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Fruity Odor on Breath: 3 Causes and How to Treat It

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Last updated August 29, 2020

Fruity breath quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your fruity breath.

Understand your fruity odor on breath symptoms, including 3 causes and common questions.

3 most common cause(s)

Liver Failure
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Illustration of a person thinking with cross bandaids.
Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS)

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3 causes of fruity odors on breath

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Liver failure

Acute liver failure occurs when the liver suddenly struggles to function properly or stop working completely.

Acute liver failure is a very serious disease requiring immediate medical attention. It would be prudent to go to the emergency room immediately.

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS)

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state is a very serious sudden complication of type 2 diabetes in which blood sugar is dangerously high.

This is a medical emergency. You will most likely be admitted to the hospital and receive fluids and electrolytes.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: nausea or vomiting, being severely ill, severe fatigue, fruity odor on breath, frequent urination

Symptoms that always occur with hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (hhs): being severely ill

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is a serious complication of diabetes.

If the body does not have enough blood glucose (blood sugar) available for energy, it will burn fat instead. This forms ketones in the blood. If the ketones build up, the blood becomes too acidic and can begin to poison the body.

DKA can occur if a diabetic patient does not use enough insulin or does not eat enough food, which can easily happen if the patient becomes ill.

The condition is most common in Type 1 diabetics, though it can happen with Type 2 as well.

Early symptoms include dry mouth; increased urination; and high blood sugar levels. Later symptoms are fatigue; vomiting; mental confusion; difficulty breathing; and a sweet, fruity odor on the breath.

Diabetic ketoacidosis can be a life-threatening medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, blood testing, and urine testing.

Treatment is usually done while the patient is hospitalized and involves fluids, electrolytes, and insulin.

Questions your doctor may ask about fruity odor on breath

  • Have you recently suffered from an infection of any kind including a cold or the flu?
  • Are you feeling less alert than normal?
  • Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Have you felt excessively thirsty?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

Fruity odor on breath symptom checker statistics

People who have experienced fruity odor on breath have also experienced:

  • 7% Fatigue
  • 6% Chronically Bad Breath
  • 4% Headache

People who have experienced fruity odor on breath were most often matched with:

  • 35% Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • 35% Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome (Hhs)
  • 30% Liver Failure

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.

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