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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


Papi's picture

Armpit Smell

I'm currently 23 and have been suffering from a body odor issue for about 9 years. I have good hygiene (shower daily, use deodorant/cologne, etc). I used to be very obsessive over my hygiene and even showered and used antiperspirant deodorant up to 3 times daily, thoroughly scrubbing my armpits then applying deodorant right after. Since then, very strange scents have emitted from my body. For example, I have smelled of vomit, old cheese, rancid butter, garbage, etc. The smell seems to get worse when I wash my underarms and applying stronger deodorants, hence it comes from my armpits. I have now resorted to using body spray and non deodorant soaps so my smell is not overly pungent. I have no idea how this terrible smell from my armpits came about and have no idea how to solve it. It has made my life miserable. My social and professional relationships have drastically changed as a result. At times, high school and college life were very miserable because of my smell. Please help!

Severe Candida Girl's picture

i understand,i too suffer from this

Hey I'm 28 and I too suffer from this lonely condition. I'm about to start a Intense candida cleanse tomorrow. Email me maybe we can exchange info and support one another

Dee would rather you reply here it will go to my cell

Anonymous's picture

I am so depressed.

In sixth grade i was having the time of my life, i had everything! Then I started Middle School and I started smelling. I wasn't sure if it was me but it was. It smells like poop and a lot of other nasty smells. I got very self conscious and lost a lot of friends. I went from outgoing to shy. It has been getting worse every year and now I am a freshman in high school. It has gotten so bad that at school I make time to go to the bathroom in between every class and put deodorant on in the stalls. It has gotten so bad that I am using a 2.6 oz of deodorant a school week. I told my parents and they don't believe me.

Anonymous's picture

You are not alone and you're

You are not alone and you're not crazy. There will be help on this someday.

Dana's picture

i go through the same thing:'(

i have the same problem!!!! i have been researching and this woman said she didn't have enough "intestinal flora" so now she takes "probiotics" and "multi-enzymes" plus something called culturelle and lactobacius....i haven't tryied it but i will and i hope you will to and if it doesnt work i'll still keep pressing to find a cure....

Dana's picture

i am so depressed please help me

PLEASE HELP ME!!!! I am a 17 year old girl that stinks! I have been smelling bad as long as i could remember people at school call me stink every body does. For example: the rooms smells clean before I come in and after not even 5minutes of being in the room it stinks. I am a very clean girl,I wash in the tub about 20 minutes 2 times a day,I brush and floss my teeth , and use a tongue scraper, and mouthwash, I use deoderant, and everything. I would do anything just to have a normal life and have people be around me without thinking or saying i am funky. People always say i am a beautiful girl but i cant see it if they are always saying you are soooo pretty but.....YOU STINK!!!! i have lost alot of friends both because of the way i smell and i do not feel confident in myself.please help me I just want to be a normal girl I want to be able to go to parties and have fun and hang out with friends PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous's picture



Anonymous's picture


I know exactly what your talking about. Sorry to be mean but it'll only get worse if left untreated. My odor smells started around that age too. I am now a sophmore in highschool and dont know what to do either. I've tried evrything from dri off gel, vinegar, lemon, and baking soda but it only seems to make it worse. I find that every time im in a situation where im being pulled out of my comfort zone i get nervous and thats when the odor comes in. Antiperspirant deoderant help slow sweating down for me. But i have to keep wiping my armpits between periods too to keep the smell away.Also, take the not having as much friends as you used to as a good part. Because good friend would stick around and be there for you through this. I lost alot of friends, not because of the smell but because i stopped acting the way i used to and they didnt want to know why.

Anonymous's picture

You are not alone

I am sorry that u r experiencing this problem. At first i thought i was the only one with this problem. then I met others with mal-odor disorders.

It started for me about 10 years ago. Lucky for me I had graduated from college. It has affected my social life, career, relationships... Prayer has helped me alot and I have tuned in to a higher power and have learned to decern my real friends and identify my support systems.

That being said, notice what you eat and how it affects you. Certain foods intensify the odor- especially sweets, which the bacteria thrives on; dairy; soy and soy products. Certain veggies also was problematic ( get to know which are beneficial and which add to the problem).

From the beginning I connected the odor to a root canal and dental bridge I had done. No one believed me until recently when another dentist connected the pain I was having around the area to an infection which was not aparent in the dental x-ray. there was a pocket of infection that was leaking into my bloodstream. I noticed after the infection was removed I was odor free for a while. But now depending on my diet it comes and goes. When I eat alot of junk and sweat it's worse.

