What Is Fecal Body Odor?

Our bodies release odors through our sweat, urine and breath. Bad body odor is generally caused by a mixture of sweat and bacteria. However, body odor that smells like feces is often a symptom of bad diet, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or disease in which the bowels experience blockages that prevent the body from properly filtering and eliminating waste.

Fecal Body Odor

Fecal body odor may result when toxins are released back into the bloodstream. This is caused when there is a bowel obstruction in the small or large intestines, as well as a defunct or blocked colon 1. In addition to fecal body odor, accompanying symptoms may also include abdominal pain, vomiting and bloating. Waste elimination problems, such as constipation or diarrhea, may also occur as a result of a blockage in the large intestines or colon.


Poor diet, especially one that is low in fiber, can result in hard stools or constipation. Your colon is your body’s sewage system, and therefore maintaining its efficiency is critical to your health 2. The inability to process your body’s waste can lead to malnutrition, in addition to other physical problems. Ineffective and infrequent waste disposal can lead to a build up of fecal matter along your colon walls. In time, the feces will decay and release toxins back into your bloodstream.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that is often accompanied by constant abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea. Researchers have yet to find the actual cause for this condition but have largely concluded that it may be a result of a colon or large intestines sensitive to certain foods or stress. IBS does not permanently harm its victims, though can cause great discomfort. However, people with IBS can control their bowel movements with the help of diet, exercise and prescribed medication.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome occurs when there is damage done to the intestinal lining 3. This triggers an autoimmune effect that leads to gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, food sensitivity, cramps and excessive gas.

Trimethylaminuria (TMAU)

TMAU is a rare metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to process the compound trimethylamine. However, in some instances the odor can be similar to the smell of feces. People who suffer from fecal body odor may opt to test for TMAU.