Posted by: Chris Maloney | October 19, 2012

Smelly Shoes: Hypothyroidism and Sensitivity

Alopecia on the tail typical of canine hypothy...

Alopecia on the tail typical of canine hypothyroidism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we think about hypothyroidism, we think of weight gain, dry hair, lower body temperature and fatigue.

But here is a wonderful case of a man who reported how smelly his feet were, showing increased sensitivity during hypothyroidism.  I would speculate that a decreased metabolism leads to increased sensitivity to unpleasant odors.  Sort of a protective mechanism against ingesting difficult to metabolize foods?

The abstract is below, but here is a link to the free article.

J Midlife Health. 2012 Jan;3(1):45-6.

Modified shoe for adjusting hard stuffy and smelly sole: An uncommon accompaniment of hypothyroidism.


Department of Medicine, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research and HAH Centenary Hospital, Jamia Hamdard, Hamdard University, New Delhi, India.


Disorders of smell and taste are both neglected as well as underreported problems of hypothyroidism. A 35-year-old male presented with intolerance to cold, dryness of skin, and swelling of both feet and some foul smelling odor from his feet. When we examined his feet we found that instead of wearing his shoes properly he had just slipped his feet inside the shoe so that the odor from his feet is not smelled by us. Although this symptom was largely ignored by many doctors, the literature mentions that patients of hypothyroidism may perceive dysosmia (distortion of smell) and hyposmia (elevated threshold for detection of smell).


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