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September 29, 2003


Question from El Paso, Texas, USA:

For the last few weeks, I have noticed that my almost five year old daughter, diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 19 months, has developed odor under her arms. I didn't think that would happen until puberty. Is this a symptom of her diabetes? If so, what is causing it?


The chemistry of the smell of human sweat is not very developed, but I doubt that what you notice is due to diabetes or premature puberty. One possibility is that it is bacterial colonization. You might see if an antiseptic soap makes any difference.

Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:

You are correct, the odor is associated with puberty, not diabetes. It may be something or nothing. Ask your daughter’s endocrinologist about it. The doctor will know how to investigate.