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Q: HEALTH-UN COMFORTABLE-BODY ODOUR ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Category: Health > Men's Health
Asked by: suresh_subramanian-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 05 Apr 2003 10:27 PST
Expires: 05 May 2003 11:27 PDT
Question ID: 186462
For the past few years it is very difficult for me to sit in the
office or bus or taxi and train. While sitting it is very I feel like
I have to go to rest room. I have already wasted $2000 for medical
expenses. I had undergone colonoscopy treatment and doctor said
nothing but still I am feeling uncomfortable in office. Also I have
Gas Trouble.Because of that I avoiding to eat. So intakes are less and
because of that my body weight is reduced. Apart from that I have body
odour. I asked the doctor but doctor said use deodarant and powder. I
am strict vegetarian, non smoker and non drinker. It is really
affecting my career. Please advice me.
Answered By: kevinmd-ga on 05 Apr 2003 20:24 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello - thanks for asking your question. 

You are concerned about body odor and problems with gas.

Let me address the issue of body odor. 

The cause depends on what the odor smells like.  Body odor can be
caused by breakdown of bacteria.  From
"Apocrine glands, on the other hand, secrete a fatty sweat directly
into the tubule of the gland. When you're under emotional stress, the
wall of the tubule contracts and the sweat is pushed to the surface of
your skin where bacteria begin breaking it down. Most often, it's the
bacterial breakdown of apocrine sweat that causes a strong odor.

A number of factors can affect how much you sweat and even the way
your sweat smells. Certain foods, drugs or medical conditions can
cause excessive sweating, whereas drugs or conditions may interfere
with your ability to perspire normally."

At times, people have body odor that smells like feces.  In this
physician-moderated question and answer forum, a physician discusses
causes and treatment for feces-smelling body odor:
"Q: Why do I have a fecal body odor?

A: There are several causes of fecal body odor. The most common cause
is constipation. When a person is constipated the walls of the colon
are generally packed or lined with accumulated feces from extended
periods of intestinal overloading. When wastes from the blood arrive
at the inner wall of the colon, the hardened feces prevent their
passage through this wall. Since blood circulates through every organ
in body, toxins in the blood contaminate the entire body. However, you
have already tried enemas without success.

Other causes may be anatomic considerations. Examples include rectal
prolapse, weakness of the anal sphincter or decreased rectal

A flexible sigmoidoscopy can be considered to inspect the distal colon
and anus. Other tests you may want to discuss with your personal
physician include an endorectal ultrasound to evaluate for structural
abnormalities or anorectal manometry to evaluate for anal sphincter

Some studies have shown that intake of vitamin K can control fecal
body odor."

You may want to try vitamin K as discussed above.  You mentioned that
you had a colonoscopy - tests for anatomic abnormalities (i.e. rectal
prolapse) may also be considered.

The next issue is excess gas and bloating.  There are many causes for

There are two primary sources of intestinal gas: gas that is ingested
(mostly swallowed air) and gas produced by bacteria that normally
reside in the colon (a process called fermentation).

People who complain about gas usually mean that they pass excessive 
amounts of gas from below or burp too frequently. Other frequent 
complaints attributed to gas are abdominal distension and crampy 
abdominal pain. Such pain may be perceived in areas that the gas may 
become trapped, such as bends in the colon, which occur naturally in 
the area under the liver (upper to mid right part of the abdomen), and
in the area under the spleen (upper to mid left part of the abdomen).

The vast majority of people who complain about gas-related symptoms do
not have excessive amounts of gas in the intestine when measured by 
sensitive testing. Such people may have increased awareness of normal
amounts of gas in the intestine. This can happen in a variety of 

Irritable bowel syndrome — One of the most common examples is a 
disorder known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Its cardinal 
symptoms are abdominal pain and altered bowel habits, but these 
symptoms have no identifiable cause. Many patients also complain of 
visible abdominal distension although they do not have increased 
amounts of gas in the intestine.  In support of this theory is the 
observation that some patients with severe IBS feel better when 
treated with medications (such as low doses of imipramine or 
nortriptyline) that decrease the sensations coming from the intestine.

