Top 5 diseases that make you “smell bad”.

Verified on 05/30/2022 by Guillaume Tabbara, Journalist


Some pathologies have the strange consequence of giving off a foul smell. Here is a list of 5 diseases that can make you “smell bad”.

But then how can diseases affect our body odor? Many pathologies are the cause of a deficiency or accumulation of hormones, enzymes, gases, etc.

Some of them then have to be released from the body, these discharges are most commonly characterized by exhalation, urine or perspiration. Bad smells can then escape.

Rotten Fish Smell Syndrome

Its medical name is trimethylaminuria, but it’s more commonly referred to as “rotten fish odor syndrome.” This genetic disease, as the name suggests, is a pathology that produces a strong body odor of spoiled fish.

This is explained by the lack of an enzyme that allows the metabolism of a gas: trimethylamine, which gives the disease its name. Because it is no longer metabolized by the body, trymethylamine evaporates through sweat and urine, and this gas gives off an unpleasant odor.

It is also the source of the strong smell of herring. There is no treatment today, but many habits make it possible to limit the smells, which can become a real daily complex for people with the disease.

It is therefore advisable to maintain a diet low in molecules that synthesize trimethylamine: choline and lecithin. Then avoid: eggs, liver, kidneys, peas, beans, soy…

yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. It mainly affects travelers in the most exposed countries, i.e. in certain regions of Africa, South and Central America or the Caribbean.

A preventive vaccination helps to curb yellow fever. Some patients may not have any symptoms, but fever, muscle pain in the back, and nausea are more commonly seen.

To National GeographicYellow fever would give the skin an odor that could be compared to that of a butcher’s shop.

Diabetic ketoacidosis


In people with diabetes, when there is a severe lack of insulin, the body is forced to use fat as an energy source.

Ketone bodies are formed when these fatty substances are broken down. Their accumulation is called acetone crisis or ketoacidosis. The blood is then more acidic and the ketone bodies exceed the amount that can be naturally excreted by the body.

Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, recurring urges to urinate are then observed… as well as a very peculiar breath, resembling the smell of rotten fruit or an apple.

typhoid fever

Typhoid is the result of a bacterial infection. The bacterium in question is Salmonella typhimost commonly transmitted through food and consumption of vegetables or seafood made from contaminated plants.

This bacterium was at the origin of the recent scandal friendlier, Salmonella typhi discovered in factories Ferrero. Typhoid is highly contagious and can be serious, even fatal, if treated too late.

It is characterized by releasing a smell of baked bread. Admittedly, we’re not talking about the most unpleasant smell here, but the disease itself is very serious.

The cacosmia


This time, you won’t be able to smell anything in front of a person with cacosmia. Conversely, the latter are bothered by unpleasant smells.

Cacosmia is an olfactory disorder defined by the perception of unpleasant or malodorous odors without such odors being present in the patient’s external environment and without a dysfunction of his olfactory system.

There are two types of cacosmia: objective cacosmia (the smell is real) and subjective cacosmia (the smell is imaginary).

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