What Medical Conditions Cause Body Odor?

There are certain things that we do in every day life that cause us to smell. Excessive sweating while exercising, poor hygiene and some of the foods we eat can give us some pretty bad body odor (B.O. for short). But body odor can sometimes be attributed to more than just the occasional workout or a clove of garlic.


Diabetes is one of the more common causes of body odor. When someone who has diabetes fails to monitor and take care of his blood sugar, he can develop a condition called ketoacidosis. With ketoacidosis, not only does the person suffer from breath that is best described as fruity, a pungent body odor is also present. Ketoacidosis is a serious issue and needs to be addressed by a doctor immediately.

Thyroid Problems

An overactive thyroid gland is another cause of body odor. The thyroid gland causes us to sweat. When it's working overtime, as with hyperthyroidism, the body excretes an excessive amount of sweat even with little or no exertion. The thyroid should be checked for proper functioning once every year or two. Hyperthyroidism is treatable. If you notice an unnatural amount of sweat and the body odor that comes with it, see a doctor.

Kidney and Liver Dysfunction

Bad body odor can also be caused by dysfunction in the kidneys and liver. The kidneys and the liver help to remove toxins from our system through waste product. When they don't do their jobs, toxins can build up in the blood and digestive tract, which in turn creates an odor. This could be a product of either liver or kidney disease. A simple blood test can tell if there is a problem with either of these two vital organs.

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