Most alcoholics dont practice good personal hygiene,
I dont know if this oder is due to that or if he has some other health problems that are causing it. He will need to see a Doctor to get the answer to that question.
You need to get some support for yourself. I would suggest you go to an Al anon support group.
Welcome to Medhelp. I dont think the smell would indicate that something is wrong other than he is drinking way to much. I am concerned for his heath. How long has he been an alcoholic and how old is he? Also how much does he consume on a daily basis? When was the last time he had a physical and were his bilirubin, ast/alt all in normal range on the blood lab sheet?
He is 70, and when I think back, he has probably been an alcoholic for most of our marriage - 44 years. He goes out at night without me so I do not know how much he drinks, but the times I am with him, I don't keep track, but he gets pretty drunk. A physical? He refuses to have one, so I do not know any blood labs. I have been told by a doctor that the alcohol is metabolizing into something that smells like formaldahyde. He bathes every day.
I appreciates everyone's input
Ginny here is what I found on the subject. I dont know what this might mean to your husband but I say it is imperative that he gets into a doctor. I dont know what formaldahyde smells like or if this is even what you are smelling. Sorry I couldn't be more help, here is the acrticle I found:
Alcohol Hangover (formaldehyde from methanol impurity), Robert M Swift, Dena
Davidson 1998: Murray 2004.11.17
"One specific congener implicated in hangover effects is methanol, which
is an alcohol compound found in alcoholic beverages along with ethanol.
The two compounds differ slightly in chemical structure in that methanol
contains one less carbon atom and two fewer hydrogen atoms than ethanol.
The same enzymes that metabolize ethanol, alcohol dehydrogenase, and
aldehyde dehydrogenase also metabolize methanol; however, the products
of methanol metabolism (i.e., formaldehyde and formic acid) are extremely
toxic and in high concentrations may cause blindness and death.
Support for methanol's contribution to hangovers comes from several sources.
For example, distilled spirits that are more frequently associated with the
development of a hangover, such as brandies and whiskeys, contain the
highest concentrations of methanol. Moreover, in an experimental study
with four subjects who consumed red wine containing 100 milligrams per
liter (mg/L) of methanol, Jones (1987) found that elevated blood levels of
methanol persisted for several hours after ethanol was metabolized, which
corresponded to the time course of hangover symptoms. Methanol lingers
after ethanol levels drop, because ethanol competitively inhibits methanol
The fact that ethanol readministration fends off hangover effects may be
further evidence of methanol's contribution to the hangover condition, given
ethanol's ability to block methanol metabolism and thereby slow the
production of formaldehyde and formic acid.
I've never heard of such. But I am no medical expert. I know that if someone has persistent bad breath that it can be indicative of liver disease, and as you know can be a result from alcohol abuse. But I've never known anyone that had persistent body odor from alcohol use. That is to say as long as they kept up with their daily hygiene. Most definitely they will have an alcohol odor which can permeate through the skin pores but not what you are describing...and I've known a lot of alcoholics.
There may be other health concerns involved being that he is 70. Yet another reason to get to a doctor ASAP.