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Workouts Cause Nail Polish and Musty Earthy Smell

I noticed that after I exercise, whether light or heavy, I develop a very strong, putrid body odor that has an earthy-musty smell or sometimes a "nail polish" smell. It is not the smell of regular BO. The smell usually occurs several hours after a workout, usually the following day (about 12 hours later). And it usually lasts from 20 minutes to several hours. Yes, I shower, have good hygiene, don't seat excessively, and don't have anything in my nose! Symptoms also include being excessively hungry and thirsty. Tests for diabetes and liver disease have come up negative. My symptoms have been going on for approximately 8 months. I usually work out 5-6 days a week. When I stop working out for a day or two, the odors disappear completely.  But they re-occur when I exercise, even light exercise.  I've been recently diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. I stopped working out for the last 10 days and have had no symptoms. I know that once I start back at the gym my symptoms will return. Any ideas as to what I may be experiencing? I am scheduled for an MRI next month. Bottom line: there is a direct correlation between me working out and these odd body odors.
1 Responses
1794166 tn?1315498373
Dear RedWings66,

I do understand that you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and your concern seems to be related to odd body odours.

I do not think that hypothyroidism is responsible for these bad odours. However, would request you to let me know values for your thyroid hormones tests (like thyroid stimulating hormone levels, free thyroxine levels) and the medication you are taking for the same.

Some of people with unexplained body odor may actually have an inherited metabolic disorder that impairs their ability to metabolize a compound. This problem is caused by excessive amino acids being secreted during exercise.

The hereditary disorder is called trimethylaminuria (TMAU), a disease that impairs the ability of an enzyme to metabolize or transform the compound trimethylamine. This requires further evaluation by a metabolic disorder specialist.

Hope that this information helps and hope that you will get better soon.

Thank you for using MedHelp's "Ask an Expert" Service, where we feature some of world's renowned medical experts in their fields. Millions have benefitted from our service to get personalized advice for them and for their loved ones.

Best Regards,
Dr. V. Kumaravel
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