I Suffer From A Rare Condition That Makes Me Smell Like Fish

A British woman has revealed that she suffers from a rare condition that makes her smell like fish despite showering several times a day. Kelly Fidoe-White, 41, told NeedToKnow.online (via NY Post) that having Trimethylaminuria, known as TMAU, is rare but has been like hell on earth.

  1. Yes, this is a real condition. TMAU is a metabolic condition known as “fish-odor syndrome” due to the smell it causes. However, those who have it don’t always smell like fish — sufferers have reported everything from onions to feces, which is extremely unfortunate. It occurs when someone is “unable to turn a strong-smelling chemical called trimethylamine — produced in the gut when bacteria break down certain foods — into a different chemical that doesn’t smell,” the NHS website explains.
  2. Fidoe-Whites admits living with TMAU is a nightmare. “People call it a curse, and I can see why,” she admits. “To sum it up in two words, it’s confusing and isolating. The worst part is feeling like you’re going crazy from it. If you let it, the condition can begin to take over your thoughts.”
  3. Only 100 cases of TMAU have ever been recorded. Medical professionals think that nearly twice as many people could be affected, however. This is largely due to the difficulty in diagnosing the condition “as the smell is often intermittent, and [general practioners] tend to not refer based on the individual’s testimony alone,” Fidoe-White says.
  4. Fidoe-White first noticed the issue when she was only six years old. It got worse when she hit puberty as she then developed a terrible body odor. That being said, she still wasn’t diagnosed until 2015.
  5. People have bullied Fidoe-White relentlessly over the years. “People generally don’t like to confront body-odor issues head-on, so when you ask them outright, they tend to tell you they don’t smell anything,” she recalls, “but unfortunately you will then get the odd person who talks about it behind your back, rather than dealing with you face-to-face.” She adds: “It’s isolating because you don’t want to offend people with the smell, so you are constantly thinking, ‘Am I sweaty? Am I over-warm? That person is coughing, is that because of me?'”
  6. There’s nothing you can do to take away the smell. Because TMAU has nothing to do with personal hygiene, you can’t shower away the smell. “I could wash every hour of every day and it would only be a short-term fix,” she said, adding that you can also “smell worse after a shower because the pores open more due to the warm water.”
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