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Odd Smelling Stools

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I have been having odd smelling, light colored stools off and on for the last six weeks that have a chemical odor (that I can only describe as smelling like mothballs). I've had numerous tests (abdominal cat scan, ultrasound, and hida), radiologic and blood tests all of which are normal. I've recently developed itching all over with no rash. I am not overweight. My appetite has diminished lately and I have lost maybe 3-4 pounds in the last month. I think I must be crazy since all of my medical tests have been normal, but how do I imagine this type of problem with my stools?


Anyone ever heard of or had a similar problem?


Thanks,

ddl
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First Helper ddlawyer
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Users who thank ddlawyer for this post: 2weird2mention 

replied July 5th, 2008
Stomach problems
I know the feeling i have been having trouble out of my stomach for over ten years and i haven't found out what is wrong with me yet. I have the fishy smelling stool, that is sometimes very loose and shapeless. I have had pretty much every test that i can think of but they turn out to be normal, but i don't feel normal. I was starting to think that maybe it was in my head, but after coming to this site i see that i am not alone. If you can find out what's wrong with you please keep in touch.
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replied June 5th, 2009
You should both get tested for something called H Pylori. It can cause the symptoms you describe and has been known to cause peptic ulcers. I was misdiagnosed with IBS because, like you, all the other tests came up negative. My doctor explained when that happens they diagnose you with IBS, which loosely translated means they have no idea what is causing your abdominal pain. It took me 10 years to get the proper diagnosis and my abdominal pain was gone 3 days into taking the meds (usually acid reducer like prilosec along with 2 different antibiotics). H Pylori can be diagnosed with simple blood test, or even a breath test. Good Luck, hope this helps.
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replied February 16th, 2010
Ddl - your post
Ddl? What ended up being the problem? I have similar symptoms.
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replied September 26th, 2010
I have a theory...that the "mothball" smell is a related to your (the original poster's) weight loss. I have been dieting and losing weight recently, and have been experiencing that exact same smell. My guess is that the smell is a result of the digestive system processing body fat. But even if my theory is correct, it does not address the posters underlying problem of appetite and weight loss.

Anyone have similar experience with "mothball" smell while dieting or losing weight?
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replied September 26th, 2010
P.S. Just googled some more and found TONS of references to "mothball" smell during times of weight loss. Not sure what the technical explanation is, but the connection seems pretty certain.
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replied October 30th, 2010
I have had the same problem recently. Just had stool samples taken for several bacterial type infections and all were negative. This weird smell has been coming out in my flatulence and stool for about 6 weeks. When it first occurred i had a non-stop release of gas for an entire night and the bedroom was reeking. It doesn't happen every day but it re-emerges frequently. We just moved to VA from NJ around 8 weeks ago. Maybe there's something environmental (a pollen?) here in VA that is causing it? I'm not sure.
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replied March 4th, 2012
Some problem. Is this the reason why as follows? Apparently ten percent of people have in their gut archaea (which are discrete from bacteria on the tree of life). These microscopic archea produce hydrogen and methane as a bi-product. This may be the smell. Also some people have microbes which may or may not be the same lifeform and these help physically breakdown carbohydrates contained in the cellulose cells of plants, thereby making your calorie intake higher causing weight gain. Tests for H.Pylori bacteria would not show archaea on account of the tree of life.
Can a doctor confrim any of this?
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replied May 13th, 2013
Celiac Disease

Get tested
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replied May 13th, 2013
Celiac Disease

Get tested
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replied March 20th, 2014
Stools that smell of mothballs
The odor of mothballs is not uncommon in healthy adult subjects and is due to the presence in such stools of indole, skatole (3-methyl-indole), or both. These compounds are formed in the human gut from tryptophan by microbial action.
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