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 MayoHealth.com:
"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
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
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
Please use any answer clarification before rating this answer. I will
be happy to explain or expand on any issue you may have.
Search strategy using Google:
1) Goldfinger. Gas and bloating. Uptodate, 2002.
NIDDK - Gas
NIDDK - Gas in the digestive tract