Try eating healthy meals, especially veggies and fruits. Buy a juicer and juice cucumbers, celery and carrot, apples etc. this is especially important. Try adding 1 teaspoon apple cidar vinegar to a cup of water and use as a mouth rince. It helps neutralize odors in the mouth. Sometimes I add it to my water and drink it throughout the day. Alternate with plain water. And eat Erivan yogurt with acidopholis. Also, include zinc and B-vitamins. Limit choline in your diet and avoid multi-minerals combination because they come with choline listed in the ingrediets.

The key is to get to understand your body and what works for you. Others in my family can get away with eating whatever they want. I can't. Make sure your gums are healthy, rule out other medical conditions and proceed. You have a blessed life ahead. I still live with daily humiliation but I feel blessed and I am grateful to God for each day. I am otherwise healthy and I am alive.

All the best and be well

Good luck.

Raquel's picture

Fecal Smell

I have the same. It is called leaky gut. You have candida and it has made holes in your stomach. Any food particles and fecal matter and especially undigested foods will pass through these holes and cause you to smell. Go on the candida diet, take antifungals, pro-biotic, multi-vit and minerals plus:
n-acetyl glucosamine all twice a day or even better if you can find a supplement specific for healing the gut with all important vit and min plus herbs and amino acids.
Candida should take 6 weeks to go away if you are strict then another 6 weeks to heal stomach lining.

Good luck

PS if you stay on diet strict you will not smell provided you do not get constipated and it DOES HEAL AND GO AWAY

rohit's picture

I have the same problem. what

I have the same problem. what is candida diet?

Anonymous's picture

Did this work for you?

Did this work for you?

ss's picture

smelly like mildew, poop, gas, it varies

I have noticed in the last three months that i smell like the mildew smell. i have noticed that somedays strongr than others and sometimes it smells like rotten eggs.... i have lost 15 pounds in the last four months, going through a divorce...i am wantin to gain weight thinking maybe i is it but its not working.. i am loosing i stoped working out... i dont want to loose more and smell while at the gym. i akesked my friends and they say i dont smell but sometimes hwhen i dnt know the people they make remarks usually men and little kids.... at work i knwo it killlin my job and i erally love it here.. i have been her two yrs but now i have this prob... it once smelled like poop,then rotten eggs, then mildew/mold. i take many showers doesnt help usually happens mid day and after..... n sometimes it just smells like gass... i figured it out maybe its something in my blood or toxins... ihavent tried anyhing becausei didnt knw what to do but i hope that good had put thi spage n my path for something... i am so not confident.. anymore my selfesteem is dead.. iam good lookin just the smell now.... i knw peeople cough. put there hands on there noise... i ned help.... i thought maybe i was the only one but now i know i am not the only stiky one... itake showers but it oesnt help, the last two m onths i have been so tired....

Anonymous's picture

Wow you are right! I am going

Wow you are right! I am going through the same thing right now. I say it smells like an old tampon, toxic waste or poop! how does this semll come out of my body? i am clean and beautiful as well. i know people smell me . my sister is the only one thas was honest she said i made her car stink when i got out of it. if you get help or answers let me know.

You can remove the odor's picture

Please read the article above, please please please :D

"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. "

the imbalance of good bacteria and bad bacteria in your systems is what is causing the odors.

Find a combination Acidophilus or just acidophilus, but my doctor said a combination would be better, and find the dose that works for you to remove the odor. For me, I take three capsules each night.

Anonymous's picture

Hi guys, like you, I also

Hi guys, like you, I also have body odor. Mine isnt fecal though (a poop smell) but it smells like meat when i sweat. Pretty weird, huh? Yea, well my scalp has this nasty odor too. It smells right after i wash it and when i straighten it, it smells like cheese or feet. I feel so embarrassed when im aound people because i know they can smell it- even my friends and thier parents cover their noses when they are around me.

I've had this problem for about 6 years now, and it all started in eigth grade. Now i'm in college, and haven'e made many friends in fear that someone else will notice my smell and look at me in a bad way. As a side note, last summer when i was a freshman in college, my odor changed from a meaty/hamburger smell to a sour smell. I dont know what triggered this change, but when this smell came, i would smell right after i took a shower ( in fact, when i got out of the shower my body would smell like my soap, except it was soo much stronger and worse). So i started to cut back on the meat and ate a vegetarian diet to see if this would make difference. A week later, my sour smell was gone, but it returned back to the hamburger/meaty smell i had before, except it had a sweet odor mixed with it (maybe because i was eating alot more carbs?)

