The human body exudes a whole range of smells and that's normal. Modern hygiene products help us stay clean and fight natural secretions. Toothpaste helps maintain oral health and ensures fresh breath, shampoos and bath gels remove dirt and give the hair and the skin a pleasant scent, and deodorants and perfumes effectively mask everything we want to hide. The cleanliness of the body and the smells that it exudes are a part of our image and indicators of how comfortable it is for other people to interact with us. But sometimes our body signals possible problems with certain smells.
Common household causes
There are some natural prerequisites for bad smells of the body caused by harmless habits and certain conditions. If there are no health problems, then you can achieve considerable improvements by eliminating the prime cause.
In any abnormal situation, an increase in sweating is the natural reaction of the body. Stress can be caused by absolutely anything, such as bad news, hard work, or fear. Sweat itself doesn't have a smell, but it becomes unpleasant when the secreted fluid is mixed with bacteria on the skin and clothes. There are only two ways in which you can fight this phenomenon and they are learning to control your emotions and maintaining good hygiene.
2. Medication intake
Increased sweating can be caused by some medications, including antipyretic drugs, antihistamines, and decongestants. In this case, it's recommended to consult with your doctor who will replace the medication with something else or adjust the dosage.
3. Dirty undergarments
Underwear touches the parts of the body that are most prone to sweating. A moist environment contributes to the reproduction of bacteria that emit an unpleasant smell when mixed with sweat. Besides, some fabrics actively absorb odors. The more they contact the body, the greater the likelihood that even after washing they won't disappear. Underwear shouldn't be worn for more than one day.
4. Bare feet in shoes
Socks and closed-toe shoes are an inseparable couple. The fabric layer between the skin and the inner surface of shoes or sneakers absorbs moisture. That's why it's not recommended to wear the same shoes even two days in a row, but if there is no alternative, the following simple recommendations will help:
- ventilate the shoes and, if necessary, wash or change the insoles;
- before going to bed, apply a small amount of antiperspirant to the skin of the feet;
- from time to time, take an antibacterial foot bath (one of the ingredients should be a 1:2 solution of vinegar in water).
5. Love for spicy food
Spices give our favorite dishes a special taste and aroma, but they also lead to bad smells from our body. Eastern spices are especially 'dangerous', as they emit sulfur-containing gases that are released through the pores of the skin a few hours after the meal.
An unpleasant bodily smell can replace a healthy one as the result of disorders of a medical nature. There are 3 common reasons for this which you can determine by changes in the sweat secreted by the body.
1. Excess of methionine
This rare amino acid contains sulfur and disorders in its synthesis contribute to the formation of an excessive amount of dimethyl sulphide. The problem can be recognized by the body emitting the smell of boiled cabbage. One of its causes is the consumption of large quantities of food rich in protein, meat, and cheese. However, you can't exclude the possibility of genetic mutation as a result of which the production of enzymes contributing to the destruction of methionine is reduced. You'd better not ignore such phenomena, as they are fraught with various neurological pathologies and an overall worsening of the situation.
The smell of decomposing fish is triggered by the production of trimethylaminuria in the intestine that helps effectively digest various products. An excess amount of this substance is the result of the body not being able to synthesize the enzyme that destroys it. That's why trimethylaminuria is excreted with liquids - sweat and urine.
3. Excess of isovaleric acid
The characteristic cheesy smell indicates an excessive concentration of isovaleric acid, an increase of which stimulates the development of brain pathologies and even causes death, especially among small children. The lack of the enzyme that neutralizes it is a genetic deviation that doesn't have a cure. Still, it is possible to keep the body in a completely satisfactory state by giving up products rich in leucine.
Atypical smells that might be symptoms
Our body always signals any possible disorders in its functioning, including by way of smells. We will now take a look at the main sources and signs that mean you should consult a doctor and be examined.
1. Smell from the mouth
A sweet-sugary smell is common among people who suffer from diabetes. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that instead of glucose, the body uses fat as a source of energy and this contributes to the formation of ketone. An excess of this substance may lead to the following:
- diabetic coma;
- oncological lesions of the brain;
- loss of consciousness.
You can try to find out what the problem is by doing a test with ketone strips. Note that at the first signs you should consult a specialist, especially if there are doubts or a record of diabetes.
A fishy smell indicates kidney damage, which practically has no symptoms during the first stages. In order to prevent disease, you should monitor your blood pressure and level of blood sugar, as well as give up foods rich in fats and cholesterol and replace them with healthy food.
Permanently bad breath is often explained by not maintaining proper hygiene or the existence of an inflammatory process.
2. Atypical smell of urine
The body releases a great amount of toxins through urine, that's why it's no wonder that its smell is far from pleasant.
A sharp ammonia smell can be a symptom of dehydration or an infection of the urinary system. If the urine has a sharp sweetish smell reminiscent of maple syrup, it indicates the body's inability to produce a number of amino acids for digestion. Often it is also a sign of genetic diseases.
In this context, we are speaking about damage to the skin accompanied by loss of blood, that is to say, not the menstrual cycle of women. If the wound still has an unpleasant smell a few days after the injury, it may be a sign of an ongoing infection.
Just like with urine, the body excretes toxins and waste material through fecal masses, that's why the smell is equally unpleasant. But in some cases, it can also be a sign of lactose intolerance.
The feet emit an unpleasant smell after a whole day of wearing shoes or doing physical activity. As a rule, it disappears after proper hygiene procedures and a short period of time during which the feet 'breathe'. If the smell is permanent, you'd better examine your feet, toes, and nails to check if there is a mycotic lesion. Especially if this phenomenon is accompanied by peeling or reddening of the skin, or the appearance of blisters.
A cheesy smell occurs when you don't maintain proper hygiene or wear old shoes that absorb a large amount of moisture. However, it can sometimes be a sign of hormonal disorders or hyperhidrosis - increased sweating irrespective of environmental conditions.
The human body is one of the perfect systems created by nature. Ignoring the signs that it gives us often leads to the development of chronic diseases. By paying attention to the smells that the body releases, we have a better chance of preventing diseases or avoiding a worsening of our condition.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not treat yourself, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.