Warning: This post might be a little gross. Read at your own risk.
For nearly a year, I have experienced night sweats. We suspect it’s early menopause. At about the same time, I realized the smell of my own sweat changed. To catch up any newbies; I have hyperosmia – an extremely acute sense of smell. I can smell menstrual blood and when my close friends have sex, I can mell that too. I was in my late teens before I discovered not everyone can smell these things. I have spent the last year wondering about the scent change. It has become sweeter and sickly smelling.
At first, I was like “well, here comes diabetes” but after panicking and having my sugar levels checked in multiple ways, I put that thought aside and it doesn’t have the exact smell I associate with diabetes which is a disease with a distinctive smell to me, even on strangers.
After visiting the cardiologist for the first time and when I got into my office after everyone else went to bed, I started to wonder… In the last three years a couple of big things have happened to me: I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in my hip and put on hydrocodone. I began experiencing night sweats and occasional hot flashes and while I am young for menopause… I have PCOS and it’s the leading cause of early menopause in women. And in the last 9 months, I’ve started experiencing angina.
I feel like all of these could cause enough of a chemical change in my body to also change my normal, every day sweat smell. I’ve been around alcoholics my entire life as well as drug addicts, and I know it has a smell and while it is sweet and sickly, much like with diabetes it isn’t the same smell. I did not notice my mom’s smell change when she went through menopause. But I have worked really hard to stop noticing how the people in my life smell and how it changes… because there are just some things people should not be able to smell. Which begs the question, could I be smelling heart disease? My father always had a sweet and sickly smell, but he became a diabetic in his 50s not to mention some other problems that I could smell.
I recently read an article about a woman who could smell Parkinson’s Disease, even 20 years before her husband really developed symptoms. Now, I am wondering. Is the change in my own scent because I’m menopausal or is it pre-diabetes or is it perhaps the heart disease? I ruled out my opiate pain medication because the smell doesn’t change if I don’t have pills and in all the alcoholics and addicts I’ve known the smell has gotten seriously stronger when they entered severe withdraw and it smells a little more acidic when they are experiencing the headaches, DTs, etc. from it (of course, I don’t get headaches, DTs, or other withdraw symptoms, so maybe I’ve ruled it out without having enough evidence).
However, as far as I know there isn’t a catalogue of smells associated with diseases that I can go look up my smell in. Although, maybe there should be.