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In Rare Cases, Fishy Malodor Due to Metabolic Syndrome

Patients experiencing real or perceived body odor may have trimethylaminuria

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who are experiencing real or perceived body odor may have the rare metabolic disorder trimethylaminuria, which can cause a fishy malodor, according to a case study in the January Archives of Dermatology. Knowledge about the condition and supportive communication with family and friends may help patients.

Gehan Arseculeratne, M.R.C.P., of the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland, and colleagues evaluated a 41-year-old man who presented with a body malodor similar to decayed fish. Primary trimethylaminuria was confirmed by biochemical analysis and molecular genetic studies.

The patient was prescribed 500 mg of oral metronidazole twice daily for 10 days, a treatment that helped reduce the odor. However, the most useful therapeutic approach was the patient's communication with family and friends concerning the disorder and the information he obtained from the Internet about his condition.

"Confirmation of the diagnosis and early institution of dietary and pharmacological measures are vital in the treatment of these patients," the authors write. "Genetic counseling needs to be considered in relation to the primary form of the syndrome. Providing patients with relevant information and introducing patients to support groups form an important aspect of the management strategy," they conclude.

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