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What causes itching throughout body, psoriasis on spine, elbow and eyelids?

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Posted on Tue, 23 Jun 2015
Question: I am a 48 year old male in good physical condition...I lift and jog regularly and run a half marathon nearly monthly.

For about 3 months my skin has had a sweet smell that tends to ebb and flow during the week. Usually in the morning the smell is fainter, but once I get moving it tends to increase. I don't believe it is due to sweating. My skin also tends to itch throughout; however, not enough to where I am scratching myself raw. I was told by an allergist that I have no allergies which would cause the problem and I was given Triamcinolone Acetonide to treat a psoriasis condition that had developed at the base of my spine, elbows, and above my eyelids. I have been tested twice in the past two months for my fasting glucose levels and they are normal. I am not gaining or losing weight, nor do I have excessive thirst, so I don't believe it is diabetes. I have no family history of diabetes either. I have noticed that when I drink several beers (3-4) that the smell is greater the following day.

I recently started on Vitamin D supplements due to a low Vitamin count (I live in the Pacific NW), so I was hoping it might have been caused by that but now that my Vitamin D levels are approaching the normal range I see no change in my condition. I also saw an increase in my cholesterol levels at the same time for which I have been prescribed lipitor. My blood pressure is low. I had a CRP done and it was normal. I began taking OTC probiotics (30-50billion/10strain) to see if there might have been a yeast infection in my blood, but it doesn't seem to change the condition.

Physically I don't feel tired or weak. If it were not for the smell of my skin and the occasional scratching I would I think I was perfectly healthy. Nothing in the battery of testing I have had so far indicates a disease or metabolic disorder to my physician. I don't have AIDS nor am I HIV positive. I am at a complete loss as to what my be causing the condition. My health care provider has no more answers/recommendations. Any ideas?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Measures to reduce body odour

Detailed Answer:
Hello. Thank you for writing to us.

I have gone through your query in detail and i have understood your concern.

You being an incredibly healthy individial and a non diabetic it does'nt seem to me that there is an underlying metabolic Or an internal condition responsible for body odour.

I would like to clarify from you... Has anyone else complained to you about your body odour?

Body odour is commonly due to bacterial action on human sweat.

I suggest you to practice certain general measures like...

1. Apart from maintaining a good hygeine and bathing twice daily you may use an antibacterial soap for bath.
Reducing bacterial population on skin would reduce production of odoriferous breakdown products due to bacterial action on human sweat.
2. Regular shaving or trimming of body hair (e.g. armpits) would reduce sweat accumulation as well as reduce bacterial growth.
3. Certain foods like garlic and hot spices, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine etc can also lead to body odour. You may avoid these.
4. Use a talcum powder on your body to keep it dry.
5. Specifically for underarm region i would suggest that you use a deodorant Or an antiperspirant lotion e.g drysol which contains aluminium chloride hexahydrate 20%. This would help both ways by reducing sweating as well as reducing bacterial growth.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (7 hours later)
Thanks. This is not ordinary body odor....this is a distinct scent that is constantly with me even after I shower...which I do regularly. The odor is only noticeable by those who directly smell the skin. One nurse told me it smells like "Juicy Fruit." The scent is present throughout my body (hands, arms, legs) and is not confined to the underarm region. It is fainter in the morning when I first awake, but increases as I start my day....I do not notice it becoming stronger after I work out. Any other ideas?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (15 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Lipitor could be a possible reason

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

Lipitor can rarely cause a fruity odour in breath. It is one of the rare side effects with this medicine. This drug may be a possible reason for your body odour too.

The fact that you started noticing fruity body odour round about the same time when you also had raised cholesterol and was subsequently started on lipitor goes in favor of this.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (10 hours later)
Thank you. I noticed the smell and scratching before I started on lipitor. It was as a result of my symptoms I went to the doctor to discover I had very low vitamin D levels and a cholesterol spike of more than 60 points with no change in diet. Could there be a linkage between low vitamin D, high cholesterol, and perhaps bacterial growth on the skin. Again I notice the scent is faint when I awake and increases as I get moving in the day. I shower in the mornings after I work ou, but working out by itself doesn't necessarily make the smell increase. I'm at a loss.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (9 hours later)
Brief Answer:
I would stick to my advice related to general measures

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

I would stick to my earlier advice related to general measures in my first reply.

Dietary factors if implicated need to be addressed like avoiding garlic and hot spices, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine etc

There is no possible explanation between low Vitamin D levels, raised cholesterol and bacterial overgrowth that could lead to body odour.

Even though a nurse had also acknowledged that you had a fruity body odour but still I would suggest you to take another opinion from a neurologist, as rarely an organic lesion of CNS may cause a false perception of body odour.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (3 hours later)
Thanks for the insight. I failed to mention my wife, my in-laws, and my allergenist noticed the sweet smell to my skin in addition to the nurse.

I don't touch garlic or hot spices so I'll cut out coffee and see where that leads me.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (10 hours later)
Brief Answer:
You are welcome

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

I hope it helps.

Thank you for writing to us
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Kakkar S.

Dermatologist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 9441 Questions

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What causes itching throughout body, psoriasis on spine, elbow and eyelids?

Brief Answer: Measures to reduce body odour Detailed Answer: Hello. Thank you for writing to us. I have gone through your query in detail and i have understood your concern. You being an incredibly healthy individial and a non diabetic it does'nt seem to me that there is an underlying metabolic Or an internal condition responsible for body odour. I would like to clarify from you... Has anyone else complained to you about your body odour? Body odour is commonly due to bacterial action on human sweat. I suggest you to practice certain general measures like... 1. Apart from maintaining a good hygeine and bathing twice daily you may use an antibacterial soap for bath. Reducing bacterial population on skin would reduce production of odoriferous breakdown products due to bacterial action on human sweat. 2. Regular shaving or trimming of body hair (e.g. armpits) would reduce sweat accumulation as well as reduce bacterial growth. 3. Certain foods like garlic and hot spices, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine etc can also lead to body odour. You may avoid these. 4. Use a talcum powder on your body to keep it dry. 5. Specifically for underarm region i would suggest that you use a deodorant Or an antiperspirant lotion e.g drysol which contains aluminium chloride hexahydrate 20%. This would help both ways by reducing sweating as well as reducing bacterial growth. Regards