Merck Manual

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Olfactory Reference Disorder

(Olfactory Reference Syndrome; Jikoshu-kyofu)

By

Katharine Anne Phillips

, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College;


Dan J. Stein

, MD, PhD, University of Cape Town

Medically Reviewed Jun 2021 | Modified Sep 2022
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In olfactory reference disorder (often called olfactory reference syndrome), people are preoccupied with the belief that they give off an unpleasant, foul-smelling, or offensive body odor when in fact they do not.

People with olfactory reference disorder believe that they have an offensive body odor even though they do not. This belief causes them significant distress and usually makes them less able to function—for example, by preventing them from going out in public. Olfactory reference disorder has similarities with body dysmorphic disorder Body Dysmorphic Disorder In body dysmorphic disorder, a preoccupation with one or more nonexistent or slight defects in appearance results in significant distress and/or impairs functioning. People typically spend hours... read more and is classified as an obsessive-compulsive and related disorder.

Usually, people with olfactory reference disorder repeatedly do certain things, such as showering excessively, brushing their teeth, or checking themselves for body odor (for example, by smelling themselves), in response to this preoccupation. These people often use excessive perfume, deodorant, or mouthwash to try to cover up the odor that they think they have. They may also think that others are sitting far away, covering their noses, or taking special notice of them in a negative way because of the perceived odor.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Anafranil
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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