Smelly Breath Could Be a Liver Problem

Chronic bad breath isn’t just because you didn’t brush your teeth or ate garlic the night before, it could indicate a serious liver problem.

Bad Breath and Liver Disease

The smell can indicate an underlying health condition if your bad breath isn’t going away. For instance, one specific odor could be due to liver disease, the Cleveland Clinic points out. 

If your breath has a strong, musty smell similar to rotten eggs and garlic—it can be a sign your liver is having difficulty filtering out toxins, an issue that likely stems from liver diseaseNancy Moyer, MD, wrote for Healthline.

The condition, fetor hepaticus, which is nicknamed “breath of the dead,” is a result of toxic sulfur substances making their way into other parts of your body.

“When blood doesn’t pass easily through your liver, the toxic substances that would usually be filtered out by your liver make their way to other parts of your body, including your lungs,” Moyer explains. “When this happens, you might smell traces of these substances when you exhale.”

Liji Thomas, MD, describes it as having breath that is “sweetish, musty, and occasionally fecal in nature,” she wrote for News Medical.

What is Fetor Hepaticus?

According to WebMD, Fetor hepaticus is a chronic odor in your breath. It’s different from normal bad breath. Usually, your breath is affected by what you eat. You might have an unpleasant odor in the morning.

The scent of fetor hepaticus is more distinct and smells like sulfur. It happens as a result of liver disease.

Experts warn it is a sign that your liver is having trouble doing its job of filtering out toxic substances, usually due to severe liver disease.

As a result, sulfur substances end up in your bloodstream and can make their way to your lungs.

Fetor hepaticus is associated with severe liver disease, which causes scarring and poor functioning of your liver. 

Your Liver

One of the liver’s main functions is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body. As well as this, the liver detoxifies chemicals and digests drugs the body ingests. The liver, as with all of our crucial organs, is one we should look after.

Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, people can still develop fatty liver disease. A foul-smelling breath may be present when this condition ensues, a warning of your risk.  

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