Woman Suffers From Rare Condition Which Means She Constantly Smells Of Fish
A woman who suffers from a condition which makes her constantly smell of fish has been made to work night shifts because her colleagues can't work with her.
Kelly Fidoe-White, from Oldham, suffers from Trimethylaminuria which is more commonly referred to as 'fish odour syndrome'.
She's unfortunately suffered from the odd condition since she was young, enduring years of teasing at school. Trimethylaminuria is a metabolic illness that makes the sufferer exude potent smells like rotten fish, onion and faeces. Luckily Kelly doesn't walk around smelling like poo, but has described her odour as 'fishy-oniony', meaning that's three out of two.
The 36-year-old suffers from severe anxiety due to the years of bullying and torment she's received, which hasn't been helped by work colleagues complaining about her smell at The Royal Oldham Hospital.
In the past she's showered twice a day, changed her uniform twice and used whole bottles of deodorant to try and mask the smell, but her efforts have been in vain.
"Besides the smell itself, there are very few other symptoms at all and of course you have the side effects of anxiety, social isolation - it's hard," Kelly told Barcroft. "As far as I know, this condition affects 300 to 600 people worldwide - it's not very well known."
'Fish odour syndrome' occurs because the person's body is unable to break down certain compounds found in foods that contain a substance called choline. This means that their body leaks a pungent smell through sweat, breath and urine. Unfortunately, as a horrible coincidence, Kelly has no sense of smell, so can't really tell when she's beginning to emit the smell.
"There is no magic pill that you can take to make it better, I personally take a cocktail of medications," she said. "One of the things they [the doctors] turn around and say to you is: 'If it smells going in, it's going to smell going out.'
"So things like fish and seafood are major triggers."
Though she noticed things were afoot during her school years, she only got the official diagnosis of Trimethylaminuria two years ago as many doctors couldn't find the answer. She wonders whether it's something she naturally developed, or if it was passed to her genetically.
"There was more than one occasion where I would say: 'I've had fish paste sandwiches for my lunch,' when kids would say 'You smell like fish.'
"That was difficult to deal with as a teenager.
"I was spending a stupid amount of time in the shower just before my diagnosis. Using red hot water, scrubbing until my skin was bright red and it was just too stressful."
Despite the smell, Kelly met Michael 16 years ago and ended up marrying him. She claims that he makes the ordeal a whole lot easier, as he loves her in spite of the odour.
"Kelly's smell has sometimes affected me in a negative manner but I haven't said anything to Kelly," 45-year-old Michael said. "I've just kept it to myself.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.
"Kelly wasn't that confident when we first met - and I think the best way of me helping her with the condition is to just be supportive.
"If that was me living with the condition, I think I would struggle to do as much as Kelly does."
Now that she works mostly night shifts as a radiographer at Royal Oldham Hospital, she's managed to get a buddy in Faysal Bashir, who works alongside Kelly as a CT/MR radiographer.
They've developed a relationship where they can communicate and Faysal can tell her when she needs to freshen up.
Featured Image Credit: Barcroft