Not his breath, that is always fresh. His face. I can't explain the odor... simply unpleasant. At the time his face was oily, which was also not the norm for him. When I mentioned this to him and went to wash my hands to rid them of the odor, he informed me that he also noticed this odor recently when sweating at work and he wiped his face. His hygien is exceptional. Never a cleaner man. From just below the chin down he smells normal. Nothing unpleasant about the rest of his body smell, not even when he's sweating heavily.... never and unpleasant odor, not even from his arm pits... This is isolated to his face. We are baffled. Any ideas?

Anonymous's picture

facial odor

Does your husband also have odd smells coming from his hand and fingers too? I also had this happen to me and eliminated all dairy products. It has totally cured the problem. Try eliminating dairy for a few weeks and then reintroduce milk products to see if it comes back.

Anonymous's picture

help me!

Hello,my name is channie...I too have bad odor in the face.the smell that I get is a feces smell.I am 19 now but it started when I was life has been a living hell...the smell is so you still have the smell??? please email me back & let me know. im going crazy....I need help! THANK YOU & GOD BLESS

Anonymous's picture

hi i too have this awful

hi i too have this awful condition ,have tried a lot of things nothing seems to work ,

Anonymous's picture

Honey, I know how you are

Honey, I know how you are feeling. I, too have a problem with body odor. I am searching for answers to this problem. You can get your sinuses check. You may have an infection that could be causing this problem. I pray that GOD will reveal to you the solution. I am going to try a supplement I saw on the internet.I will let you know if it helps. I am praying for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AnonymousAlan 's picture

body odor

I smoke cigarettes and a friend of mine tell me that I smell like an ash tray. I an bipolar and I take showers at the gym but rarely at home because I goto the gym a lot. I notice people leave the steam room when I go in. Can you help me or give any suggestions. I eat a lot of hot dogs and they have sodium nitrates. Could this and my cigarette smoking be the cause of BO?

Serendip Visitor's picture


I wanna throw a big word out there ...PYROLURIA..A b6 and zinc deficiency...feel free to research and hopefully it will help someone.... it can cause bad breath and/ or strange BO

Jennifer's picture

Excessive sweating can cause body odor

I just had to add that excessive sweating can be a source of offensive body odor ... it's called "hyperhidrosis." Google it. There are prescription antiperspirants available for the condition.

Incidentally, if you'd like to sensitively let someone know they have a body odor or bad breath problem anonymously, check out - you can send an anonymous email with information to your friend/coworker or whoever it is with the problem.

Anonymous's picture

Body odor: sleuthing out cause

Everyone's metabolism is different. And people's sense of smell vary considerably. There are three obvious things to do before doing anything dramatic:
i. daily bathing on arising, and also after exercising.
ii. good oral hygiene: frequent flossing, and visits to the dentist to look for periodontal disease or any other oral condition that might contribute.
iii. a bland low protein diet, at least for starters, with no vitamin supplements, yogurts, probiotics or other alterations. or heavy ingestion of any single item like nuts. Assuming you eat a balanced diet (with varied grains, fruits and vegetables) you do not "need" extra vitamins.
If this works, then you can try altering the diet slowly to see what to if any additional vitamin or food type contributes to the perceived odor, and adjust your diet accordingly.(My wife found that an employee's unpleasant odor apparently was caused by too much ingestion of B vitamins, taken on the view that if a little is good, a lot should be very good.)

If this does not work, consider the possibility that some medication you are on regularly contributes. Ask your doctor if there is an alternate you could go on on a trial basis to see if this will help.

Of course a number of things might work for you and not others, e.g. as one respondent reported pro-biotics would be helpful in countering whatever the cause, and/or nuts or whatever people have suggested.
Another possibility for those who are concerned particularly about a vinegar smell: Vinegar is acetic acid. You may be producing too much of this acid or too much of another compound smelling like it. A licensed nutritionist may be able to provide some advice concerning what in the diet might diminish this production.
In addition those who are overweight sweat more, or accumulate more sweat, especially in places from which evaporation is and may well produce an odor as a consequence. Needless to say losing weight can help, although in the process you may also exude a slight sweet smell from the "ketones" generated as a result.
For those whose children complain of an odor you cannot detect, but report they and//or school mates do, consider the possibility of some type of school bullying,or school phobia.

