Body Odors That Warrant A Doctor’s Visit

November 27, 2017  |  
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Businesswoman with unpleasant smell

The human body is a funny thing that goes through thousands of processes every day. Between digesting your food, regulating your temperature, and dealing with your ever-fluctuating hormones, your body has a lot of work to do and while it’s doing that work, it can create some odd sounds, sensations, and smells. Most of them are nothing to worry about. You’re bound to be a little stinky after a workout or during that special time of the month. Your private parts aren’t supposed to smell like flowers. And your breath can do all kinds of things. Body odors are nothing to be embarrassed of, but you should familiarize yourself with the normal smells your body creates. They give you some insight into your health. These body odors warrant a trip to the doctor.

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Stinky stool

This one seems a bit counterintuitive: of course, stool smells bad. It’s waste product, after all. But you know the difference between regularly smelly poop and particularly pungent droppings.

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Stinky stool can mean lactose intolerance

If you’re lactose intolerant (with most of the population is to some degree) then your small intestine cannot break down lactase, a sugar found in dairy products. So it sends it to your colon, where it ferments and creates a particularly foul odor in your stool.

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Sweet breath

Sweet breath doesn’t really sound like a problem at first. Don’t you spend a lot of money on gum and mouthwash to make your breath smell like pineapples and peppermint? Sure, but if your breath smells sweet all on its own, something can be up.

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Sweet breath can mean diabetes

When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, it struggles to turn sugar into energy and starts breaking down fatty acids instead. This creates a buildup of acetone, a sweet-smelling acid in your body that can make your breath smell sweet.

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Nasty morning breath

Okay look: nobody’s breath smells like roses in the morning. It’s normal to run a toothbrush through your mouth before kissing your partner in the AM. But if your morning breath is so bad that you can barely tolerate the taste of your mouth, something could be wrong.

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Nasty morning breath can mean sleep apnea

You might be thinking, “I don’t have sleep apnea—I don’t snore!” But how can you know that if you sleep alone? Or, if your partner has some really great earplugs? If you have sleep apnea, then you keep your mouth open throughout the night, welcoming bacteria in. This can lead to some really nasty morning breath.

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Smelly feet

Feet don’t typically smell amazing, especially if you keep them cramped up in socks and boots all day, or you have intense workouts each day. But typically, foot odor should go away after you’ve cleaned your feet or let them breathe for a while.

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Smelly feet can mean athlete’s foot

If your foot odor just won’t go away, that could be a sign of athlete’s foot, a nasty fungal infection. Other indicators include dry, flaky skin, inflammation, and blisters. It’s important to treat athlete’s foot because when left untreated, it causes the skin between your toes to soften and welcomes in more bacteria.

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Pungent pee

Pee, like stool, is another thing our bodies create that we don’t expect to smell good. If you’ve held your bladder for a while or are dehydrated, your pee can create a bit of an aroma. But if the smell is especially strong, you may need to visit your OBGYN.

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Pungent pee can mean a UTI

UTIs occur when bacteria gets into your urinary tract. Once there, it multiplies, and can create some nasty-smelling pee. It’s important to treat UTIs as soon as possible because an untreated UTI can cause kidney damage.

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Pungent pee, part II

While you probably don’t make a habit of smelling your partner’s urine, if you notice it stinking up the bathroom more than usual, you should send your man to the doctor ASAP—even quicker than you would go to the doctor for your own bad-smelling pee.

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Pungent pee can be very serious in men

UTIs aren’t very common in men. When your partner’s pee smells, this can be an indicator of something much more serious, like an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or diabetes. Those are issues that need to be addressed immediately.

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Smelly blood

I’m actually not talking about period blood. I’m talking about blood from a wound. If you notice a foul aroma coming from the site of a wound, that’s not something you should ignore.

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Smelly blood can mean an infection

If your wound smells bad then it can be infected. You should see a doctor immediately if you suspect you have an infected wound because these can become serious quickly.

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Fishy sweat

Your sweat shouldn’t smell fishy. It won’t smell great, but is shouldn’t smell fishy. If your sweat is so pungent that you’re embarrassed to be around other people, see a doctor.

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Fishy sweat can mean this rare condition

Particularly fishy sweat can be a sign of a condition called Trimethylaminuria. This is a metabolic disorder that occurs when your body cannot break down various nitrogen-containing compounds. Trimethylamine won’t lead to any other health issues, but it can make a person very self-conscious. So if you suspect you have it, get tested for it so you and your doctor can come up with a plan to address the issue.

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