Patient: Whenever I, my boyfriend, or both of us sleep in our bed for an extended period of time, we wake up to a smell. It smells a little like dirty feet, but different. Sometimes it smells like something spicy. It’s been worse lately in the summer (despite sleeping with a fan and opening the door/windows when we aren’t sleeping.) My boyfriend notices it when he comes home from work late and walks into the room when I’m sleeping. I notice it when he sleeps late and I walk into the room to get something. It only happens when we’re sleeping. We are very hygienic people (showering daily, wearing deodorant, brushing teeth, hair removal, appropriate cleanup after sex, no smoking, etc.) and we live in a very clean house (frequent vacuuming, disinfecting, changing the trash, not leaving food out/having expired food, killing bugs when we see them, changing the bedsheets and towels, no chance of mice or a dead animal around, etc.) Neither one of us has a problem with body odor, smelly feet, halitosis (other than the usual morning breath), etc. and we both usually only lay in bed when we are clean. We open the window in our bedroom during the day (and close it at night because it overlooks a main and loud area) and put a fan on at night. We know what our smelly laundry smells like, and it isn’t the smell of our detergent. We don’t usually fart a lot in bed, and it smells nothing like flatulence. It isn’t the smell of the shoes in the closet, it’s not morning breath, it’s not the carpets (freshly steam-cleaned), etc. etc. etc. We have ruled out everything except for the fact that the smell is coming from our own bodies and is given off while we sleep. He says it’s not a big deal, but I absolutely hate it. It smells gross and as someone who makes a big effort to be clean and have a clean house, it really isn’t working for me. After it happens, I smell the sheets and they don’t smell like it. I smell my boyfriend and no part of him smells like it. I smell myself and I smell clean (and he says I don’t smell like it.) What do I do about it? Is it bacteria leaving the body or something? I usually shower at night and go to bed really clean. My boyfriend showers in the morning but will shower at night after the gym. I really want it to go away. Is there something I can eat or drink/stop eating or drinking that will make it stop? It’s better when we leave the door open, but it’s not the room that smells. It’s us. 🙁 Help! I’ve never noticed this before with any partner, roommate or family member.
Symptoms: our bodies are giving off a smell
Doctor: Thank you for your question. This is a very peculiar condition that you are experiencing. It is possible that through y our best efforts to stay clean and keep a clean household environment this smell is still affecting you both. Medically speaking, we are not able to see any pathological reason for this unpleasant smell that you experience while sleeping. We recommend that you continue to monitor to see if this smell is actually emanating from your body or rather it may be coming from some other area of the room, such as the mattress. We apologize for not being able to shed much light on this, however from your description, we cannot find a medical etiology for this unpleasant odour.Thank you for choosing Askthedoctor.com