Undiagnosed Symptoms Community
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621465 tn?1221541188

Foul Smell, Armpit Pain

A couple months ago (end of June, beginning of July) I had got this pain in my left armpit.  I can feel a small malleable mass there, and at first figured it was an ingrown follicle, and waited for it to come to a head.  It never did, it just mysteriously disappeared.  During and after that I started smelling these mysterious smells... sometimes smelled like burnt dust, mold, vomit, or a smell I can not describe... but all of them were foul.  They were not accompanied by a bad taste or any strange residue on my tongue (as sometimes a bad smell can come from the mouth).  No one else could smell these smells, and they went with me everywhere.  Even when I left the house I could smell them.  I tried putting oils (vanilla, orange etc) under my nose, but the other smell over powered it.  I tried putting vapour rub (Vix) under and inside my nose, and after a few sniffs I could not longer smell the vix, just whatever foul smell was occuring.  It came and went, but was strongest at night.  I'd washed myself vigorously, used non-scented and scented products, and got other people to actually smell me in case I was te source.  I told them not to be polite and be honest.  They said I didn't smell vulgar.

It stopped after a month.  A trouble free month and a half passed, and I mentioned the bad smells to my Psychiatrist (figuring it was likel psychological.)  At the time I did not attribute it to my armpit.  He told me if they did not go away to get a CAT scan... but otherwise just pulled this face that gave me the impression he found it strange... However, since they went away, I didn't get any tests done.  However, yesterday my armpit began to hurt in the very same spot, with another small lump.  Today the bad smells returned, so now I am linking the two.  

No, I have not had a sinus infection recently, nor have I had congestion or pain and pressure around the eyes.

I'm a bit curious if anyone has had similar symptoms, or have a guess as to what it might be?  I was afraid to bring it up with my GP, thinking he'd think I was crazy or making it up, and even was tempted not to mention it to my Psychiatrist about it.  I guess I am more or less fishing for other people with something similar so that /I/ don't think I'm crazy.
8 Responses
563773 tn?1374250139

I am mentioning some possibilities for your symptoms which need evaluation.It may be due to some abscess formation in the armpit,lymph node swelling(due to infections of the lungs,oral cavity including teeth or malignancy of the mammary glands) or a lipoma.

Constant smells may be a result of some pathology in the olfactory nerve or smell centre in the brain.

I feel that an evaluation by a physician or a surgeon is a must.

Hope it helps.Take care and pls do keep me posted on how you are doing.
Avatar universal
I have been smelling stange odors for over a year now. Sometimes it smells like melted plastic, musty wet wood, and odors I can't describe. One time I had the gas company come to my house because I thought my fireplace might have a leak. No leak. My husband thinks I am crazy because he can not smell the things I am smelling. I smell different smells at different times. I let this go on for a year as the smells would come and go. In August I had a cervical discectomy and fusion and when I came home from the hospital I started smelling a smell ( I can not describe the smell ) I could not taste my food so I did not eat for about 3 weeks. My husband bought food and brought to me I would try one bite and throw the rest out. When I got well enough to go out we would go out to eat and the same thing I would order my food and eat a bite or two and could not eat any more. The thing is I am also an insulin dependent diabetic. So it is hard not to eat because my surgar gets really low when I do not eat.

I went to my primary care physician in Sept after my surgery and she done X-rays of my sinuses. She said I did have some infection but she did not think it was bad enough to cause me this problem. She treated me for a sinus infection. Did not help. Went to ENT had an MRI and he stated he did not see anything to cause the problem. He stated he sees this around 20 times a year and there is nothing that can be done. This week went back to my Primary Care Physician. Now she has done some test on my Thyroid.

This is all so frustrating and I know it is for you. I do not think you are crazy at all. I have the smell now and it will not go away. I have not been able to taste food for over 5 months now. Good luck to you.
621465 tn?1221541188
Oh you certainly seem to have it worse than me - because I've been still able to taste (thank goodness) for the most part.  Sometimes I can't eat certain foods because they offset the smell/taste, but other flavours don't seem affected.

It's frustrating having nothing show up anywhere, not even in an MRI.  It's got to be in the head somehow, because something is mixing up signals of the olfactory system - that's the only conclusion I can make.  I mentioned this to one person and they started going off about ghosts and hauntings that cause weird smells (but I'm a skeptic).  

Recently I smelled smoke.  SMOKE!  I looked everywhere for smoke and even woke up my mother and asked her if she smelt it.  Nope.  But the worst part was that I FELT smoke in my throat.  It was a dry, stinging, burning, raw feeling and I lost my voice.  Alas.... there was no smoke - just me and a false sensation of smoke.

But it's good to know other people have that smell problem - it's horrible to know that things have been tested to no avail.
621465 tn?1221541188
I finally got in for an ultrasound (I had to wait SOO many months) about my armpit, but it was clean.  My doctor suggested I had injured it unknowingly and was suffering from localized muscle spasms that sometimes caused the muscles to ball up and form a lump.  Luckily for me, it seems to have settled itself down.  

I still haven't gotten anything about the bad smells, but I've only mentioned it to my Psychiatrist and my GP.
Avatar universal
My daughter works for a Cheif of Pathology and he told her today that he did not think it was my olfactory nerve because I would not be able to smell at all ( even the bad smells )
He stated I did need to see a Neurologist. He said I could be having temporal lobe seizures but did not know. Read up on this. I will be making an appt with a Neurologist next week. Hope all is well with you.
621465 tn?1221541188
Oooh thanks for the heads up!  I think I'll look into it!  I'd hate there to be a problem with any of the lobes of my brain - why I rely on it so much! *grin*
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