Are my sinuses fooling me into smelling poop?

I’ve been searching for the source of this smell for a while. I finally got very paranoid that the smell is somehow emanating from me, because there is no evidence of said poop anywhere, and it seems to go with me whither I goeth. But my friends assure me, I think honestly, that I don’t smell like poop. And examining and sniffing my clothes, my skin, my shoes, every reachable part of my body–no poop smell. Yet I still smell it!!!
So what the hell? I have a slight sinus/nasal inflammation, and what feels like the very earliest stages of bronchitis–tight cough high in my chest, dry but irritated sinuses. Could that be it? It’s kind of worrisome.

How old are you? Whats your health history? Could be some drainage from your infection or a freakin tumor. Get it checked out, but don’t lose any sleep as it could just be nothing and go away.

I’m 47. Not much health history except that I have reflux in one kidney and have had some problems and frequent infections over the years. No history, as far back as my family tree goes, of cancer on either side, which of course doesn’t rule out a tumor.
I don’t smoke, am slightly overweight, have a typical crappy American diet. I know I have impacted wisdom teeth, but they are not currently painful or inflamed as they sometimes are.
I’m thinking it may be the infection–I notice that when I cough, I get a sort of wave of stink that I notice. Driving me crazy!

If you are interested in reading more about your “Phantom Smells” and other similar disorders check out this article:

So to clarify, you can smell other smells without a problem, but the poop is subtle and constant throughout the day? Food tastes normal?

Quote from the article:
“AIDS can initially present with smell loss,” he says. “Or it could be anything from vitamin deficiency to Alzheimer’s to hypothyroidism to head trauma to stroke to diabetes to medication to leprosy.”

One quick way to test whether your sense of smell is diminished is to dish up a bowl of ice cream.

“Take some vanilla ice cream and some chocolate ice cream and see if you can taste the difference,” says Hirsch, who says ninety percent of taste is smell. “If you can’t smell, they both taste the same.”

I should say as far back as I know my family history, lest someone ask me about my great-greats. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I can smell other odors fine, but the poop smell is sort of…like if you stepped in something on your way to work, and periodically caught yourself wondering where the smell is coming from…like that. Food tastes normal.
There for a couple of days, the smell was more like blood. At that point (and still occasionally) I have a bloody taste in my mouth too.
Ugh. This is kind of gross. Sorry.

I would probably start the anti-biotics and after a week or so see if there is any change which could rule out the infection issue. Mouth-wash a few times a day, check your blood sugar levels to see if they are normal. See if you can get somebody to smell your breath, this will show if you are imagining it or not.

Cavity/ gum trouble?

There’s the wisdom tooth issue–impacted, definitely troublesome but I can tell when it’s inflamed and it doesn’t seem to be at the moment. I brush my teeth and use mouthwash frequently, even at work. Tomorrow I will buttonhole my work buddy and make her sniff me again, and maybe the nurse could check my blood sugar.

Not just sniff you, sniff your breath/mouth, and try not to tell her/him what to smell for. I know its weird. I don’t know if it costs money where you are to see the doctor, but I would recommend it. Good luck! I will check back tomorrow see how it goes :slight_smile:

Yeah, probably coming down with somethin’. I get a particular foul odor thing which precedes (and accompanies) a very specific and particular shade of green/yellow snot. Happens about once a year. It’s rather unpleasant.

If you have insurance, I’d see a doc for a culture. I have no idea if it’s bacteria or viral (I don’t have insurance, so I’ve never seen a doctor for it.) but if it’s bacterial, you may want some antibiotics, especially given your kidney and infections history.

It may be a gum infection or something to do with oral hygiene. A lot of time, this causes one’s breath to have that smell.

I’ve noticed a not-pleasant scent when coughing with bronchitis. One of my cats has chronic sinus infections and when his breathing is smelly is when I know to start him on antibiotics.

Could be tonsil stones. They are little blobs of…gunk…that can accumulate in the crevices of your tonsils.

(That article has some semi-gross pictures, just to warn you.)

Exactly what I was going to suggest. Get a flashlight and look.

An upper respiratory nasal infection can present some unpleasant smells, but they are typically not “poo like” just kind of funky. However, a nasal infection would usually be fairly obvious with congestion and snot.

A tonsil stone smell would be closer to poo than anything else.

This is a longshot, but could it be an olfactory hallucination?

My sister visited some friends who hadn’t emptied their cat-box in too damn long. She kept on smelling cat poop for DAYS. For my part, I once had to do a nasty bit of household plumbing, which involved direct personal contact with poop, and I, too, smelled a phantom smell of it for days. A strong odor can get into your mind that way.

I have a friend who has tonsil stones and if anyone will shoot me straight about such things, it would be her. I did consider that but if I’ve ever had one, I sure didn’t know it–although I don’t know how you can tell, actually. I’ll ask her to check it out for me.
Meanwhile, I’ll hit up my sniffing friend today. It’s actually gotten better since yesterday, so I’m leaning toward infection or phantom smell.
No insurance, unfortunately, but if necessary I can go to the walk-in clinic. I’d just like to have something more symptomatic than “I smell poop.” I also do have that experience of smelling something for days afterwards, as if the smell lodges in my nose or something. I’ll see how things go today.
Thanks for the interesting advice and ideas. :slight_smile:

Yes, though the smell of those - while definitely unpleasant - has never reminded me of poop or blood.

Consider adding a saltwater gargle and/or try a neti pot or saline nasal spray for a few days and see if it makes any kind of difference.

Have you changed soap or shampoo lately? or laundry detergent? Maybe something is cross-reacting? I can’t find a cite right now but I once read that some shampoos have an ingredient that reacts with some soaps, releasing an ammonia-y smell reminiscent of urine. While that’s not your particular issue, that’s why I suggested checking that out.

Any dietary changes lately?

I had something like this (although the smell I smelt was cheesy-unwashed-people) - went on forever. Doctor suggested I had a mild case of rhinitis and prescribed a steroid spray - problem went away almost immediately (in fact, probably too quickly to be attributable to the steroids - it might just have been the sprayed moisture).