Anyway, i just wanted to know if any of you guys hve experienced these kinds of odors with the sweat and scalp and give me some advice. I want to live my life again.

Anonymous's picture

so depressed..

Hi everyone!
Just reading everyones comments makes me feel a little better but also sad.. I was somewhat hoping that it was all in my head and i was just imagining things but its obvious that this is a problem that many people go through. I am 24 years old and i am a single mother. I am attractive but i always shy away from men who try to date me because somehow someone always makes a comment about it smelling like "poop" or peole always asking who passed gas. There is instances that i myself can smell the smell it smells awful like fish and rotten eggs and i cant believe that that awful smell come out of me.
: (
i dont know what to do. It is really embarrasing i just want to cry.

Anonymous's picture


You probably have TMAU.

Anonymous's picture

Helping your body odor

Just like many people on here i suffer from body odor, and after many years of research I've found some help that can help you too. I have not cured it completely but I'm able to go out places and not really have many negative comments,almost none at all. First of all the rotten egg smell comes from eating food containing "choline", such as eggs, chocolate, ceral, corn, even a lot of fruit juices have cornsyrup in it, you have to avoid products that contain these items. Second the fish smells comes from eating too much fried foods and diary products, definitely avoid those. The fecal and sewage odor comes from eating diary, and unhealthy foods, it may not be all the causes of fecal odor but getting rid of these helps it from being so strong. Try some kind of colon cleansers, or detox.I have read that probotics really help i'm just started taking them again,I'm going to try them out for a while to see if this will eliminate the odor. Its going to be tough satying away from these foods but until somebody come up with a cure so we can go back living the way we used to its our only option. It would also help if we keep in touch with each other. This way we can work together and be each other support systems. If you want you can email me and anybody else reading this.

Anonymous's picture

Try cutting out the sugar

Try cutting out the sugar from your diet; at least no more than one desert a week. That will decrease the bad bacteria in your intestines and female area. Drink more water to clean your blood. Another post recomended multi-enzymes. Also coffee and black tea are toxic to your liver. Hope that helps.

Anonymous's picture

why do i smell? :'(

hi im a 19 yr old girl, since primary school i always sweated alot and i never thought it was a big problem till secondary school. people use to make jokes about me and i never knew they were talking about me,they'd wear scarfs to try and hide the smell when sitting next to me in class. i tried to push the thought that i stunk out the window but when you travel on the bus for 5 years and no one sit's next to you it kind of gets you down. im now in college and it's constantly hot, i drive so no one has to suffer and they dont say anything horrible to me on the bus anymore which is the only good thing. but when i get to college i smell disgusting and i use deo, i've tried everything on the market. i just want to cry when i hear the mean things the girls say and they say it loud so i can hear it . but im not gonna let them see me cry!!!. i dont mean to smell, it's not like i do it on purpose. i do wash twice a day or more, i went to the doctors and all she said was 'you just have sensitive arms my dear, theres nothing i can do' the only person that could have helped sent me away with out even trying. i've never felt so down and depressed in my life , i cry when im alone. i don't want to worry my family or friends they have there own problems to deal with . i mean, i feel sorry for the girls in my class. having to smell me 7hr's 5 days a week . if i was them i wouldn't sit next to me or talk to me either, even my dad says i smell like a pig :'(. i'd say im a really happy girl with alot of friends but this is getting to me,it's just so hard i cant take it anymore. i want to be like other girls , the ones that never sweat, that don't have to buy 30 deo's just to try and smell nice. that don't want guys talking to her cause shes scared their say that she smell's.that smell pretty!. i need a miracle cause my confidence is shattered to 1000 pieces. but it's so nice that im not the only one, that people have over come this. it gives me hope that i can be normal one day . thankyou.

Anonymous's picture

i have the same problem too...

always look at the positive side and you never lack blessings....

Miss Ann's picture

Please talk to your

Please talk to your parents--someone in your family to help you. They would be very sad to know that you are suffering so much and not able to talk to them. Look through the other ideas and see which ones that you can do. How's your diet? Are you eating a lot of sugar and drinking pop (probably doesn't help), taking vitamins (good), drinking lots of water (good), eating lots of veggies and beans...Mostly, don't give up! We all have lots of things like this that we have to battle all our lives--sometimes they are very serious and sometimes they are a nuisance. This is probably a health-problem that can be helped by changing how you eat and some additional things that you'll need to do to take care of yourself. Most importantly, love the young lady that you are and appreciate those things that you are good at and make you special--you are an unrepeatable creation. I will be hoping that you get to the bottom of this thing! Talk to someone who loves you!

