Smells in Urine or Feces: Helpful tools

I often get asked about odd smells in urine or feces so I thought I would put this together as a short list to help.  In part it comes from wikipedia and wine tasting links.  Keep this as a reference for your family health.

Acetaldehyde: Smell of roasted nuts or dried out straw.

Amyl-acetate: Sweet or Smell of “fake” candy banana flavoring

Brettanomyces: Smell of barnyards, fecal and gamey horse aromas

Diacetyl : Smell of rancid butter

Ethyl acetate : Smell of vinegar, paint thinner and nail polish remover

Hydrogen sulfide: Smell of rotten eggs or garlic that has gone bad

Iodine: Smell of moldy grapes

Lactic acid bacteria: Smell of sauerkraut

Mercaptans: Smell of burnt rubber and/or cooked cabbage

Sorbic acid plus lactic acid bacteria: Smell of crushed geranium leaves

Sulfur dioxide: Smell of burnt matches.

About Dr Bradstreet
Dr Bradstreet is a graduate of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and received his residency training at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona. He is extensively published in the peer-reviewed literature on subjects of autism, oxidative stress, mitochondrial disorders, virology, hyperbaric oxygen, and toxicology (especially heavy metal chelation). He is trained in the the isolation and use of stem cells.

15 Responses to Smells in Urine or Feces: Helpful tools

  1. Sara Alexander says:

    I just laughed when I received your post. Smelling pee and poop and analyzing it. How much more not normal can our lives get? And yet this stuff is routine for a lot of us, and then we post each other to report the status of our child’s waste products like we are reporting on some kind of trophy. Sigh….

  2. Karin says:

    Nice list of smells, now how about what it tastes like?

    Just kidding. Thanks for this great informative post!

    That being said, I think we would learn a lot about everyone’s health by looking at and smelling their poop. That should be part of a standard physical, IMO. But that is taboo.

    I also think that by being so clean, having toilets, toilet paper and washing hands, we might have cut down tramsission of nasty bugs (which is good), but we might also have withdrawn a source of healthy bacteria that before modern hygiene we were ingesting on a daily basis.

    Us parents of children with autism who are poop-smearers, have again the opportunity to be frequently exposed to fecal matter. Unfortunately, it might not be the healthiest kind, and as a result whole families are struggling with GI issues.

    I just wish stool transplant were more widely available. Maybe one day we’ll be able to get a prescription for refrigerated samples from very healthy well-characterized donors, available in gelcap formm instead of having to do endless courses of antibiotics and antifungals, and ingesting tons of probiotics that help only marginally.

    • Fecal transplantation is actually extremely non-tech. The only issue is the health of the donor. Despite this there is no guarantee of success if the immune system is troubled by other issues.

    • oh forgot there are only 4 tastes – most of these chemical have no taste – just smell.

      • Cindy says:

        Ok, now I’m curious: what would be these 4 tastes? 🙂

      • This one you probably learned in grade-school but we tend to forget things we don’t put to use. Sweet, Bitter, Salty, and Sour. Sour and Bitter are similar but act through different mechanisms.

  3. I’m wondering if the Maple Syrup or overly sweet smell might have an answer in one of the posted chemical causing odors? And, wondering if these odors are caused by supplements people. or ASD kids are taking or are they all formed in the gut from something in the system not working right? And if it’s from the system not working rightly, is there an answer to what that might be and might it be corrected? We seemed to have solved the Maple Syrup odor my grandson has had with digestive enzymes, for suspected undigested protein. He had no DNA markers for MSUD.We came to this conclusion after several experiences with elderly people who had this odor and confirmation from workers in nursing homes who also have had the experience of smelling the odors in some of the elderly housed there. I’m assuming that the odors listed are caused by the formation in the gut of those chemical substances, yet would still like to know what caused them and if correctable. Thanks for this list tho, I posted it on several ASD boards to help other too.

  4. Manuela says:

    G’day doctor,
    I am writing from Italy.
    I found your work very helpful for us and would like to thank you personally.
    Some people will arrive from Italy soon ….


  5. ok, so where do we go from here. If my son’s poo smells of ethyl acetate, what does that mean for him? and what can I do about it? sorry if this is a dim question. Sara

  6. crystal says:

    Do you know of a reliable link about treating mercaptans naturally?

  7. kelly says:

    what if the poo smells like diesel fuel? My friend’s son has this problem

    • Different species of bacteria are more than capable of creating petro like smells. I suggest an microbial OAT to see what the metabolism is creating. Ask your provider

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