Skip to main content
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

What is that metallic body odor?

Asked by Laurie, Florida

Open quote
Close quote

Is it normal for a 12-year-old girl who has started her menstrual cycle for the first time, within the last six months to have a pungent, almost metallic, body odor? She gets teased for her smell all the time and we have tried everything to fix it.

Expert Bio Picture

Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Thanks for your question and I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's issue.

Adolescents definitely go through many changes during puberty. Body odors in particular may be caused by an increase in skin oils or sweat coming into contact with dirt, bacteria or dried blood.

Soap, laundry detergent, makeup, lotions and other products can also create pungent smells.

Sometimes such smells can be caused by certain medications or handling or wearing metallic objects. In addition, eating foods such as onions, garlic and strong spices may produce odors not previously noticed prior to puberty.

Is it possible to tell whether the odor is coming from a certain part of the body (nose, mouth, hands, feet, or armpits for example) or from the skin in general? Could it be related to her menstrual cycles?

Does she have any dental appliances in her mouth? Is she wearing certain sports articles regularly (shin guards, etc.) that may be the culprit?

Rarely odors may be a sign of a metabolic disorder or other imbalance, in which case blood or urine tests may be needed. It may be helpful to have your daughter checked out by her pediatrician to rule out a medical cause for the odor.

The doctor may recommend certain antibacterial cleansers or antiperspirants in addition to regular bathing and laundering clothes as well as any medical treatment if necessary.

I hope readers will share their advice for dealing with this type of situation in the comment area below. Good luck!

Follow Dr. Shu on Twitter

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
What are the potential problems with ovarian cysts?asked by: Asked by Jane Coles; Virginia
Why do I no longer need an antibiotic before teeth cleaning?asked by: Asked by Janet; Leeds
How frequently should a man urinate daily?asked by: Asked by Brian; Canada
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.