Anonymous's picture

ever since i was little

hi everyone

ever since i was young in elementary school, i didnt shower much, even tho i should had.i shower regularly now, and use things to help scrub of dead skin. in school i would hear comments about a poop smell or diaper smell in the area i was in. i felt like burying myself alive right then. i always had a tough time dealing with this. from elem to high school i dealt with this. after hih school i hadnt heard any comments from my friends or family until last week at work. my frend passed right behind me and said dude you reek and i replied huh? to which she replied a completely different thing...i went to the bathroom and tried washing my face and airing my self out( i had been sweating at work)

what can i do? this makes me feel terrible and takes me back to my middle school years..

not fair at all

noora's picture


dear people please 27 years old female suffering from halitosis from past 10 years,imagine how i lived my teenager life/?people pointing at me,some do not want to talk to me they go away when they see me.i got divorced because of this killer.whenever i go for a date guys escape even tho am so preety and well educated.i am living alone now away from my family and people.

Ella's picture

Hi Halitosis

I have suffered with Halitosis for 50 years; since I was 13 and I'm 63 now. I have also visited Halitosis Centers, used all kinds of mouthwashes, toothpastes and even tongue scrapers. Nothing works. I have been talked about, talked down too and shuned; however, I didn't let my breath define who I am. I went to college, became an RN and did patient care for several years. My patients loved me because I strived to give them the best care possible and that's what they wanted and appreciated. I was married and had two children and now have two grandchildren. I also live alone and love it. I have never been fired from a job and my co-workers respect me in-spite of my bad breath. I'm still looking for a cure but I'm not sure there will be one in my lifetime. I am fortunate that I now have a job, using my nursing license, but I am now working from home, which is ideal because I don't offend anyone and am not embarrassed by insenstive people. Don't give up, keep trying to find a place of joy, in this life, and know that GOD will not leave you. Stay in prayer and be who you want to be, regardless of those around you. It's your life; you define it.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hi Ella

You are absolutely inspiring, Ella! Thank you so much for sharing your story and reminding us all that our talents define who we are, not our problems. I believe we need to hear that when we live in a society that obsesses over image rather than ability..Thank you God bless...

sousou's picture

maybe you have to check if

maybe you have to check if you have candida or not or metabolic issue.
good luck

Anonymous's picture



Anonymous's picture

fecal odor.OMG

Oh my god! this smell is driving me crazy.I'm a 25 years old woman,good looking and always was worry about how do i look.but now this is ruining my's started a few months ago after i had anal sex.i dont know if there is any relation but what i know is that before that i was normal. stinky,spoiled smell around me.
it wasn't as bad as it is!!!not even me can stand the smell,give me nauseas.i feel very depressed.i dont wanna go to work,either school.sometimes i just wanna die!! i tried changing my diet,vitimans,glutimine supplements,nothing worked for me! so i decided to go to my doctor.they test me for STD infections.the test came positive for chlamydia in my rectum and anus. and i might have proctitis as well,cause my rectum is inflammed.maybe that is my problem.i'm treating my STD with antibiotics but the smell is still with me!!they are going to do a sigmoid! it's a test which they use a camara to see through you small intestines!' i hope they find something and prescribe me with the cure! but im so nervous about the smell! i'm not eating well,cause i noticed that as soon i eat the smell it's stronger! i swear that if i find the cure,i will let you know,cause i know what you are going through!
pray for all of us! good luck!

Anonymous's picture

Garbage smell

I have been suffering from a garbage like smell for years. It gets worse when I eat. I have isolated myself. I am always in a state of fear. I've had upper GIs, colonoscopys, rectal surgery, taken antibotics. Still I smell. If i eat outdoors, bugs fly around me. I am at my wits end. I am very clean about myself. I work out. I take fiber daily. I have good bowel movements. But still that smell. Often at work folks walk by and sniff at me. Sometimes even blurt out loud, "what is that smell"! I don't know what else to do. I'm writing you because u said your problem intensify once you've eaten. I usually eat breakfast, the nothing until I come home. Not good, I know. I just want to be normal. Any suggestions?

