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Chronic pancreatitis and foul smelling body odor?
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Chronic pancreatitis and foul smelling body odor?

My husband has had chronic pancreatitis for the past 5 years. We found out 5 months ago he has course calicifications throughout the pancreas with cysts on the head and tail. He is insulin-diabetic now and has lost approx 40 pounds. He has good and bad days. My concern is this. When he feels "bad" an odor of feces eminates from his body. Or sometimes it even smells like really dirty oily hair...mild but nonetheless notable. I am very concerned and can't seem to find an answer. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Avatar_f_tn
Welcome to the gastroenterology community!  Has he seen a gastroenterologist aobut this?  What testing has he had done?
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Avatar_n_tn
We do not have insurance right now. But when I noticed this smell (and he did too) we both had the terrible thought that he had pancreatic cancer. I took him to the county ER and that's when they did a CT and discovered that the pancreas had course calcification's throughout and cysts on the head and tail which were new...they didn't not say "cancer" or "tumors" or anything like that. He did not have a white count but his platelets were below normal I believe 147,000 and he was slightly anemic (we had stopped eating meat because we read somewhere that the fat in meat causes pain and is hard to digest...I was buying the LEANEST of meats BTW). Anyway, the anemia seems to have improved. He sweats every night...some nights worse than others. He still works but is tired a lot and tries to take pain med only when needed. He is still smoking cigarettes however :(
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Avatar_f_tn
Pancreatic cancer is very rare so I don't think you need to worry too much about this.  I really think he needs to see a gastroenterologist about this to figure out what is going on.
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Avatar_n_tn
Agreed. When we are able to get some insurance we will see one...thanks for your input.
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2827584_tn?1340583296
Bad plan. If your bald tires were threatening you whenever you drove the car you would replace them. The benefits of early diagnosis of a medical problem are amortized over the rest of your life. If the chronic pancreatitis isn't the result of alcohol abuse it needs an answer. If it is then the cost of the evalation would be less than the cigarette and alcohol bill for the year.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Christopher. His pancreatitis was caused by alcohol abuse. He quit drinking 4 years ago. I'm just wondering about this odd smell that develops occasionally. Thanks for your input. I am trying to figure out something to get him some kind of insurance. He is self-employed and now has a pre-exisiting condition so it's kind of tough. I am curious if a duct is blocked or something, but I would imagine the CT he had a few months ago would have revealed that?
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2827584_tn?1340583296
One possibility is that it actually relates to the diabetes and has nothing to do with the pancreatic abnormality. When diabetics get a little out of control you can smell the acetone that is created. There are actually service dogs that alert folks to impending diabetic crises because they are more sensitive to the smell.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah, I don't think it's the acetone...I am a Registered Nurse and worked the ER for 7 years...I have smelled ketoacidosis and this is not it. But I like the way you think ;) But you're right, his sugars are out of control. He often "dumps" his sugars because of too much insulin administration. He follows a sliding scale the Dr. gave him and on occasion winds up nearly passing out because his sugar dumped to 32! (I have honey on hand at all times!) The time I took him to the county ER to get the CT, we told the ER doc about the smell, that that was our main concern, and he had no input as to what it's all about. The Gastroenterologists he has seen know nothing about it either. They just want to give him Protonix and pancreatic enzymes. He really needs to see a specialist that focuses really just on the pancreas. God willing I will get a job soon and get us some insurance again. This whole thing has prompted me to reevaluate my thoughts on healthcare and know have become an advocate for a MEDICARE for All campaign so that everybody can get low cost, adequate healthcare...everyone in, no one out. Medical care should not have to be a luxury to the few that can afford it I have come to realize. Thanks for your input, advice, and just listening Doc!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey Joan,

Don't know if your reading still but, he needs to quit smoking ASAP. The smell is due to mal-absorption and processing of nutrients. I was a longtime sufferer of pancreatitis  and have diabetes. You have to try and normalize your system. Cut out all processed/highly refined foods, do juicing, and small consistent meals.  Make your husband quit smoking....it makes the pancreas work too hard.
Since his is chronic, its all about maintenance, and allowing the body to do some healing as well!
If you want I can send you a plan I used which saved my life, and kept me functional. The doctors will just give you meds to ease pain....and say sorry there is nothing we can do.
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