woman with brown hair and pink overallsholding her nose due to a terrible smell

Poop Smells Like Death or a Dead Body: Exploring the Causes and Solutions

A Poop that Smells like Death or a Dead Body is something many of us don’t encounter very often, but when a scent resembling death permeates the air, it can be quite unsettling.

The smell of poop, particularly when it’s reminiscent of a dead body, elicits a sense of disgust and repulsion in people.

Find out why a death like smell to your stools could be happening and what to do about it.


  • Foul-smelling poop, particularly when it smells like death or a dead body, can be caused by bacterial and parasitic infections, malabsorption and digestive disorders, dietary factors, and certain medications and supplements.
  • Understanding the mechanisms behind the smell of poop and its similarity to the smell of death or a dead body provides insight into the complex processes and chemical reactions that occur in both decomposition and the breakdown of fecal matter.
  • To address foul-smelling poop, it is crucial to identify the underlying cause through proper diagnosis by a healthcare professional. Dietary modifications and medical interventions, such as antibiotics or enzyme supplements, may be necessary. It is important to seek professional guidance if the smell persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

Causes of Poop Smelling Like Death

Bacterial and Parasitic Infections

One common cause of foul-smelling poop is bacterial and parasitic infections. These infections can result in putrid-smelling stool due to the presence of bacteria such as Salmonella, and parasites like giardiasis.

Infections may be accompanied by diarrhea, bloating, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat bacterial infections, while specific medications may be used to combat parasitic infections.

Malabsorption and Digestive Disorders

Disorders affecting the digestive system can also lead to foul-smelling poop. Malabsorption, where the body cannot properly absorb nutrients, can cause foul odors due to undigested food components.

Examples of malabsorption disorders include celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and short bowel syndrome. Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can contribute to foul-smelling stool as well.

Chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis are other examples of conditions that can affect the digestion and absorption of nutrients, causing foul-smelling poop.

Dietary Factors

The food we eat plays a significant role in the smell of our poop. Some dietary factors that contribute to foul-smelling stool include:

  • High sulfur-containing foods: These include foods like eggs, some vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), and meats high in sulfates. Sulfates can produce hydrogen sulfide gas, which has a rotten egg odor.
  • High-fat and rancid foods: A diet high in fat may lead to foul-smelling stool, as fats can release chemicals that contribute to a strong odor. Consuming spoiled or rancid food can also cause a foul smell.
  • Food allergies and intolerances: Some food sensitivities can result in foul-smelling poop due to inadequate digestion and absorption of those specific food components.

Medications and Supplements

Certain medications and supplements can contribute to foul-smelling poop. Antibiotics, for example, can alter the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to foul-smelling stools.

Additional medications, such as those used to treat cancer and HIV, can also cause changes in stool odor. Some supplements, like calcium and certain vitamins, can produce a distinctive odor in stool.

In many cases, foul-smelling poop is temporary and can be resolved by addressing the various factors like infections, dietary changes, or medication adjustments.

However, if the issue persists or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

young man holding nose and holding his hand out in a stopping motion

Mechanisms Behind the Smell

Chemical Compounds

One of the primary reasons that poop might smell like death or a dead body is due to the presence of certain chemical compounds found in both feces and decomposing bodies.

Two such compounds are cadaverine and putrescine, both of which are produced by the breakdown of amino acids in a decaying body or rotting flesh.

Additionally, compounds like skatole, which is commonly associated with feces odor, also contribute to the rank smell of poop (That’s disgusting: Unraveling the mysteries of repulsion).

Gases Produced

During decomposition and the breakdown of fecal matter, numerous gases are produced as byproducts, such as methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia (Don’t look, don’t touch, don’t eat: The science behind revulsion).

The combination of these gases, along with the aforementioned chemical compounds, creates an unpleasant odor that can be reminiscent of death or a decomposing body.

Gas Sources during Decomposition
Methane Anaerobic bacterial breakdown
Carbon Dioxide Respiration and fermentation
Hydrogen Sulfide Breakdown of proteins
Ammonia Breakdown of urea and amino acids

Overall, understanding the mechanisms behind the smell of poop and its similarity to the smell of death or a dead body provides insight into the complex processes and chemical reactions that occur in both decomposition and the breakdown of fecal matter.

While the processes might be different, the resulting odors share many similarities due to the presence of specific compounds and the release of various gases.

man holding nose with a plad shirt and orange background

Diagnosis and Treatment Of Death Smell In Poop

Identifying the Cause

When poop smells like death or a dead body, it’s essential to identify the cause. Several factors can contribute to unusually foul-smelling stool, including infections, malabsorption syndromes, and certain medical conditions.

It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional to determine the root cause, as proper diagnosis is the first step towards effective treatment.

Some underlying medical conditions that can cause foul-smelling poop include inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, short bowel syndrome, and chronic pancreatitis.

Infections, including bacterial or parasitic infections like giardiasis, can also result in foul-smelling stool.

Dietary Modifications

Dietary changes can help alleviate foul-smelling poop. Factors such as the foods people eat, especially those high in sulfates, alcohol, or fiber, can affect the smell of stool.

To curb foul-smelling poop, consider:

  • Limiting high-sulfur foods: Meat, dairy, onions, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables.
  • Reducing alcohol intake.
  • Increasing high-fiber foods: Fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Identifying possible food allergies or intolerances: Lactose, gluten, or specific ingredients.
  • Drinking enough water to promote regular bowel movements.

Medical Interventions

If the cause of foul-smelling stool stems from an underlying health problem, proper medical intervention is necessary.

Treatments will depend on the specific condition; however, some possible medical interventions include:

  • Antibiotics: For bacterial infections like gastroenteritis or salmonella.
  • Antiparasitic medication: In cases of parasitic infections like giardiasis.
  • Enzyme supplements: For individuals with cystic fibrosis or malabsorption syndromes.
  • Medications for inflammation: In cases of inflammatory bowel diseases such as colitis or ulcerative colitis.
  • Addressing constipation: Using stool softeners or laxatives, as prescribed by a healthcare professional.

It’s crucial to consult a healthcare practitioner to discuss the appropriate medical interventions for your specific situation.

Remember to always follow the professional’s advice, maintain a balanced diet, and keep track of any changes in your poop’s


When to Consult a Professional

It’s normal for feces to have an unpleasant odor, but when the smell becomes unusually strong and resembles death or a dead body, it could be an indicator of a larger issue.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional when you notice persistent changes in the smell of your stools or any other concerning symptoms.

There can be several reasons for your poop to smell like death, and many of them are related to your diet or lifestyle.

However, some causes may be related to underlying medical conditions that require professional guidance, such as:

  • Infections: Gastrointestinal infections, like those caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, can result in foul-smelling stools. In many cases, these infections clear up on their own or require minimal medical intervention, but seeking medical advice is recommended.
  • Digestive Concerns: Conditions like lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can lead to changes in bowel movements and result in a strong, unpleasant odor.
  • Malabsorption: Problems with nutrient absorption in the gastrointestinal tract can cause steatorrhea, which is characterized by fatty, strong-smelling stools. Malabsorption may be a sign of conditions like celiac disease or pancreatic insufficiency.

When to consult a professional about your feces smell:

  • If the smell persists for several days and is not linked to a change in diet or lifestyle
  • If the strong odor is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or unexpected weight loss
  • In case of bloody or black, tarry stools

Being aware of any changes in your bowel movements and their smell is crucial for identifying potential health problems.

If you are concerned about the odor of your stools and suspect an underlying medical condition, seek the guidance of a healthcare professional.

They can help diagnose and treat any issues and provide you with the appropriate advice on how to manage your condition.