Functional dyspepsia — Dyspepsia describes recurrent or persistent 
pain or discomfort that is primarily located in the upper abdomen. It
is experienced by approximately 25 percent of the population in the 
United States and other western countries.

Dyspepsia can arise from various underlying conditions. However, the 
most common type of dyspepsia seen by physicians is known 
as "functional" (or "nonulcer") dyspepsia. This refers to dyspepsia 
that occurs without an identifiable cause. People with functional 
dyspepsia tend to have increased sensitivity to distension in the 
upper intestines.

Aerophagia — Chronic, repeated belching usually results from habitual
swallowing of large amounts of air (ie, aerophagia). Aerophagia is 
typically an unconscious process occurring with anxiety. The diagnosis
is made after excluding other possible causes (such as 
gastroesophageal reflux disease). 

Foods that cause gas — As discussed above, several foods contain the 
carbohydrate raffinose, which is poorly digested and leads to gas 
production by the action of colonic bacteria. Common foods containing
raffinose include beans, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, 
broccoli, and asparagus.

Starch and soluble fiber are other forms of carbohydrates that can 
contribute to gas formation. Potatoes, corn, noodles, and wheat 
produce gas while rice does not. Soluble fiber (found in oat bran, 
peas and other legumes, beans, and most fruit) also cause gas. Some 
laxatives contain soluble fiber and may cause gas, particularly during
the first few weeks of use.

Lactose intolerance — Intolerance to lactose-containing foods 
(primarily dairy products) is a common problem.  Lactose intolerance 
is caused by an impaired ability to digest lactose, the principle 
sugar in dairy products. Clinical symptoms of lactose intolerance 
include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and flatulence after ingestion of 
milk or milk-containing products.

Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed by a lactose breath test, in 
which a measured amount of lactose in consumed, and the amount of 
hydrogen in breath samples is measured. Treatment involves avoidance 
of dairy products that contain lactose and/or supplementation with the
enzyme lactase, which is available in over-the-counter products. 
People who avoid dairy products should take calcium supplements, since
dairy products are a valuable source of calcium.

Intolerance to other sugars — In addition to lactose and raffinose, 
some individuals may be intolerant to other sugars contained in foods.
Two common examples are fructose (contained in onions, artichokes, and
pears and in some fruit drinks or soft drinks where it appears 
as "high fructose corn syrup") and sorbitol (a sugar substitute 
contained in some sugar free candies and chewing gum).

Diseases associated with increased gas — A number of diseases can 
cause impaired absorption of carbohydrates (carbohydrate 
malabsorption), which can lead to increased gas. In addition to 
bacterial overgrowth described above, carbohydrate malabsorption can 
occur in patients with celiac disease (a disease caused by intolerance
to a protein contained in wheat), short bowel syndrome, and those who
have rare primary disorders of the enzymes needed to digest specific 
forms of carbohydrates.

For those who require testing, specific tests may include:

- Examination of stool to detect the presence of blood, abnormally 
increased levels of fat (steatorrhea), or the presence of Giardia 
- A lactose tolerance test, during which patients are provided with a
test dose of lactose by mouth. After receiving the test dose, those 
with lactose intolerance may soon develop abdominal discomfort, 
diarrhea, and excessive flatulence. Breath or blood samples are 
obtained during the test to confirm the presence of lactose 
- X-ray examination of the small intestine.
- Upper endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy (in which the inside
of the stomach, upper intestines or colon are examined via a tube with
a camera at the end).
- Breath or blood tests for carbohydrate malabsorption.
- Antibody tests for celiac disease.

There are over-the-counter options such as Beano and Gas-X.  Specific
treatment depends on the cause of the gas.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical   
advice - the information presented is for patient education only.   
Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your   
individual case.   
Please use any answer clarification before rating this answer. I will
be happy to explain or expand on any issue you may have.         
Kevin, M.D.         
Search strategy using Google:      
body odor

1) Goldfinger.  Gas and bloating.  Uptodate, 2002.


