Fish odor syndrome (trimethylaminuria) is a genetic disease; symptoms are
often present from birth.
Fish odor syndrome is characterized by an offensive body odor and the smell
of rotting fish due to the excessive excretion of trimethylaminuria (TMA) in the
urine, sweat, and breath of affected individuals.
Fish odor syndrome is caused by mutations in the FMO3 gene.
Other causes of odor body can occur as a result from an excess of proteins
in the diet, or from an increase in bacteria that normally produce
trimethylamine in the GI tract (also may make fish odor syndrome worse);
disease, kidney disease, poor hygiene,
gingivitis, and cases of blood-borne
halitosis. Diagnostic tests that help differentiate fish odor syndrome
(trimethylaminuria) from other causes of body odor are available at specialized
Fish odor syndrome symptoms have been seen temporarily in a small number of
premature infants and in healthy women at the start of menstruation, usually in
individuals that are heterozygous for the mutant FMO3 gene or due to immaturity
of the faulty FMO3 gene expression (FMO3 expression increases with age).
Fish odor syndrome treatment includes certain dietary restrictions, use of
acid lotions and soaps to remove secreted trimethylamine on the skin, use of
activated charcoal and copper chlorophyllin, certain antibiotics, laxatives, and
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