If you begin noticing your body is starting to smell bad, but you feel fine otherwise, is it possible this can be early liver disease?

What if you wash and shower and it doesn’t go away? Have you been wondering about this?

By the time liver disease causes a malodorous odor…does the patient necessarily have other symptoms of this liver disease?

“This odor is indicative of advanced liver disease,” says Jeffrey Fine, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the Medical Surgical Clinic of Irving.

“If a patient’s condition has progressed to this state, other symptoms are likely to be present.”

And those other symptoms would be some or all of the following:

  • jaundice
  • upper stomach pain
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • distended belly
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • chalk-colored or greyish stools.

Can a bad body odor be the only symptom — even temporarily? And then could other symptoms would soon follow?

“Generally speaking, by the time a patient has the bad odor associated with liver disease, they’re in an advanced stage and other symptoms will likely be present,” says Dr. Fine.

“However, these symptoms may improve if the liver function improves.”

Where in the body does this smell come from? Armpits?

“I have not seen a case where the odor only came from the armpit,” says Dr. Fine.

“In the cases I’ve seen, the odor comes from the lungs through the mouth.”

What types of liver disease cause this bad odor?

“All types of liver disease affect body odor like this, but only if they’re in liver failure,” says Dr. Fine.

“The bad odor is caused by the inability of the liver to break down proteins correctly.”

Dr. Fine has been in practice for over 30 years and specializes in digestive health, integrative medicine and food sensitivities.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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