Chronic Disease Support/Management/foul smell


QUESTION: From last one year or so, there have been incidents where sometimes my friends complained about strange bad smell coming around me. I have also heard other people or strangers near me talking this, also in public places or travel. Many times there are people around me closing nose or coughing unusually as if reactions to some bad odor. Once went to a professor's cabin and he was saying that is anything burning around that smell is coming. However very few have directly said this to me although in a casual way. But these experiences taking place frequently are causing me trouble because I am very clean and hygienic person and never smoke, take tobacco, alcohol, and non-veg food.
The other thing is that when i ask my relatives or doctor they say they smell nothing. I even got checked with dentist and there is no problem. One doctor also found stomach to be normal. This makes me confused. The difficulty is that it's hard for me to know or understand if it is actually there or not. How to know this is the problem, its difficult to ask as i feel shy and may be difficult to get true answer properly from anyone. How do i ask someone about this to get to know the reality? Its creating difficulty in social interactions.

Again if the smell is there, what may be the possible causes and how to manage or deal with it?
Thanks. (m,21)

ANSWER: Dear Sir,

I am not an expert with this, but I can share what information I have heard. Also please remember I am not a healthcare professional so I cannot give medical advice.

1. People's abilities to distinguish smells are not the same. I believe I heard that generally females tend to be better able to pick up smells/ they seem to be more sensitive to smells. Pregnant females in particular seem particularly attuned to smells. It seems like age diminishes the ability to smell things. Therefore, it is possible that some people could smell something foul and other people not while everyone is still right in the sense that they are able to distinguish it or not. Another note about smell is that we tend to have associations with smell pleasant or unpleasant memories, but also it seems like we tend to compare x smells like y.

2. Did the doctor do blood work? I always recommend seeing a healthcare professional whenever possible and also getting lab work done. In my reading I have seen that strange body odor smells can sometimes be associated with medical issues kidney or liver problems, diabetes, etc. so it is worth getting it throughly checked out.
Reference: (see also for other odor causes)

3. If your doctor already did that it might be useful to look at diet. There are articles that say that certain foods can cause problems. If I understand correctly you are vegetarian or vegan. If you are eating too little carbohydrates, too much carbohydrates, processed food, fish, and/or certain vegetables (ie - cruciferous vegetables - Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower).

4. Certain supplements could help with counteracting the chemical processes causing the smell.
Reference: (see also for other odor causes)

* Home remedies for dealing with body odor:

* People posted in a forum saying they also have experienced a burnt smell - possible causes, feeling less alone, possible ways to treat the situation:

I included all the articles/websites I found they might be worthwhile to look at.

I hope this helps some. Sorry I do not know more.

Best wishes!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your reply.  i understand that you have experience with chronic conditions.
sorry if this is written little long.
This problem of strange bad smell is really troubling me a lot. I looked out for general things like cleanliness, diet, clothes, etc but i cannot find any obvious reason. I had done blood and urine test earlier recently for something else but it was mostly normal. I am unable to understand what's really causing it and how to solve it at all. I was with little shy personality but knowing this makes any social interaction increasingly difficult.
 I never had such odor issue at all till before one and half year or so. And as such there was no such change in diet or something. But since last year i have been facing this experience in direct or indirect way. This makes me embarrassed. Inability and difficulty to explain this or ask about this to anyone adds to the trouble.
I generally manage somehow doing my routine work, sometimes without focus or much interest, but i am never able to be joyful ever due to this. There is no physical pain but this problem seems like some incurable or chronic unknown disease or condition.
There is also another problem I am facing since more than 5 years. I once went to swimming and i got ear infection. There was some medical treatment and minor operation to remove fluid from ears then the infection went away after some months. But since around that time, strange popping sound keeps coming in my ears mainly while swallowing (it's there even when i don't have cold), and also there is some strange clicking when i sometimes stretch jaw. There's no pain but it was very irritating. Doctor said he found ears to be normal. Although i may not be only one getting such sounds, but it was not there ever before and i liked it that way better even if this is normal. But i had recently started accepting to be ok with this, and new problem of odor started which is worse. I also have some difficulty in breathing.
It seems that medical science does't have any exact cure for such problems.
Although i have always been physically little weak, but before these things happened, i was quite normal and happy with life. Now hope of again getting normal and joyful is diminishing, although i somehow try to manage the things.
Thank you.

Dear Sir,

When you said popping sounds tied to swallowing and clicking when stretching the jaw, the first thing I thought of was TMJ Disorders. It has to do with the jaw. Though if you do not have pain that is great since often TMJ Disorders have pain & depending on the suspected cause they might not have great treatment options. You could see a dentist to get their opinion since the teeth & jaw have so much to do with each other the dentist could also recommend another specialist if you need additional tests or consultation. Perhaps having the ear infection made you susceptible to developing the other issue. There is information online about managing the symptoms and minimizing the popping and clicking. It might even be helpful if that is not the issue. However, it could be useful to see a doctor to make sure it is not anything serious. I know you saw an ear doctor which is great and you know it is not that but maybe a dentist or jaw/joint specialist could give you some help. For some TMJ information:

There can be changes within the body due to things that we do not realize or connect that could be contributing to the odor. Perhaps you initially were fine with your diet but its effects have accumulated over time so now it is causing an odor whereas before it was not. Also if we eat something say a carrot we tend to think we are eating a carrot we might think about the nutritional value but sometimes people do not consider what else is at play the soil it grew in and especially how it was grown what it was treated with. Perhaps it is not what you eat but how it was grown. I do not know that allergies are associated with odors but sometimes people develop them all the sudden perhaps the cause of the odor is something unexpected because you have always done it.

I am still unclear about the details of your diet & routine. Also people have different interpretations of things so what you mean by something may not come across clearly especially without more detailed. Due to these issues I feel limited in what I can mention to help you.

Has anything helped to mask or change the scent? Sometimes smells complement each other sometimes two ok smells form something awful. I just wonder if your soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, deodorant, cologne, etc could be helping to improve the situation or making it worse. I want to be more specific but I am uncertain about some of the details specific to your situation.

On a related note, it sounds like the odor is contributing to some situational anxieties especially social anxieties and depression. If no one can help you YET with the odor than perhaps you can look for how to deal with the effects and symptoms. Difficulty breathing would be best checked out by a doctor. Perhaps you have allergies or asthma. Another issue could be the stress and anxieties. "Normal" sometimes I think the belief of normalcy is irrational/ unrealistic. Unrealistic expectations tend to lead to more stress, anxiety, depression, etc. May be interesting to read about REBT which has to do with identifying unrealistic beliefs and changing them thus leading to more contentment and happiness What can you ultimately control? Sounds like you have seen a couple specialists and tried to do some of your own research. I would never tell someone to stop hoping and looking. However, until you find the answers you seek, it might help to change your thinking because you can totally control that whereas it seems like attempts to get rid of the odor and sound have not yet been successful. I know this is not exactly what you were asking about and it may come off harsh, but I do not intend it that way. I love feeling more in control and with chronic conditions having that control back is a great feeling.

Best wishes!

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Dealing with and managing food intolerances, Celiac's, allergies, digestive problems, IBs, pain, headaches, TMJ, fibromyalgia, thyroid problems, blood sugar problems, hypoglycemia, auto-immune disease.


Living with chronic health problems.

I do not have a degree in a health field. I have read a lot and I have first hand experience with some conditions.

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