Mario A 's picture

odor that kills

I am a teenagers and I have the same problem or a bit worst ...... I go to school and the sad part is that I dont like to b around my friends this odor I started noticing it when I entered high school... it just got worst I first had a odor that smelled like trash, then it changed to a terrifying fish smell, and the latest one that I've had is a poop odor ,,, my social life is poor and I try to isolate my self so people won't smell me..... I go to class and even there I smell and its so embarassing..... I at one point had suicidal thoughts too...... I just dont know what to do......I can't even have a gf cus of this problem of mines....... I am going to go into premed in about a year and I'm hoping I can find a reason and a cure for all of us...............god bless ya all.........don't give up we can fight this.......!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous's picture

Yess!!!! I too have the

Yess!!!! I too have the same problem. Started all of a sudden.. Started with sudden odor which smells like fecus (bathroom) coming from my bottom. I spent almost an year always blaming the person next to me (in my head) until one fine day I realized that even if I sat next to a different person the "bathroom smell" was still there! It comes all of a sudden and stops all of a sudden. Have no idea when my abdomen will emit this smell. I had no symptoms except for this odor and a stomach ache when this smell is emmitted (without me even knowing and I WAS NOT PASSING GAS) There was this one time when a girl I was talking to almost fell down on her back because my abdomen was suddenly "emmitting" an odor which smelled like diarhea!

I am practically dying! Now in addition to this problem there are constant sounds coming from my lower abdomen some of which sound like I am passing gas.


Serendip Visitor's picture

Get tested for TMAU. It is a

Get tested for TMAU. It is a body odor disorder that causes people to smell like dead fish, feces, etc. Google it and watch some videos about it on youtube.

Anonymous's picture

It can be cured

You may want to be checked by a gastrointerologist for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. It sounds like that may be the cause. If not, I'm sure it's something that can be fixed pretty easily. Also start taking fiber every day with plenty of water. Metamucil and Konsyl are two excellent choices. Read the labels very carefully and make sure you don't have an allergic reaction to them.
I'm sure fiber and water and fruits and vegetables can cure your ailment. It's not as bad as it seems. Believe me. I've been through it. Also be sure to watch your diet. Good luck.

Zach's picture

Possibly soloution

I have been told that Nuts, and whole grains B1(vitamins) is what the body needs to have to help eliminate the smell.

My father too has this smell, Especially when he is sleeping, My mother Complains occasionally to him about the smell

I don't think he can smell it, but most of the time he smells fine.

He has a fair bit of stress related Things going on in his life, and quite often.
and he doesn't have the best diet. (lots of beer and smoking) but reading these posts I think that allot of the things may be irrelevant.

These Posts I can think that people are either stressing about it to much.
e.g. the person who bathes 1-3 times a day, Maybe be High anxiety, because of it.
so keep up cleaning yourself and such, but also try and change your diet to something more Hunter-gatherer more basic foods.
not High processed that gives the body far to much energy. (due to the easy of turning to into energy.)
So my father is trying to not cook/eat minces, White breads them sorts of things, he is also getting to eat more nuts allot of them are raw(for the B1 vitamin).

And he is also meditating to try and sort out his stress, and channel it to something apart from worrying.

I will post back here at a later date to see how he goes, So you guys will hear from me in a month or 2..

Anonymous's picture

bo & bad breathe

My son is now in his teenage years. He has always had a slightly bad smell but now it has intensified. His breathe smells like feces He brushes his teeth often but the next two minutes it smells bad again. Being a nonverbal autistic child the dirty looks and nasty comments don't bother him, but it really hurts my feelings. He doesn't know any better but I do he already has a hard time dealing with society this just makes it harder on him and me. Please help!