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Children's Health

Sweet smelling

01/23/2009

Question:

My 2yo has a distinctive sweet smell to him on occasion. Initially I thought it was his urine but I have since realized it`s his sweat. It`ve very noticable when he sweats in the night- his pajamas all reek of sweetness. I mentioned it to his old ped. and was told that he was tested for Maple Syrup disease at birth and was negative. Is there anything else that causes sweet smelling sweat?

Answer:

Thank you very much for the question. Judging for the information you have shared, it is difficult to make a diagnosis. However, there are some conditions that can lead to sweet odors. Certainly, one should consider diabetes. In young children with abnormal odors, one should consider metabolic disorders such as maple syrup urine disease and others. It is probably worthwhile to discuss this again with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician may want to refer your son to a metabolic specialist. 

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Response by:

Stephen E Wilson, MD, MSc Stephen E Wilson, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati