How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. A. Clark Your Own Question

Dr. A. Clark
Dr. A. Clark, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 4437
Experience:  33 years of experience as a general pediatrician in private practice and in pediatric urgent care.
17654155
Type Your Pediatrics Question Here...
Dr. A. Clark is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Why does my sons breath smell like rotten eggs He is 9 and

Customer Question

Why does my son's breath smell like rotten eggs? He is 9 and has 2 known food allergies (peanut and shellfish) but to my knowledge has had no exposures recently. About 2 months ago he complained that he would burp rotten eggs if he ate bananas. Since then he has avoided bananas, denies any burping or gas but his breath smells strongly of rotten eggs. Now he has had moments in the past when he has complained of gastric pain and gas and he was visibly uncomfortable. His oral health is good and he eats a great diet full of a variety of foods (but the allergens of course). I tried Tums to see if he was having indigestion or reflux that he wasn't recognizing but it didn't help.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  Dr. A. Clark replied 4 years ago.
Allergy to foods would likely not cause this type of reaction but rather rashes, diarrhea, etc. It is more likely due to carbohydrate intolerance: lactose, fructose, and/or sorbitol (really an alcohol but used as a flavor enhancer, especially in diet foods) The problem is that when the intestinal mucosa cannot absorb a substance, enzymes are necessary to break them down, particularly with complex sugars like lactose and fructose (fruit sugar). When they cannot be broken down with the enzymes, either because of a lack of that enzyme (lactose intolerance is quite common) then bacteria begin to attack the substance and the result is fermentation (just as with beer) and gas and odor production. Lactose intolerance is very common after the first year of life, especially in populations of Asian or African heritage where they historically never had a dairy industry and thus only drink milk until weaned from the breast, as with every other mammal.

The first thing I would do is eliminate lactose since avoiding dairy products is pretty simple. This includes not just milk but cheese, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, etc. but not foods cooked with a little milk. Do this for a couple of weeks to test the effect and then move on to fructose and finally sorbitol, which you will be surprised to see in many foods for their sweetener effects as so many foods eliminate sugar.

I'm sure eventually you will figure out the offending substance and be able to get him through this.

Edited by Dr. A. Clark on 1/29/2010 at 12:31 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Clark,

 

Thank you for your answer. I'd like to give you a little more background information so you understand my response. We are caucasion. I am a registered dietitian and have 2 children with food allergy. However, I am not an expert in all areas of nutrition as it is a vast field. My youngest is allergic to wheat. So, elimination diets are a way of life for us. My clinical and food expertise helps me understand your response. The parent (who is a little tired of food eliminations) in me is resistant to eliminating another food without just cause. I understand that trial and error may be necessary to get an answer to my problem. However, this is a relatively new problem in my 9 year old (maybe a month or so). Do you really think this could be lactose intolerance? I'm more accepting of the fructose intolerance theory because he has reported the rotten egg burps after eating bananas. However, ugh....eliminating fruit from his diet seems like a formidable task. I know...this is coming from someone who has already eliminated foods from her children's diets already. If we take that next step, how long would be realistic to expect to see an improvement? Also, would fructose intolerance take this long to develop? The only major problem he has had recently was influenza A in late September. Otherwise, he is a very healthy kid. Neither my husband nor I have any food allergies or intolerances. Any additional help would be appreciated.

Expert:  Dr. A. Clark replied 4 years ago.
It can occur at any time but a recent illness could also cause a temporary intolerance. I would expect improvement within 2 weeks on each elimination. If that does not pan out then then next step is the gastroenterologist I would think.
Dr. A. Clark, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 4437
Experience: 33 years of experience as a general pediatrician in private practice and in pediatric urgent care.
Dr. A. Clark and other Pediatrics Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Dr. Clark. While I was waiting for your response I started going through the cupboards. My son received some "gummy snacks" at Christmas time and he has been eating a few of them nearly every day. This is about when the problem started. The snacks contain sorbitol. I should have thought of this. I work with adults who have diabetes and warn them regularly about the GI side effects of sugar alcohols. I will eliminate sorbitol and other sugar alcohols first and then will try either milk or fruit next if I don't see any improvement. Thank you for you help.
Expert:  Dr. A. Clark replied 4 years ago.
As you probably know, sorbitol is used to induce diarrhea in poisoning cases since it is a cathartic substance. It is an alcohol but unabsorbable due to its chemical structure so it is used for adding sweetness without calories to "diet" foods and snacks but unfortunately many people are very sensitive to it and it is EVERYWHERE!

I hope this is the offending agent and all will be well.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
< Last | Next >
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Yogindra Vasavada

    Pediatrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2507
    M.D.(ped) passed at first attempt, in practice continuously for last 37 years. Certi. in Comp
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr. Yogindra Va/2012-6-10_2618_DSC0039.64x64.JPG Dr. Yogindra Vasavada's Avatar

    Dr. Yogindra Vasavada

    Pediatrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2507
    M.D.(ped) passed at first attempt, in practice continuously for last 37 years. Certi. in Comp
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/GA/GauravMD/2012-6-9_62959_gaurav.64x64.JPG Dr. Gupta's Avatar

    Dr. Gupta

    Pediatrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    1442
    MD, practicing Pediatrician with 19 years of experience. Member American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/edkulich/2010-08-17_171809_doctor.jpg Dr. K.'s Avatar

    Dr. K.

    Board Certified Pediatrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    819
    Board Certified, Ivy League educated Pediatrician.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/cbellmd/2009-11-19_013247_CB_PHOTO_2.jpg Raymond B., M.D.'s Avatar

    Raymond B., M.D.

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    422
    I provide medical care for newborns, children, adolescents and young adults up to age 21 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DA/davhill1/2012-6-6_17340_DLHSittingCropped.64x64.jpg David L. Hill, MD, FAAP's Avatar

    David L. Hill, MD, FAAP

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    414
    Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, UNC Medical School. Vice President, Cape Fear Pediatrics.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/josho33/2009-12-16_0435_php4n8fiy_c2PM.jpg Dr. Davidson's Avatar

    Dr. Davidson

    Board Certified Pediatrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    408
    Board Certified Specialist in Pediatrics, Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FA/fabiola.caracseghi/2012-4-12_204829_foto2.64x64.JPG Dr.Fabiola.MD's Avatar

    Dr.Fabiola.MD

    Pediatrician

    Satisfied Customers:

    118
    Pediatric Immunology. General Pediatrics