Self diagnoses
Daily Record|May 11, 2021
If you seem a bit whiffy poor hygiene is not always to blame for the pong. Natasha Holt finds out how certain smells can indicate something might be wrong with your health
Natasha Holt

Fruity breath

“If your breath has a fruity odour it may be a sign of diabetes,” says Hussain Abdeh, the clinical director and pharmacist at

“The reason for the smell is due to a metabolic state called ketoacidosis.”

This is where the body breaks down fat too quickly and the liver processes it into a fuel called ketones, causing the blood to become acidic.

“Ketoacidosis is an acute complication that is associated with diabetes so if you notice a smell on your breath similar to pear drops, alongside other symptoms such as an unquenchable thirst, a constant need to urinate and unexplained weight loss, see your GP,” adds Hussain.

Pungent pee

Urinary tract infections are often uncomfortable and painful but sometimes the only symptom can be foul-smelling urine. “The bacteria in UTIs can contaminate your urine,” explains Hussain. “Some people report that their urine smells stronger than usual, while others also report a distinct fishy smell.”

Woody-smelling skin

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