Strong Body Odor: When It Is A Signal To See Your Doctor

Date March 20, 2018

Do you know why people have body odor? It's quite simple: body odor results from the interaction between sweat and bacteria that live on the skin. In most cases, body odor can be successfully managed with proper hygiene, but under certain circumstances, body odor can become stronger or just different. It's rarely a cause for concern, but sometimes, changes in body odor may be a sign of a health issue.

Below we list a few possible reasons why some people may have a stronger or unusual body odor.

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When you are under stress, your apocrine glands go into overdrive, which can make your body odor stronger. You may try stress-reduction techniques to get rid of this and other problems that stress causes and try using a prescription-strength antiperspirant if regular ones aren't effective enough.


If someone drinks so much that their liver can't handle it, the excess can leave their body with sweat.


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People with diabetes may have a fruity breath. They may also have body odor that can be more or less strong and may smell slightly like rotten apples.

Overactive thyroid

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can lead to an increased perspiration, which may lead to stronger body odor. If you suspect this is the case, share your concerns with your doctor.


Hyperhidrosis is a medical term for excessive sweating. Sweating more can go hand in hand with a stronger body odor. Hyperhidrosis can be primary (has no known cause, but likely runs in families) and secondary (results from a medical condition or use of certain medicines).


Some people have a stronger body odor when the aren't drinking enough water.


People with tuberculosis may produce sweat that smells like rotten or moldy hay or like beer.


Trimethylaminuria (TMAU) is a rare metabolic disorder which is also called "fish odor syndrome"; about 1 in 200,000 people have it. Those affected may produce body odor that smells like rotten fish or garbage.

Liver or kidney disease

Liver and kidneys are organs that help your body get rid of waste. When one of this organs isn't functioning well, toxins can accumulate in the body and produce an unpleasant odor.

Source: Prevention, CNN, LiveStrong

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.