I've been diagnosed with fish odour syndrome and it's so embarrassing

DEAR DEIDRE: I HATE myself right now – I’ve been diagnosed with fish odour syndrome. It’s so embarrassing.

I’m a man of 30, work in a high street bank and I started to notice people giving me a wide berth in the staffroom.


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I don’t really have friends at work but there’s a girl who lives on my street who has been my friend since school so I asked her to be honest with me.

She said: “I hate to say this, but there is a nasty smell which may be coming from your clothes.”

I couldn’t understand it. I shower at least once a day and I wash my clothes all the time.

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I went to see the doctor and she confirmed it.

I’ve been recommended to buy a type of strong deodorant but it’s not helping.

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DEIDRE SAYS: I do feel for you. Trimethylaminuria (fish odour syndrome) is a condition that can give a smell of rotting fish or something similar and it may be caused by a faulty gene but it isn’t always the case.

Start by contacting Genetic Alliance (geneticalliance.org.uk, 0300 124 0441) for advice.

You may be able to manage the symptoms better if you change your diet. Avoiding cow’s milk, eggs, beans, peanuts and seafood/shellfish can help too.

Sadly, there is no known cure at the moment although antibiotics can help.
Talk with your GP.

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