Categorized | Lactose in the News

5 body odors you should never ignore — Fox News

Whether you’ve just completed a grueling exercise or chowed down on an onion-packed burger, chances are, at one time or another, you have been that guy who stunk up the room. In most cases, a simple bath, swipe of deodorant, or line of minty-fresh toothpaste could remedy the situation. But in other cases, it’s not so simple.

That’s because your body odor can actually speak volumes about your health. In fact , some diseases can in fact produce a unique, distinguished odor, according to a recent Swedish study.

So which funky fumes should you take note of? Here are 5 common body odors that might signal a serious problem—and what you should do if the stench arises.


Credit a complication of diabetes called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which occurs when your body runs lower on insulin and your blood sugar spikes, says Robert Gabbay, M. D., Ph. D., chief medical officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. People with type 1 diabetes generally experience it more than individuals with type 2 diabetes do.

Here’s what’s happening: The body can’t create the energy it needs to operate properly, so it begins to break down essential fatty acids for fuel. This creates a build up of acidic chemicals called ketones in your blood. One of the main acids—acetone (the same component found in nail shine remover)—can leave a fruity odor on your breath, Dr . Gabbay states. You might not notice it until somebody else mentions it, but doctors may smell it on you as soon as you walk into a room.

The effects of DKA can be serious—even deadly. It can cause you to vomit and urinate frequently, causing your body to lose fluids at a harmful rate, he says.

DKA generally occurs with other symptoms of diabetes, like fatigue, blurred vision, and unexplained weight loss, but in many situations, people don’t put them all together, which delays diagnosis and treatment. If you notice the fruity odor on your breathing along with any of those symptoms—especially if they happen to be accompanied by fatigue, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, or abdominal pain, visit the emergency room as soon as possible, the American Diabetes Association recommends.

After your doctor tests your blood with regard to ketones, he or she will work on replacing lost fluids and getting your sugars levels back to normal with insulin treatment.


Can’t seem to fight funky tennis shoes? A fungal infection may be to blame. If you notice dry, scaly skin about your toes, redness, and blisters, you may have athlete’s foot, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

Your feet might also emit a foul odor, caused by a combination of bacteria and fungus eroding into your skin plus toe webs, says Cameron Rokhsar, M. D., associate clinical teacher of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. And if a person scratch your feet and then touch another part of your body, you can spread the fungus to other areas of your body, like your groin or armpit. That can possibly cause an odor to form within those areas, too.

Plus, if you ignore athlete’s feet, the skin in between your toe webs becomes excessively soft and moist, making it an entry point for bacteria, says Dr . Rokhsar. You can create more complicated conditions like cellulitis, a bacterial infection of your skin’s soft tissues.

So if you’re suffering from symptoms, try an over-the-counter antifungal spray like Lotrimin or Tinactin. If the problem is constantly on the persist after two weeks, your doctor can take a closer look and prescribe a more targeted treatment, suggests the particular APMA.

Since athlete’s foot is just one of the nasty pores and skin conditions you can pick up at the gym, shield yourself from picking it up again by wearing shoes in the locker room. Because fungi tend to thrive in moist environments, try using a talcum to keep your feet dry if they often get sweaty.


When your small intestine doesn’t create enough of an enzyme called lactase, it can’t digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, says Ryan Ungaro, M. D., assistant teacher of gastroenterology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

So your small intestine directs lactose directly to your colon—instead of your bloodstream—where your gut bacteria ferment this. This can cause loose, foul-smelling stool, bloating, and smelly gas, Dr . Ungaro says.

Lactose intolerance is fairly common: In fact , an estimated sixty-five percent of people have trouble processing dairy, according to the National Institutes associated with Health. But the reaction—including painful stomach cramping, feeling sick, diarrhea, and vomiting, as well as smelly farts and poop— can vary from person to person, says Men’s Health nutrition advisor Alan Aragon, M. S.

For most people, though, it only takes 12 grams of lactose—about 8 ounces of milk or a cup of ice cream—to set off unsettling symptoms, he says.

So if your own gas or poop smells especially pungent after you down some milk, you might want to check in with your doctor, states Dr . Ungaro. (If you’re passing wind more than usual, rule out these five other reasons you could be gassy first. )

He or she can diagnose the issue, or even rule out more concerning intestinal issues, like Crohn’s disease, as a culprit behind the stench. After that, your doctor can help you determine how much lactose you can take in per day without causing a problem. (You can also pop the Lactaid pill, which contains the lactase enzyme and allows you to digest dairy within 45 minutes, if you just must have a sundae, Aragon says. )


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can produce pungent, almost chemical-smelling urine, states Jamin Brahmbhatt, M. D., a urologist at Orlando Health. This happens after bacteria, most commonly E. coli, enters your urinary tract and urethra. Then, they multiply inside your bladder, causing an infection.

UTIs are more frequent in women than men because their urethra—the channel that drains the bladder—is shorter. So men often ignore their smelly pee, since they body they’re not at risk of one.

Not so: “Usually, men get infections if there’s something not really allowing their bladder to drain” Dr . Brahmbhatt explains.

This means your UTI could be signaling a bigger problem, like kidney stones, diabetes, or an enlarged prostate gland, which can require surgery to treat, he says. So if you notice your pee scents funky, check in with your doctor, who will test your urine to see what’s up.


If your morning breathing is consistently ripe—even if you brush your teeth regularly—you could be dealing with undiagnosed sleep apnea, a disorder that causes your inhaling and exhaling to sporadically stop and start even while you sleep.

Sleep apnea can lead to extreme snoring, causing you to breathe through your mouth area throughout the night. This can make your mouth very dry, which is a common cause of bad breath, says Raj Dasgupta, Mirielle. D., assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of The southern part of California.

This allows germs to breed more readily—and whenever certain kinds multiply, they produce a sulfurous gas that can give your breath a rotten egg smell.

If you’ve ruled out other causes of bad breath, but still wake up with a smelly mouth and you suffer from daytime sleepiness and snoring, schedule an appointment with your doctor. It’s vital sleep apnea gets identified quickly: The sleeping condition continues to be strongly associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, so treating it sooner than later can spare you of its long-term health effects, Dr . Dasgupta says.

Once you are diagnosed, your sleep doctor can recommend a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP), a mask that sits over your nose and mouth helps that helps keep your airways open while you snooze.

This article originally appeared on MensHealth. com.

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