Everyone has occasional body odor or halitosis. This is an awkward situation, but easy to fix. But if it persists, it is a signal of illness.
How to distinguish norm from pathology
Various pathologies alter the balance of chemicals in the body. They can cause small or significant changes in the smell of breath, urine, and other body fluids. As a rule, the sense of smell is not sensitive enough to catch all the changes.
But special devices and dogs can do it. Researchers have developed prototypes of “electronic noses” that can capture early odor changes caused by cancer and pneumonia. Dogs, with their sensitive sense of smell, are sometimes able to detect changes in a person’s odor that indicate cancer.
But if the smell has changed a lot, you yourself will feel it – you need to figure out what the reason is, undergo an examination and consult a doctor.
1-Strong, disgusting odor like rotting debris from the vagina
Unbelievable, but true: one of the most common reasons is a forgotten tampon or thread in the vagina. After 24-48 hours, the woman will notice a very pungent odor caused by the multiplication of bacteria.
- Feeling of pressure;
- general discomfort.
As soon as the patients cannot find the thread, they are afraid to take out the tampon, then the doctor’s help is needed. Regardless of whether the woman removes the tampon on her own, it is necessary to consult a doctor because there is a chance of infection (if it has been there for a long time). In this case, the specialist will prescribe suppositories or antibiotic cream.
2-Vaginal discharge with a pasty, yeast-like odor similar to bread dough
The cause is a vaginal yeast infection caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. The fungus normally lives in the vagina, but its growth is usually inhibited by acid produced by other bacteria living in the vagina – lactobacilli.
When the balance is imbalanced – often due to antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, or immune system disorders – a yeast infection can occur. Given that yeast grows best in warm, humid environments, infection can occur if a woman wears tight, damp clothing, such as a bathing suit, for an extended period.
- Thick white discharge
- feeling of severe itching;
- severe pain due to inflammation of the tissues of the vagina.
Possible treatment: Antifungal topical medications. If symptoms worsen or do not improve within three days, see your doctor. A stronger prescription cream or even oral antifungal medications may be needed.
Another reason is a bacterial infection. It is better to see a doctor to clarify the cause of the problem and eliminate it quickly and without consequences. Discover more odors and symptoms on the next page.
3- Strong unpleasant or fishy odor from the vagina
It occurs due to bacterial vaginosis, which develops when the “good” bacteria (lactobacilli) do not outnumber the “bad” bacteria in the vagina. The smell is most noticeable after sex, during, or immediately after your period. Semen and menstrual blood have a high pH (they are acidic).
This acidity causes bacteria to release amines, organic compounds that cause unpleasant odors.
- White or gray discharge;
- itching and burning.
It is best to have a vaginal smear taken to confirm the diagnosis. The standard therapy is an oral antibiotic.
4-The Acrid smell of urine when emptying the bladder
A urinary tract infection (UTI) in the kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra is to blame. Other factors, such as vitamins, medications, and food, can also change the smell of urine. But this usually only lasts once or twice after using the toilet. If a person takes vitamins or medications on a daily basis, the effects may last longer.
- urge to use the toilet;
- dripping urine;
- cloudy or bloody urine.
If nausea, back pain, or fever develops, it could be a kidney infection. The doctor will inoculate the urine, identify pathogenic microbes, and prescribe an antibiotic.
How to help you feel better and prevent future relapses
- To drink a lot of water. This helps to flush bacteria out of the urinary system.
- Take cranberry juice. There is some evidence that it prevents (but does not cure!) UTIs.
- Do not delay urination. Regular bladder emptying removes bacteria from the urethra.
- Always wipe the genitals from front to back to avoid getting fecal bacteria into the urinary tract. Discover more odors and symptoms on the next page.
5-Sweet or fruity urine smell
If a woman notices such a smell, it may be due to the presence of glucose in the urine. Diabetes may be the culprit. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose (sugar) in foods for energy. When the body does not produce insulin, as in type 1 diabetes, or does not use it well, as in type 2 diabetes, the disease can develop.
Left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, and stroke.
For every 100 pregnant women, three to eight develop gestational diabetes, which lasts throughout pregnancy. If left untreated, it can harm both the mother and the fetus.
- Intense thirst;
- Frequent urge to urinate;
- frequent infections, including urinary tract infections and thrush;
- poor circulation, including numbness in the legs and arms;
- wounds that won’t heal;
- visual impairment.
Before starting treatment, it is necessary to confirm the diagnosis by passing a series of tests
- Fasting plasma glucose, in which blood sugar concentration is measured after eight hours of fasting.
- An oral glucose tolerance test, during which a person drinks a glucose-containing beverage after an eight-hour fast. After two hours, the blood glucose level is measured.
- For treatment, insulin injections or antidiabetic drugs may be prescribed. The disease can be managed through diet, physical activity. Discover more odors and symptoms on the next page.
6-Breathing smells unpleasant as if you haven’t brushed your teeth
This could be a sign of sinusitis, an inflammation of the tissues in the sinuses – these are voids in the bones that connect to the nose. The inflammation can be caused by a bacterial, viral infection, or allergy. Breathing smells bad because infected mucus from the sinuses reaches the back of the throat.
- severe nasal congestion;
- sinus pressure;
- decreased sense of smell;
- postnasal flow syndrome;
- thick greenish nasal discharge;
- slight fever;
- pain in the ear, tooth, or jaw from pressure caused by inflamed sinuses.
Sinusitis sometimes goes away without treatment. If symptoms do not improve or worsen after a few days, see your doctor. A doctor is also needed immediately if there is swelling around the eyes or forehead, severe headache, a stiff neck, vision changes, or shortness of breath.
A specialist can examine the nasal passages and take a culture. If it is a bacterial infection, oral antibiotics will be given. Discover more odors and symptoms on the next page.
7-When you take off your shoes, the smell is so strong that it fills the room.
It is caused by apocrine bromhidrosis – excessive sweating. The sweat on the feet does not smell on its own. But it creates a humid environment – the perfect place for bacteria and fungi to grow. Organisms cause odor, a metabolic byproduct of the activity of bacteria and fungi living on the feet.
- itching that starts between the toes and spreads is a sign of a fungal infection, peeling or irritation of the skin.
You need to start with over-the-counter medications: use deodorant foot powder or regular underarm antiperspirant to stop sweating. Don’t use corn starch or regular starch. It actually provides food for bacteria and fungi.
How to deal with the odor
- Spray on shoes and feet to eliminate sweating.
- Anti-odor activated carbon insoles.
- Refusal to wear one shoe every day; you need to let it dry.
- Choice of shoes with breathable leather or fabric upper.
- Cotton socks whenever possible they allow the feet to breathe better than synthetic fabrics.
If these steps don’t work, you need to see your doctor who may prescribe stronger antifungal medications. He may do tests to find out if there is another cause of excessive sweating. For example, an overactive thyroid gland can cause sweating of the palms and feet.
If your feet are chronically sweating, your doctor may try medication to deal with it. For example, Botox injections block the release of a chemical in the nervous system that activates the sweat glands. Iontophoresis, in which water is used as a conductor for a small electric current, also blocks the production of sweat.
If you are diabetic, be sure to visit your doctor at the first sign of an unpleasant odor. Fungal and bacterial infections of the feet progress quickly and become dangerous. Discover more odors and symptoms on the next page.
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