Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Last Updated: Jul 08, 2023

Body Odour - How It Indicates Your Health?

Profile Image
Dr. D ManoharanDermatologist • 28 Years Exp.MBBS, MD - Dermatology
Topic Image

Everyone is familiar with the causes of body odor from sweat. Sweat itself does not have any odor; it is when it interacts with bacteria (underarm pits or groins), the sweat gives out a body odor. Although body odor brings a downslide during social interactions, the sources of body odor can be more serious than a person might consider and may not go away with regular baths or by applying deodorants. The article discusses a few sources of body odor other than sweat.

The Fish Odour Syndrome

Trimethylaminuria (TMAU) is a common body odor disease due to a genetic disorder. It is also commonly known as the fish odor syndrome and might be inherited in nature. The rare metabolic disorder does not allow the production of Flavin-containing Monooxygenase 3 (FMO3), an enzyme which generally converts trimethylamine (TMA) into trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) by the process of N-oxidation. This results in building up of TMA, which releases a fish odor smell through sweat and mouth. TMAU can be treated naturally in the following ways –

  1. Keeping distance from foods, which have choline, carnitine, nitrogen and sulphur. For example, salt-water fish, eggs, etc.
  2. Reducing the doses of antibiotics taken.
  3. A medical study also suggested that in 85% of the cases, taking in charcoal or copper chlorophyllin helped to reduce the body odor.

There is also secondary trimethylaminuria (TMAU2), a type of TMAU where it is not hereditary.

Rotten Apple Smell

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a diabetic disease when untreated. When the body is not able to compose enough insulin, there is a metabolic disorder which makes the body burn or break down excess fat for fuel. This causes the person to exhale breath with a sweet but disgusting aroma similar to the smell of rotten or decomposing apples. This is the reason why doctors, specializing in body odor, ask the patients to go for a urine or blood test, to determine whether the patient has diabetesTreating diabetic ketoacidosis is same as managing teeth disorder –

  1. Brushing teeth regularly and flossing daily.
  2. Drinking plenty of water to keep the mouth moist.
  3. Following all the medical prescriptions to regulate the sugar level of the body as given by the doctor.

Stress Disorders

It is also reported by medical clinics that body odor can result from emotional stress disorders causing excessive perspiration. It is common among teenagers who are in the phase of developing hormones.


A man or woman who is looking completely healthy and fit from the outside can too have body odor disorders. This will affect their social relationships, and so it is always better to seek advice from the specialists so that effective actions can be undertaken as soon as possible. A doctor can prescribe appropriate medication and advise some natural measures to restrain the problem. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.


Ask a free question

Get FREE multiple opinions from Doctors

posted anonymously



Book appointment with top doctors for Sweating treatment

View fees, clinc timings and reviews

Treatment Enquiry

Get treatment cost, find best hospital/clinics and know other details