I had to shower four times a day because on rare occasions I smell like fish

A rare condition of a WOMAN causes her to smell like fish, and showering multiple times a day doesn’t help.

Kelly Fidoe-White, 41, had noticed her unique aroma since she was six but didn’t discover the real cause until she was 34.

Kelly Fidoe-White, who has a rare condition that makes her smell like fish


Kelly Fidoe-White, who has a rare condition that makes her smell like fishPhoto credit: Jam Press
41-year-old Kelly with her husband Michael


41-year-old Kelly with her husband MichaelPhoto credit: Jam Press

A woman with an extremely rare condition that causes her to smell like fish all the time says she used to shower four times a day to mask her odor.

The senior radiographer from Oldham, Manchester, has lived her life with trimethylaminuria (TMAU) – a disorder commonly known as ‘fish smell syndrome’.

The condition is so rare that it has only been recorded on medical records 100 times, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

However, some medical professionals believe the real number could be much higher, and other sources put it at around 200.

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People suffering from TMAU regularly produce a range of strong body odors, including rotten fish, onions, and feces.

Kelly first noticed that her urine smelled like fish at the age of six, and as puberty hit years later, she began to develop a noticeable body odor beyond her visits to the bathroom.

“People call it a curse, and I can understand why,” Kelly told

Living with the disease has kept Kelly naming names and finding ways to cope with her symptoms for decades.

She changes her uniform twice a day and uses whole cans of deodorant to cover the smell.

Once her mother had to visit her work with a fresh pair of clothes after someone complained to management about her smell.

“As a healthcare professional, being asked if you know you should use soap when washing is really upsetting,” Kelly said.

To curb the odor, Kelly said she showers up to four times a day.

But unknown to her at the time, this was only aimed at degrading her natural perfume.

Kelly said: “It has absolutely nothing to do with personal hygiene.

“I could wash every hour every day and it would only be a short-term fix.

“In fact, it is common for sufferers to smell worse after showering because the warm water opens the pores more.

“Your first thought is that it’s BO [body odour]. So you wash more, use stronger soaps, wash your clothes with soda crystals, put on more perfume and body spray—all of which make it worse.

“Ultimately I learned that because acid breaks down TMAU as it penetrates the skin – soaps, bleach and soda crystals are generally alkaline, skin needs to maintain its natural pH of 5.5.”

Fear of other people noticing the smell has kept Kelly housebound and night shifts at times — and the X-ray technician also suffers from depression.

She said: “It’s isolating because you don’t want to offend people with the smell, so you’re constantly thinking, ‘Am I sweaty? am i too hot This person is coughing, is that me?’

“If you let it, the condition can begin to take over your mind.

“I’ve developed extreme vigilance over people’s reactions to the smell.

“The worst thing is that you feel like you’re going insane from it.”

There is no cure for TMAU, but avoiding certain foods and supplementing certain nutrient levels can help relieve symptoms, which can fluctuate over time

Over the years, Kelly, who received a diagnosis in 2015, has found unique ways to improve symptoms, such as: B. a choline-reduced diet.

She avoids foods like liver, kidney, beans, peanuts, and cruciferous vegetables as they are all high in choline.

However, insufficient choline contributes to the risk of developing neurological disorders such as fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s disease.

Kelly has also undergone therapy and counseling for the decades of bullying she has endured and claims the trolls’ body shamed her by saying the smell was due to her weight.

She said: “It has nothing to do with the weight that I’ve had many times thrown at me.

“In fact, my smell was at its worst when I was at its lightest.

“I currently believe that I am relatively symptom-free.

“This is due to a combination of supplements scientifically selected to reduce TMA production and promote TMA oxidation as well as some lifestyle changes.

“I want to give a voice to my fellow sufferers who are silently suffering the stigma of BO.

“People are generally afraid to speak out for fear of being ridiculed.

“Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get specialist treatment in this case as the odor is often intermittent and GPs tend not to rely on the individual’s testimony alone.

“I have found a community online that is substantial.”

Kelly used to shower four times a day until she realized it was making her condition worse


Kelly used to shower four times a day until she realized it was making her condition worsePhoto credit: Jam Press I had to shower four times a day because on rare occasions I smell like fish

Sarah Y. Kim

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