NIDDK - Gas in the digestive tract

Request for Answer Clarification by suresh_subramanian-ga on 07 Apr 2003 10:51 PDT
Hi Kevin

Thanks for your answer.  After I had colonoscopy, the doctor had given
the following tablet CHLORDIAZEPOXIE/ CLIDINIUM. The doctor asked me
to take the tablet for 30 days and doctor didn't mention about any
diet. First two days I don't have any problems. But third day onwards
the same problem started again. But still I continued the tablet for
30 days. I am strict vegetarian,non smoker and non drinker. Usually I
drink two coffees in a day. If I take coffee in the morning
immediately I feel like I have to go to rest room. Usually I won't
take breakfast. Because of this symptom I was started to avoid taking
lunch. Basically my intake is White rice, Ladies finger, Carrot,
Onion, Tamarind, Tomato, Egg Plant and Turmeric. I prepare the typical
South Indian style spicy food.

Please kindly advice.

Clarification of Answer by kevinmd-ga on 07 Apr 2003 11:49 PDT
Hello - thanks for asking for clarification.

PLease understand that I cannot diagnose over the internet - please
see your personal physician for more information.

The symptoms you are describing may be known as tenesmus - this is
defined as the constant feeling of the need to empty the bowel,
accompanied by pain, cramping, and involuntary straining efforts.  It
is associated with the following disorders:

- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 
- Crohn's disease 
- Ulcerative colitis 
- Anorectal abscess 
- Infectious colitis (infection of the colon) 
- Colorectal cancer or tumors 
- Radiation proctitis or colitis (inflammation of the colon or rectum
from radiation)

You mentioned that you have already had a colonscopy.  Other tests to
consider would be an abdominal CT, looking for signs of colitis
(inflammation of the colon).

You may also want to consider tests for malabsorption (i.e. fecal fat
test, tests for lactose intolerance), which can definitely give you
symptoms of gas and bloating.

Discuss these options with your personal physician.  

Issues not pertaining to the scope of this question should be asked in
seperate questions.

Kevin, M.D.
suresh_subramanian-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

From: tlspiegel-ga on 05 Apr 2003 11:14 PST
Hello suresh_subramanian,

In reference to the body odor part of your question - perhaps the
following will help.

Body Odor

"Dietary Dietary changes are also very important in eliminating
various sources of odor. Certain foods, such as meat, onions, garlic,
exotic spices, and drinks such as coffee and alcohol can lead to body
odor. Try eliminating these from your diet for a week or two and see
if this makes a difference. Although you can usually smell your own
B.O. if it is from your armpits many people don't realize they have
general body odor because they have become accustomed to it. Have
someone you can confide in do a "smell test" - before and after you
start eliminating certain foods. That may be the only way you will
find out."


"Because of a person's body chemistry, some people who eat large
quantities of meat or who are vegetarians have a very distinctive body
odor which can be quite offensive. Some individuals cannot metabolize
foods containing large amounts of choline, such as eggs, fish, liver
and legumes. The result is a "fishy" smell. If you are one of these
people, cut out these products and see if this is the cause of your
odor. Certain foods and drinks, such as onions, garlic, curry, certain
spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, are also prime causes. Fried and
baked goods may contain rancid fats and oils that lead to body odor."

Other possible cause of body odor may include anxiety, hormonal body
changes, kidney or liver disease, fungal infections, and refined

As for the "rest room" problems... have you been checked for Irritable
Bowel Syndrome?

Google Answers Researcher
From: bizmonkey-ga on 09 Mar 2005 08:06 PST
I may also be able to give you a helpful link for the body odor. Take
a look at Smell Fresh It's an herbal formula that
took care of my body odor really well. (it's nice not having to wear
deodorant) Good luck with it.

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