Serendip Visitor's picture

email me. lets help each other out

Ok I suffer too. It is hardly ever noticable in home. But in school, it's totally noticable (especially in classrooms). That horrid smell of sulfer and feces engulf me and a wide area around me, kind of like a forcefield (that smells like poop). Sometimes I know when the smell is coming, sometimes i don't. For example, if I feel the need to pass gas, I'm already expecting to smell feces (due to the fact that i believe I have weak anal sphincter control *HELP PLEASE*). Then it just comes out. Doesn't matter what I ate the day before. It still smells like poop! Gosh don't you just hate it when family and friends tell you that they don't smell anything? But when you go to school you see your surrounding classmates turn the other way or cover their noses. (In my situation there are people talking behind my back saying i smell like shit. And they think i can't hear them). Today I sat close to a friend of mine i just met. I could totally tell he was smelling me due to his reactions. He was lying forward on the desk trying to cover his face from the smell, covered his nose, stared at me a couple of times, etc. I asked him to be honest about if I smell bad. He said no. Why are people like this? I know they are trying to be polite and all but honesty would help us even more. Sucks because my family thinks I have a mental illness. They don't want to help me because they don't believe me. If you feel the same way I do and are alone email me. Tell me your story.

Anonymous's picture



HL's picture

these comments remind me of

these comments remind me of my own situation. but recently, i've come to think that much of the odor issue i have is in my head. i think that i have probably imagined much of the odor that i used to think was real and coming out of my body. what got me about 13x's comment was the part about family and friends reassuring him/her about the odor. i've done the same thing--asked someone whether or not i smell, got the wrong answer (reassurance) and went on believing that i smelled like an open sewer/garbage can/dead fish/etc. i've found that i can dream up anything about myself and believe it in the face of a great deal of evidence to the contrary. as for coworkers covering their noses and the like, well, it's almost certain that i've let on that i am paranoid about my odor (by overcompensating: wearing too much cologne, say, or popping mints constantly). and chance are--since i'm so awkward (because i don't have healthy relationships with people because i think they're all insincere)-- the only way my coworkers have to relate to me is to make jokes and spend part of their day fucking with my head. people become aware when others have hang-ups about things. how they deal with it varies. some say nothing about the hang-up. some try to be reassuring and supportive. others are complete assholes about it and take every opportunity to behave thusly. yet, when one asks for an honest answer--as 13x did--and gets the answer that no, one does not in fact smell bad, it is again the wrong answer, and one continues to believe 1) that one is a stinking vat of roasting garbage; and 2) nobody is being honest. however, if one puts oneself into new situations--say, with people one does not know--and tests the idea that one does not smell (i.e., by acting normally and confidently, even if it is just an act for the sake of doing the test), one probably finds that said people do not behave so strangely. as the article above points out, advertising is quite powerful, and some of us are quite sensitive to it, even though we are otherwise intelligent, rational people. i think, at bottom, that most people who suffer from this odor phobia thing are probably dealing with a delusion of some sort that, while not easy to get rid of, is treatable if one is willing to trust other people and to re-train one's mind to understand that most of the time, things are probably okay and not nearly as bad as they may seem.

Anonymous's picture

Hey Sweetheart, You are

Hey Sweetheart,

You are not crazy, the same exact thing is happening to me. I smell the poop smell always around me and sometimes I smell fish, spoiled rotten fish and my stomach is always gassy. People are wierd they say they dont smell anything but I hear the same people making mean comments when they think I'm out of ear shot. My family say's I'm crazy and that it is all in my head. I don't know what's going on.

I read an article that in the 80's they gave a triple antibiotic drug to intensive car patients; and that this my be the cause of my problems, a yeast overgrowth. I have been taking some pro-biotics and enzymes and the smell is subsiding some. I just want this to be over so I can live a normal life.

I'm sorry that people are so mean. I wish I could help you and make this whole thing better for both of us. But, keep your head up! Also "Please find the book The master Key system by charles haanel and read it" I think you will like it. God Bless You Honey, and even though I dont know you I love you and understand what you are going through. I wish I could find a friend like you. Also if I was in your class I would tell you the truth. In one way I think that this issue has made me a better person in ways that really matter, Lets both let this count for something.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Mind over matter?

Hi all

It happened to me for a couple of weeks. Totally embarrassing – didn’t even want to go to work let alone leave the house (and I love my job!)

