The human body produces two different types of sweat. Eccrine is the first type, and it is an odorless, clear sweat. Eccrine is secreted all over the human body by the eccrine glands, which regulate body temperature. The second type of sweat is apocrine, which is a thicker sweat secreted in the underarm and groin regions by the apocrine glands.
Effects of Diabetes on Body Odor
Sweat is odorless until it reacts with lingering bacteria on the skin's surface, which creates body odor. A foreign element, defect in the human body, or poor hygiene can be a factor in bacteria build-up. Diabetes can change the way body odor smells. Diabetics often produce a sweet-smelling, somewhat fruity body odor. The scent is very distinctive. Insulin used to treat diabetes can also cause an acetone-like smell.
When diabetes isn't controlled or corrected, it can lead to ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when sugar, also known as glucose, is not available as a fuel source by the body. When this happens, fat is used instead. At this point, byproducts of fat called ketones emerge. The ketones then build up in the body. When this occurs, the skin of a diabetic patient may taste sweet and produce a detectable odor. Often times the odor can be detected in the mouth, with fruity breath.
What to Try
Taking medicine regularly, eating properly, and maintaining good hygiene habits may help with odor associated with diabetes. A diabetic should ask his health care provider how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates are required in his daily diet. A registered dietician or nutritionist can help with dietary needs as well.