Study Solves Mystery of Woman's Decades-Long Fishy Smell

Australian doctors have explained the mystery behind the rotting fish smell one woman suffered with for 34 years, the Australian Associated Press reported.

In a study published in the October issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, doctors say the 41-year-old woman was diagnosed with an incurable genetic condition called trimethylaminuria, which affects the smell of sweat, breath and urine.

The woman has suffered with the disease since she was 7-years-old, but the path to diagnosis was difficult, Professor John Burnett, of the School of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Western Australia, said in the study.

The study's authors say the woman's condition was repeatedly dismissed by doctors as a psychological condition called "hygiene neurosis."

Researchers went on to say that they identified the genetic mutation, which triggers excess excretion of trimethylamine, a compound found in fish, by performing a series of tests on the woman that included being "sniffed," as well as vaginal swabs and vaginal cauterization.

The experience should be a warning to doctors to better recognize rare conditions which, while benign, have severe psychological effects, Burnett added.

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