But for now it seems to have disappeared... actually, I take that back. It comes and goes, but I think it’s a mind over matter thing and I am trying not to let it take over my life. A couple of weeks ago when I first smelt it, I decided to cut out coffee and stopp eating as much junk food as I had lived on for over 10 years (used to have around choccie bars a day, numerous can drinks and ate out most of the time), and then when this happened, it was like a realisation to kick out my bad habits.

I honestly believe that herbal teas helped. I started with fennel and nettle, and then a colleague let me have the Twinings Morning Detox, which I will continue to take every morning, whilst drinking peppermint / fennel and nettle drinks everytime I needed something warm. It wasn’t easy to begin with, but it got to the point where I would do anything and everything to lose the smell. It killed my self esteem.

Activia yoghurts helped too. I do actually think it is to do with nerves, and also the body having too much acid and needing alkaline foods. Who knows really – all I know is that it has taught me to be a lot more conscious about what I eat as coffee, chocolate and alcohol speed up heart rates and therefore nerves can be the worse.

But perhaps I am wrong and it's not a mind over matter thing. Either way, I have a blood test and a neurologist appointment scheduled so I shall keep you all updated.

My prayers and best wishes are with you all.

Serendip Visitor's picture

im 15 years old and have the

im 15 years old and have the same promblem my family and doctor cant smile it but most of friends smell it when i play sports beacuse i sweat alot i think thats the promblem

Anonymous's picture

me too

I've suffered with this since I was 12 and I'm now nearly 50. There is NO cure for this and you just have to learn to deal with it, don't keep setting yourselves up for failure and disappointment by thinking you can cure it. The smell will sometimes be not as bad but that's the best you can hope to achieve. Get yourselves tested for TMAU, but if you don't have TMAU you probably have BROMHIDROSIS which is smelly appocrine sweat (not normal eccrine sweat). This also has nothing to do with personal hygiene, most of us are cleaner than you non-smellers out there with your stupid comments about washing clothes (well duh).

Anonymous's picture

Vinegar / Faeces / Trash smell

Hi all

Been reading all of these comments, and still at a loss. I can relate. Since my birthday at the beginning of the year, I have smelt of BO. Changed my deodrant, and then realised that I could smell my feet a lot more than usual. Started placing deodrant down there to hide the smell but in the last week or so, the feet have smelt of vinegar, and this week, I have smelt me smelling of faeces, vinegar and of a trashy smell. I am driving my mum up the wall asking if I smell (for her to tell me no) and my friends have told me I don't (and I know they would tell me if I do). I am worried sick. I have taken days off work as I too have seen people rubbing their noses and coughing around me, received the bad stares from people on the bus and train, and now am thinking of not going on holiday incase I make people on the plane journey want to go overboard with my smell!!

My diet is bad. I used to snack on a lot of sweets, chocs and fizzy and have now cut that out; but I am so sensitive, I don't know what to do. I am even fearful of going to church, and I love church so much.

Can anyone help? I'm so scared of losing my job, my life, my family and my friends.

Thank you. God bless. x

Anonymous's picture

fecal odor

ok. i've been reading what's been posted about this fecal odor stuff and here's my take.

i developed this like two years ago. i was in a club (i guess i'm an attractive guy) and i'm dancing with this hot girl. all of a sudden she moves away from me. everyone is staring. someone holds their nose. I get a faint whiff of something horrible smelling pooplike odor. that can't be me, right? Leave the club and go into a store - they complain of a poopy smell. everywhere i go the same complaint.

go to the doc. she accuses me of being gay and catching something through anal sex. she gives me flagyl. i change doctors. the flagyl doesn't work. another doctor does a full battery of tests. nothing.

i troed probiotics. heavy doses. nothing except heavy doses of probiotics MAKES YOUR POOP MORE STINKY so when i used the whole bathroom my whole brownstone building smelled awful. probiotics didn't solve it - although my skin and nails got a lot better.

went on an essentially all protein diet - just protein and veggies - no sugars or grains at all. that solved it. but the problem then became hypoglycemia - had it bad.

so i deduced that it must be yeast. used grapefruit seed extract to kill it. then i used glutamine to heal my gut. high does of glutamine - like 10 grams or more. also took zinc - high doses of 100 mg or more a day. IT WORKED.

are you hearing me???? it worked. the odor went away.

but now my intestines arevery sensitive and i'm learning the hard way.

coffee? the smell comes back. green tea? the symptoms come back. Alcohol? the symptoms definitely come back.

