If you suddenly notice a chemical or strong smell from your urine, this can be unnerving, especially if you already know that some cancers have an odor that dogs can sniff out.

Excrement always has an unpleasant odor. Sometimes even in the healthiest people, urine really stinks.

But people should become very acquainted with what their urine typically smells like.

Sometimes, the odor cannot be detected as one sits on the toilet and voids, then rises and wipes.

But there are other times, when at the moment the urine hits the toilet, its odor is easily detected. This is particularly true in the morning.

“Urine can have different smells from many different reasons,” says Dana Rice, MD, a board certified urologist and creator of the UTI Tracker mobile app, which helps patients catalog daily urinary tract symptoms, medication and behavioral patterns, and offers personalized tips for UTI prevention.

“Foul smelling urine is not always an infection,” continues Dr. Rice. “Some foods, like pineapple and asparagus, can cause a sweet or chemical like smell to the urine. Many medications can change the smell of urine as well.

“While I cannot think of a cancer with diagnostically distinct urine odor, when patients are ill or immune compromised — may notice a different smell to their urine.”

If a chemical odor to your urine lasts longer than a few days, make an appointment with a doctor.

In the meantime, take note if you’ve had a change in eating habits lately or have not been drinking your usual amount of water.

And remember, the “smell of cancer” that dogs can sniff out in urine is NOT detectable by the human nose. chemical

A urinary tract infection, though capable of causing numerous symptoms, will not give urine a foul or chemical odor. For more information on the UTI Tracker, go to utitracker.com.

Dr. Rice is with Inova Medical Group in Fairfax, VA, and her clinical interests include bladder, kidney and prostate cancer, minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  



Top image: Shutterstock/Andrei Dubadzel