Cirrhosis And Bad Breath: What You Should Know About Fetor Hepaticus


Cirrhosis and bad breath, how are these two related? Bad breath is one of the various symptoms related to late-stage liver disease. If you experience bad breath due to cirrhosis of the liver, it is necessary to know what this says about your health.

Fetor Hepaticus

Breath of the dead or also known as Fetor Hepaticus is connected to severe liver disease and is one of the possible symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver. This condition is linked to high blood pressure within the liver vein that has been treated with a tube known as a portosystemic shunt (PSS).

Fetor Hepaticus can also be related to various health conditions such as alcohol poisoning, diabetes, and brain disorders. It can also be due to complications related to cirrhosis.


The breath causes a unique smell described as an odd combination of garlic and rotten eggs. However, other people describe the scent as being a little sweet. There are other symptoms that people experience including:

  • Confusion (HE)
  • Yellowish skin (jaundice)
  • Stomach swelling (ascites)
  • Easy bleeding
  • Swollen legs

If you start experiencing them, visit your doctor immediately.

What Causes It?

Fetor hepaticus is caused by cirrhosis of the liver that causes portal hypertension. This situation makes it tough for blood to move through the liver resulting in a buildup in veins around the liver.

When blood doesn’t move freely through the liver, it causes toxins to buildup in other body parts like the lungs. The unique smell could be the result of sulfur and oxygen that get trapped in the body.

Is It Curable?

The treatment relies on how the underlying liver condition will be treated. That may be hard to manage since fetor hepaticus is often associated with the late-liver disease.

If you have symptoms of fetor hepaticus but not with the liver disease yet, then the doctor will determine what health condition is causing it. The doctor may check about your medical history or may request some tests to check for your liver function.

While there’s no cure for cirrhosis it’s possible to slow down the liver scarring. Changing lifestyle such as eliminating alcohol intake, less to salt and regular exercise can help. This is important to help prevent the condition from progressing to the next stage of cirrhosis.

You can talk to your doctor and see which treatment option works best for you and your liver health.

Tips to Naturally Detoxify the Liver

  1. Use a castor oil pack. This remedy is a gentle/effective method to clear up the liver. Make sure to use the castor oil pack 3x or 4x per week. Avoid this option if you’re pregnant/breastfeeding, going through the menstrual cycle, or using IUD birth control.
  1. Drink fermented beet juice in the morning. Also known as kvass, this tonic is liver-friendly and a cinch to make. Beet juice has been a popular health drink for decades. It’s loaded with nutrients and is lower-carb than several other root vegetables.
  1. Slow down and reduce stress. If you have high-stress levels, this can affect the body’s functions, including the liver. Stress is the body’s normal response to deal with tough situations. However, if you constantly have high levels, this can cause various issues like malfunctioning organs. Make sure to do physical activity like exercise, sports, yoga, etc. to reduce stress levels.
  1. Eat healthy animal-sourced fat. Healthy fats can provide the body with liver-supporting nutrients. Some good options include beef/pork fat, eggs, butter, and raw dairy. In past decades health experts recommended vegetable oils over options like omega-6 oils and vegetable shortening. However, today there’s been a shift back to saturated fats/oils like coconut/olive oil and beef/pork fat.
  1. Reduce sugar intake. The recommended range is usually 20g to 30g per day. However, if you want to take it to the next level then follow a no-sugar diet. This can include just table sugar or even all-natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and agave.

Reducing sugar also doesn’t include healthy sources like veggies, dairy, and grains. A key issue is a liver is one of three human organs that help to balance blood sugar. Health experts blame sugar, along with fat and unhealthy fat as some of the main causes of health problems including cirrhosis and bad breath.

What Is Fetor Hepaticus

You May Also Like

Alcoholic Hepatitis vs Cirrhosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Cure
How to Treat Cirrhosis Naturally?