I read somewhere where the b vitamin niacin would help and i took that and it made it much worse and I was literally holed up in my apt for 2 weeks.

so my conclusion:

this is leaky gut. intestinal hyperpermeability. note that a lot of sufferers here also have IBS or colitis. also note that IBS is prevalent among autistics - I've read a number of autistic kids having this smell - and noted it myself a while ago as a volunteer.

during IBS the intestines are inflamed. Think about how big your pores get when you have a big bruise. the intestines and colon become hyperpermeable and they let the odorous byproducts of digestion into the bloodstream where they are filtered out in sweat and presumably urine (my pee smells bad too during stuff like this).

this starts a wicked cycle of autoimmune shit which sucks.

when I'm rigidly regimented - no one notices a smell around me.

my regimen.

glutamine 5g morning 5g night
rice protein 10g morning 10g night

take grapefruit seed extract for a couple of days - it works better than garlic and you won't smell like garlic.

the interesting thing about tea, coffee, and alcohol is that they are known to produce intestinal lesions. the TANNINS in them do this. avoid tannins.

the key to healing the intestines. glutamine. glutamine heals stomach ulcers in two weeks.

i haven't licked it yet but i know this protocol works and it will at least allows you to lead a semblance of a normal life.

I'll repeat:

grapefruit seed extract.

this is a yeast infection that has eaten through colon lining coupled with irritants in the diet which keep the colon inflamed. then you absorb the byproducts of digestion (skatole etc.) and this produces the smell. logic dictates that healing the lining and avoiding inflaming foods will promote healing.

good luck everyone.

stay thirsty my friends.

Tarnisha Smart's picture

Body Odor Problem

First, I want to say that my heart goes out to each and every one of you. This is a very real problem for us all. For this reason, I am not going to post as anonymous. If anyone wants to contact me, please do.

The odor problem started over a year ago. It has taken on different smells (smoky burnt cigarette smell, chemical smell – like burnt metal, sweaty metal, sour smell). I have seen 2 medical doctors, 2 dermatologists, 1 surgeon and an endocrinologist and his assistant. I have been tested for diabetes, as well as a number hormone tests, which turned up nothing. The worst part is that every doctor I have seen has said they don’t smell anything.

The endocrinologist, in my opinion, did not believe me and prescribed an oral medicine, which I found out, after some internet research, was used to treat depression and dys-morphic disorder. I ended the visits with these doctor’s when they looked at me finally and said there is nothing else they can do.

I have had family members and coworkers tell me they don’t smell anything either, however their actions cannot hide the fact that they do smell it – like sneezing, coughing, brushing at their nose, etc. I lived in the Bronx and had to stop taking the express bus into Manhattan because people were complaining to the bus driver. Now that I am in New Jersey, I have to take the train everyday and it is a trial. People openly stare, hold their noses and verbally complain about the smell – I had one lady spray me with perfume on the express bus. Adults can be very mean and immature.

I shower all too often but even the soaps and deodorants do not work. Some soaps and deodorants have actually exacerbated the cigarette smell. I have tried every soap, deodorant and powder on the market. I have tried chlorophyll, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B, natural deodorants with no aluminum – nothing has worked.

One doctor suggested using Botox, which I am trying to get my health insurance to cover, but after hearing from a previous post that this did not work, I am now skeptical.

I can’t believe that there is not enough extensive research on body odor. There are too many of us out there for this problem not to be taken more seriously.

Serendip Visitor's picture

re:Tarnisha Smart

Try tackling the BO issue with Ph balancing....drink alkaline water...I use a brand of drops (health store or online) called ConcenTrace...It helps tremendously...everything that you mentioned I have tried also, but perhaps you may want to try something in conjunction with this remedy; Afterall, some vitamins and minerals complement each other in certain dosages of each...keep in touch
S W E E T L A D Y 2 2 2 2 AT H O T M A I L DOT C O M

Anonymous's picture

wow sorry to hear what you're

wow sorry to hear what you're going through, I can relate to the metal smell, I have been going through something like this for the past 2 years. Everyone thinks I'm crazy or just bugging out but I'm not and it has totally changed my life in a negative way. I don't go outside rarely and I quit my job because of it.

