Woman diagnosed with ‘fish-odour syndrome’ shares what its like to live life constantly smelling of fish and onions.
Ever since Kelly Fidoe-White was young, she has been anxiously aware of her body odour.
Caused by a metabolic condition known as trimethylaminuria - more commonly called fish-odour syndrome - Kelly’s body is unable to process choline which is responsible for the smell in many pungent foods including fish, onions, and eggs.
Instead of digesting the choline, Kelly’s body gets rid of it through her sweat, breath, and urine.
‘That was difficult to deal with as a teenager,’ she explains in a video on YouTube in a series called Born Different.
To cope, Kelly would shower four times a day, change her uniform twice a day, and use whole cans of deodorant to attempt to mask the smell.
She’s on a cocktail of drugs to help fix the problem, but she says it’s hard to know if they work.
Kelly says her confidence received a massive boost when she married her husband, Michael, who says he’s used to her smell.
'When we were living together at the start I did notice it. But it wasn't straight away when we first started seeing each other - it was never a problem. I don't believe she tried to hide it either.
‘I think the best way of me helping her with the condition is to just be supportive about the condition.’
Kelly’s boss, Faysal Bashir, put her on the night shifts at her job as a radiographer after receiving complaints about the smell.
‘It's hard when you get these complaints as Kelly is a good friend,’ he says.
Kelly says having an official diagnosis has helped her cope with the anxiety of her condition a lot better.
'I am more chilled about it now. I can't say that if somebody complains tomorrow, I wouldn't still find it a little bit cutting. But I deal with it by educating that person now.'