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Body Odor: These 6 Body Odours Indicate Illness

Sure, bad breath or cheesy feet can be harmless. But what if not? These diseases can be recognized by body odour.

Yes, we could also list a whole list of (excellent) reasons why you can smell unpleasant. For example, when you have been sweaty for 3 hours again or have eaten the garlic and onion pan for lunch. In such cases, a swig of mouthwash (gargle, not drink), a good deodorant or a shower is often enough to get rid of the stench.

In other cases, it is unfortunately not that easy. Because diseases produce a peculiar odour in the body, claims a Swedish study (” The Scent of Disease”). You should therefore pay particular attention to some of the scents that our body exudes. They are an early warning system and show you how your health is doing.

6 Body Odors That Can Indicate An Illness

Sweetish Halitosis Can Indicate Diabetes

If your breath smells like overripe fruit and you haven’t had any fermented fruit schnapps before, you could have type 1 diabetes. Doctors attribute this odour to acetone. This is a metabolic product that arises, for example, when there is a lack of insulin.

The body needs glucose to meet its daily energy needs. Insulin helps the body when it burns. If the body does not have enough insulin due to a disorder, the cells break down fat instead. The resulting acetone can acidify the blood. Doctors then speak of ketoacidosis. The urine also smells sweet. Other signs are an increased urge to urinate and dizziness.

What to do: See a doctor right away. If left untreated, ketoacidosis is life-threatening.

Cheese Feet Are A Symptom Of An Athlete’s Foot

Sweaty feet are an uncomfortable number in themselves – wherever you go, it smells like a smell. But now it gets even worse: Those who have cheese feet are also prone to athlete’s foot. Because the skin fungus particularly likes warm and humid places to multiply. Men are particularly often affected because they have more sweat glands on their feet than women.

The first signs are softened skin and itching. Together with bacteria, the fungi eat away at the layers of the skin, releasing the typically unpleasant smell. So if your sneakers stink badly, don’t just change your shoes: Take a look in the spaces between your toes and the soles of your feet – after all, it is estimated that every third person is affected by an athlete’s foot. 

What to do: Athlete’s foot won’t go away on its own. Fortunately, there are plenty of over-the-counter remedies for athlete’s foot that work well. It would help if you did not ignore the signs. Untreated athlete’s foot can lead to wound infections or spread to the nails. And nail fungus is pretty uncomfortable! 

Foul-Smelling Stool From Lactose Intolerance

Whose chair smells like flowers? But if your apartment is so smelly that you feel sick yourself, you could be lactose intolerant. If the body doesn’t make enough of the enzyme lactase, it can’t digest lactose – a sugar found in dairy products. Instead of releasing the milk sugar into the blood, the small intestine sends the lactose directly to the large intestine. There it is fermented with the strong gas formation and leads, among other things, to foul-smelling flatulence, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and nausea – and even depression.   

What to do: Don’t lose your nerve. Around 65 to 90 percent of the world’s population cannot digest lactose. It is often enough to eat low-lactose without causing significant symptoms, say experts. Ask your doctor how much is still acceptable for you. Otherwise, go through the list of ingredients in foods or pay attention to the now rich alternatives with the addition of “lactose-free”.   

Fishy Sweat Odor In Metabolic Diseases 

Sweat consists of 99 percent water and is therefore actually odourless. However, if you suddenly start smelling fish during a hard workout, you could have TMAU syndrome. The metabolic disease trimethylaminuria is also called fish odour syndrome. It occurs when the body produces too little of the enzyme flavin. Flavin is responsible for breaking down the odourless trimethylamine gas in the liver. The cause of the disorder can be a genetic defect or a kidney and liver disease. The disease occurs more often in women – so sniff your loved one very carefully.

What you should do:  There is no cure yet. The unpleasant smell that those affected excrete through breath and urine can be reduced by changing your diet. In addition, you should avoid food containing the nutrient choline, advises the British health website NHS Choices. No-gos: eggs, legumes, meat and fish as well as rose and cauliflower and broccoli. Particular antibiotic therapy can also help.

Bad Breath Is A Symptom Of Sleep Apnea Syndrome

There are many causes of bad breath: sinus, throat or tonsillitis, also problems with the gastric mucosa, and of course terrible gums and tooth decay. However, in the case of sleep apnea syndrome, bad breath is indirectly triggered by pauses in breathing during nighttime sleep. Affected people snore particularly loudly and irregularly, which leads to increased mouth breathing. This causes the mucous membranes to dry out. The bacteria that can then settle are the reason for the bad breath.

Another indication that you have sleep apnea syndrome is severe daytime sleepiness. This is because stopping your breath causes you to wake up briefly to breathe without you noticing. The body cannot rest enough at night, so you feel irritable and tired during the day, leading to microsleep.  

What to do: Be sure to see a doctor. Undiagnosed sleep apnea syndrome can lead to high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.


Strict Smelling Urine In Urinary Tract Infections

Like sweat, urine consists almost entirely of water (95%) and does not usually emit a strong odour (except asparagus season). If urine stinks, the reason is often an infection with E. coli bacteria. They settle in the urinary tract and multiply rapidly in the bladder. Because women are more likely to have cystitis, men tend to ignore their signs. According to the motto: What comes by itself also goes by itself. But experts advise not to take this lightly. If the urine stinks in men, something is often clogging the urinary tract – E. coli bacteria are the lesser problem. Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate could be the cause.   

What to do: see a doctor. There a urine test brings the precise diagnosis. In rare cases, foul-smelling urine can also be a sign of a tumour. 

10 Tricks Against Body Odour

Who does not know it, the moment when you notice that you smell and know that the others do the same. So what can you do about body odour?

We can’t make you sterile either, but with these ten tricks against body odour, you have good prerequisites to keep penetrating armpit sweat and all other natural odours at bay. 

  1. Showering helps, of course, against body odour. Stand briefly in the wet room once a day. Sweat is virtually odourless, but when it comes into contact with the bacteria that live on our bodies, the little beasts multiply rapidly. And then it starts to stink.
  2. Finish the shower with cold water. This not only gets your circulation going, which is suitable for your immune system. The cold water also contracts the pores of the sweat glands. 
  3. No time to shower? Afraid of the water bill? Too dry skin? No problem, take a damp washcloth and clean those areas where you sweat remarkably quickly, such as under the armpits or on the feet.
  4. Go to the sauna regularly: the temperature change also trains the pores of the sweat glands.
  5. There are people for whom water and unscented curd soap are sufficient to counter body odour. Everyone else can try antiseptic soap. It reduces the number of bacteria on the skin.
  6. Dry yourself thoroughly—especially where you sweat a lot. Without moisture, it is more difficult for the bacteria to multiply and flood everything.
  7. Wear air-permeable shoes and cotton clothing. This transports the moisture to the outside. The sweat dries up before the bacteria can break it down.
  8. Trim or shave your armpit hair. This reduces the total area where bacteria can spread.
  9. Watch your weight: If you carry too many pounds with you, you will sweat more quickly
  10. Please pay attention to your diet: coffee, alcohol and nicotine stimulate sweat production through their stimulating effect.

Why Does Body Odor Change?

  1. Changes in diet change body odor: we evaporate what we eat. Today to the delicious Indian restaurant, tomorrow you (and others) will smell yesterday’s variety of spices. This also applies when we start a special diet: Your body odour will probably also change if you suddenly switch from high carb to low carb.
  2. Illnesses affect body odor: Metabolic diseases or other diseases can affect body odour.
  3. Hormonal changes impact our vapours: Especially adolescents in puberty (including women in menopause) are affected by this change. Because then a specific type of sweat gland changes in the body: the so-called apocrine sweat glands. They are responsible for our sexual ‘primordial fragrance’. You decide whether a partner finds us attractive, i.e. can “smell us good” or not. 

What Causes Body Odour Anyway?

  • Sweat is the primary source of body odour: But it is essential because we use it to regulate our body temperature and remove toxins. 
  • Bacteria and sweat are not a good combination: although 99 percent water and 0.5 percent salt, the remaining 0.5 percent in sweat makes life difficult. These contain urea, amino acids, lactic acid, protein, fat and sugar, which in turn are broken down by the millions of bacteria on our skin, which is the cause of body odour: the better the conditions (moisture) for the bacteria to multiply, the more aroma.
  • Personal hygiene is the basis against body odour: If you only shower every few weeks, you shouldn’t be surprised if body odour takes over.

Body odor can be avoided. If not, it is due to poor hygiene or an illness. Therefore: Be vigilant about your body odours!


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