Anonymous's picture

Body odor problem

I as well as 4 of my children suffered from body odor problems. We had fecal,gas-like,fishy type odors that started many years ago. We also had IBS and various other symptoms. We all have intolerances to wheat/gluten, milk,
and redmeat. It took me several months to figure out the connection between the food and the odors. If we adhere to
a strict diet and eliminate these foods that we are sensitive to we do not have the odors or the other symptoms of food intolerances like IBS. I hope this helps I am trying to inform as many people on these forums as I can because I know how painful this condition is and has been for my children. I hope this may help.Food intolerances can be hard to detect it is done by process of elimination and I know some of the people with this condition do not have other symptoms. For them I suggest testing for things such as inborn errors of metabolism such as TMAU.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Body Odor Problem

I also have the curse of B.O. At work lately, people have been talking about me. I remember when it first began when I reached puberty in 4th grade. All of the mean girls started calling me musty. I did not have many friends and this was terrible for my self esteem. I thought I finally got over it and now the women are talking about me at work. I am never sure if I smell or not. I always smell myself, I wash under my arms at least 3 to 4 times a day at work. I carry powders, soap, lotion, deodorant, perfumes, extra blouses, etc. I shower twice a a day. My hubby says he does not smell me but I just can't be sure. Strong perfumes make me sneeze. I get Botox shots and I also use a prescribed deoderant from my derm. Dr. I sweat all the time and I have always been a sweater. I don't wear polyester. I can only bear cotton,& linnen. I smell okay to myself but I have noticed my right side is sweatier than my left. I think it's because I am right handed and I use it more. I did drink too much coffee and I have gone cold turkey. That could be part of the problem. My doctor testd me for thyroid problems and I do not have any but I am border line for hyper thyroidism.

Anonymous's picture

I used to suffer from

I used to suffer from terrible body odor also; I'm not sure but I think my problem was basically attributed to my diet. I have since cut back consuming white sugar as well as limiting my carb intake.

When I bathe, I shower first then run a bath and add about 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to the water along with about 1/2 cup of borax washing powders. I soak in this solution for a few minutes and wash my body one final time with anytype of body wash. I will rinse off and then pour some of the vinegar on a few clean washcloths and wash my face, neck, underarms, groin area and feet; basically any area where I ususally experience severe sweating during the day.

I will try to leave the vinegar on for a minute and after I have finished washing off in vinegar, I will completely rinse off and throughly dry off

Over the past few weeks, I have found this to work wonders; my body odor has completely vanished.

Good luck.

Anonymous's picture

how do you get rid of it

im 15 kids at my school say i smell like garbage,poop,shit idk where its coming from went to the doctors she just told me kids are just evil and mean..i didnt bye it cause if it was that..why do every new school i go to they said the same things even in my choir the kids talk about me, at school i stay to myself hate social events,i later went into depression dreaded school,tryed to kill myself cause i didnt want to go to school ...had to go to a facility for "kids with have mental problems",they ppl there were telling me it was in my head and telling about pschology...but i no im not crazy i know what i hear...nobody in my family understands,all they say is ignore it and in about 3 yrs you'll be out of school....i dread going to school..its where now if im by someone i expect them to say somthing stinks everyone is telling me what to do but they dont know what im going through sometimes when i have a bad day at school i tell my mom it was ok juss so i wont worry her with the bad news and even though its summer when i think of school all the bad then think of suicide but i tell my counselors when they ask me do you have any suicidal thoughts ever since you got out of the facility i say they wont take me back there...but really they come back at night when i think about school...i dont belong there i just need a cure thats all i need... im energetic very pretty friendly fun to be around but ever since this ive been by myself i really really really need a cure

Anonymous's picture

I am 47 and I have the exact

I am 47 and I have the exact same issues. Although it has been with me for years. I can't advise you cause I don't know what it is or what to do either. God help us. Often think of ending it all :o(

Anonymous's picture

Body odor condition

47 year old anonymous- Please do not end your life because of this condition. I know how you feel as I have had this condition myself for several years and have just recently discovered a connection to my food intolerances and all the various odors that I have experienced. I have food intolerances to wheat/gluten, milk, and Redmeat. I had odors that sometimes would be fecal, gas-like, or fishy. I also had problems with IBS and many other symptoms due to food intolerances. Food intolerances can be very difficult to detect it takes a process of elimination and extensive food logs to determine which foods you are sensitive to. You did not mention whether you had any other symptoms other than odor. If you do, maybe possibly you could have some type of food intolerance. If you don't have any other symptoms other than odor maybe you could be tested for an inborn error of metabolism such as TMAU (trimethylaminuria).
You also did not mention the type of odor that you are experiencing. I have different odors for each food I am sensitive to. I hope this helps as I am trying to contact as many people on these forums as I can.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Your not alone

I am going through ur exact same situation. Hate going to school because scared of what they are going to say. so if ever need someone to talk to you can contact me.