What is that smell? No. No way. It can’t be that woman can it? Does she smell like poop? My gosh. Her body can’t possibly be producing that awful stench. Or can it? That’s body odor?
No topic if off limits here as I have covered some pretty sensitive ones. I mean, if you can’t talk about odors “down under” then why talk at all?
I joke. But in all seriousness, body odor is a very sensitive topic and one that people do not discuss nearly enough. I covered some of the basics about body odor in my post titled Get Rid Of Armpit Odor For Good. But let’s take it a step further today and look at the type of body odor that goes beyond “stinky pits” and moves into the territory of unbearable and constant. The one where you smell like poop.
Smelling like poo, urine, vomit, rotting flesh, sewage, garbage, rotting egg, burnt rubber, fish, sweaty feet, or gas obviously isn’t the norm and is something that needs to be discussed with a medical professional. Carrying this odor makes day to day living difficult for the person afflicted with it.
So why would someone smell like poop? Is body odor related to diet? Genetics? Exposure to chemicals?
Sadly, the answer is complex, not well defined, and lacking in research. This is due in part to the fact that not all medical professionals can “smell” the offending body odor which of course makes it tough to diagnose and treat. (Did you know that not everyone can smell the same things? That’s genetics at work. Plus I swear medical professionals become immune to odd odors like when someone has a smell like poop.)
Anyhoo – if you suffer from an unusual smell that isn’t just a case of heightened body odor, then you likely have what has been termed Metabolic Body Odor.
This basically happens when one or more of our internal cell enzymes isn’t working properly. The enzyme is unable to complete its metabolic process of oxidizing the odorous substrate to its non-odorous state. Because of this, there is a significant amount of odorous unmetabolized volatile organic compound (VOC) that builds up in the body.
This doesn’t sound good does it? Well, it isn’t really. You don’t want much of anything building up inside your body period.
There are all kinds of names given to this condition of Metabolic Body Odor but regardless of the name, these metabolic conditions are the result of genetic faults, which causes a deficiency in one or more cell enzymes. The main enzyme affecting this condition seems to be the group of xenobiotic metabolic enzymes.
What goes wrong in the body when these enzymes aren’t working properly?
As I said, you get a build up of VOCs in the blood. Sometimes, this can be compounded by or even initiated by increased microbial overgrowth in the gut that produces an excess amount of VOCs, which enzymes are not able to oxidize. The VOCs eventually have to come out and a person with this disorder will release them through the skin’s perspiration and oils, saliva, mucous, urine, any other body fluids that produce a very embarrassing and socially disruptive odor.
So why do you smell like poop specifically?
While there are four recognized Metabolic Body Odor Disorders with fancy names (Trimethylaminuria, Dimethylglycinuria, Isovaleric Acidemia, and Hypermethioninemia) Fecal Body Odor as it has been coined, doesn’t fall neatly within one specific category.
People who have been diagnosed with Primary and Secondary Trimethylaminuria often carry this odor of poop with them but by no means are they the only carriers. People with other metabolic disorders might have a poop smell while some people with fairly normal enzyme functions might also smell like poop. While Fecal Body Odor is by far the most common type of metabolic body odor problem mentioned on body odor forums, it really is an unresearched medical phenomenon. There is no hard and firm genetic goof up that causes this nor can a specific enzyme be isolated as the cause (although the FMO3 enzyme has been singled out as a possible culprit).
Are there any “common” reasons why you smell like poop?
Possibly yes. Diet might play a role. Poor diet, especially one that is low in fiber, can result in hard stools or constipation. Your colon is your body’s sewage system, and therefore maintaining its efficiency is critical to your health. Ineffective and infrequent waste disposal can lead to a build up of fecal matter along your colon walls. In time, the feces will decay and release toxins back into your bloodstream. As referred earlier, this toxic backup can cause you to smell like poop.
A vitamin and/or mineral deficiency may be to blame. Specifically, magnesium. Magnesium may be the most overlooked mineral in our diets, which is unfortunate because the more scientists learn about this powerhouse vitamin, the more they discover how integral it is for everything from energy to memory. It can even help eliminate excess body odor, as originally discovered by Dr. Pierre Delbet way back in 1928. Reporting his own observations he writes, “In a few days, if [the patients’] diets contain nothing particularly toxic, [the magnesium supplement] deodorizes them.”
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut, Ulcerative Colitis, and Chron’s Disease might play a role in fecal body odor. This is because the intestines’ filtration process is hampered, allowing bacteria, unprocessed proteins and fats, as well as toxins to be released back into the bloodstream.
The term Fecal Body Odor is often misleading.
Medical professionals use it to describe an odor that mimics more than just poop. It can also refer to the odor of gas, rotten egg, garbage, sewage, or rotten fish. To me, there is a huge difference between these offending odors and it is unfortunate that they all get lumped into the “fecal” category.
Enter Timethylaminuria (TMAU)
TMAU is a rare metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to process the compound trimethylamine. The compound can be found in choline-rich food such as milk, eggs, liver and peanuts, and gives off a rotten “fish odor” that can be detected through your breath, urine and sweat. However, in some instances the odor can be similar to the smell of feces. People who suffer from fecal body odor may opt to test for TMAU.
As of right now, there is no “cure” for Metabolic Body Odor or Fecal Body Odor specifically although based on my knowledge of the body systems and the gut, I would say a heavy duty probiotic designed for intensive recolonization is in order. Digestive enzymes could possibly be helpful as well. It also stands to reason that a ‘clean’ diet, free of processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats would be beneficial in more ways than one. Learning more about body imbalances through Hair, Mineral, Tissue Analysis could prove helpful as well.
I wish that I had more concrete information about Fecal Body Odor but sadly, there just isn’t a lot out there. If you have had personal experience with this, I welcome any wisdom you can share.
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