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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 32688
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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What causes a moth ball smell from the body or mouth. i have

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what causes a moth ball smell from the body or mouth. i have had this off and on for the past few years. It seems to have lingered on this time. I have good dental hygiene and see the dentist at least four times a year for cleanings, etc. I do not smell this but my family members tell me that they smell it.
Hi--your other medical conditions?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I take Simvastatin for cholesterol, a calcium citrate plus mag. with vitamin D daily as well as 81 mg. aspirin. I have no medical condition and am in great health. Also take a compounded hormone, 3 drops applied to the wrist at night. Had a check up about two weeks ago and nothing of note at that time
have you ever dicussed this with your doctor and can he smell the odor?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No I did not discuss this with her
OK--two points here. This could be a problem directly with your sense of smell as in a tumor of the olfactory cranial nerve or even a tumor in the brain and you need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist about that. If others can also smell this then it would be a problem with your liver or kidneys but since they are probably fine with your checkups, I think this is primarily a problem with your own sense of smell.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Had to leave for a while. Relative to your answer, I do not smell this only aware that i have this smell as other family members have told me. I have done some searching online and apparently there are a number of people, young and old, who have the same issue. Thought perhaps there was something written about this in the medical literature.
they say it smells just like mothballs? Has anyone besides your family members remarked on the smell?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No, my husband and adult daughter and son-in-law are the only ones who have said anything. I am sure others may smell it but don’t want to say anything. They all say the smell is like moth balls.
do they say it's your breath or do they say your body smells of mothballs--in other words can they put their nose close to your skin and say that your skin has the smell?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
They do not smell it on my skin. The smell seems to come from the mouth area, however it seems to be coming from someplace other than the teeth, tongue etc. As I mentioned I am very conscious about my dental hygiene. Sounds like you have not heard of this or run across this in your practice so I may have to search elsewhere for a conclusion. Thank you.
No, please wait here a minute. You originally said body or mouth, so I was focussing on your body. Do you have any problem with nasal stuffiness or drainage, or do you have any problem with indigestion or heartburn?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No nasal stuffiness or drainage. Occasional indigestion, but can’t say that I have had any recently. (Odor has been present for the past 2-3 weeks)

OK. There isn't a specific medical condition except, perhaps, for rare disorders known as inborn errors of metabolism that causes anything like a real naphtha-like (mothball smell) odor, and that would be on the body as well as the breath. In your case, this could be either from a chronic sinus infection with some post nasal drip or from gastic reflux without too much indigestion. I would get a ct scan of your sinuses to look for the infection, and I would try Zantac or Pepcid AC to see if it is reflux, because, if it is, that would take care of the problem.

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