Oily Greasy Odor

Posted by ron1972 @ron1972, Dec 4, 2022

I am a 50 year old male that has Celiac Disease, EPI, and high blood pressure. My wife tells me I have an oily/greasy odor and I wanted to see if anyone call help me identify what is going on. I shower everyday and she doesn’t let me sleep in the same bed with her because of the smell. I have asked a couple of my doctors and neither one have any ideas or even the right doctor to go and see. Any help I would really appreciate it. Ron

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…. my husband of 40 yrs, he will be 70 soon; his bedroom has similar odour…sort of greasy and I change his pillow case every day or two… he has frequent showers; smoker since age of 15 and where his back has been on the sheet over time there is a light brown stain…. his clothing is clean , he uses deodorant…he has never asked a dr. about this as seems oblivious to it. Even after I launder the bedding there is a slight odour especially on the pillow slip..I used to work with a woman who said her husband's same and she put it down to his diabetes, not sure why, but my husband has it too… maybe some other readers have some suggestions ….. J.


@ron1972 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

Some people seem to get into a phase where their skin releases smells or odors based on health conditions, or diet. Is the EPI you listed also know as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency? That might have some symptoms related to your concern, as it causes issues in breaking down foods you eat. See the article listed below from WebMD.

Have you spoken to your medical team about this? If it is something new, I would think a question posed will be a good thing, and set your mind at ease. And remember, as we age, our bodies go through a lot of changes, including our skin getting thinner so to speak. Our skin acts as a big breathing organ to the innards of our bodies.


I am so sorry you are dealing with this. It was lifechanging for one of my relatives who experienced something similar, but is better now. Is was so frustrating when he was doing everything he could do (staying clean, wearing deodorant,etc) and the odor appears despite his efforts. His MD called it "bromhyidrosis" and said it can result from several different causes and there are various "manifestations." Here is a brief description of the various types, potential causes and the variety of treatments which can include avoiding certain foods, hygiene patterns, application of specific soaps/chemicals, surgery, etc. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/bromhidrosis This excerpt from the Merck Manual also helped us understand it better: "Eccrine bromhidrosis can occur when bacteria degrade keratin that has been softened by eccrine sweat. Eccrine bromhidrosis can also result from ingestion of foods (eg, curry, garlic, onion, alcohol) and drugs (eg, penicillin)…………In some people, a few days of washing with an antiseptic soap, which may be combined with use of antibacterial creams containing clindamycin or erythromycin, may be necessary. Shaving the hair in the armpits may also help control odor. People can also promptly remove sweaty clothing and use deodorants or antiperspirants. Deodorants mask odor, whereas antiperspirants reduce sweat production." If not already considered, I hope you will see your MD to evaluate potential causes and treatment options, maybe before trying anything as pre-existing disease might preclude some treatment options. Also, we noted that his pet cat was not put off by his "odor" and it's continued TLC has been extremely appreciated. Praying for better days ahead for you and for anyone else going through this.

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