Does the smell of your urine bother you? Although you might consider urine as something that smells bad, it is actually a dull color and a mild odor, unless something abnormal is going on. We’ve all had stinky pee days. However, if you experience a drastic change in the color, smell, consistency, or frequency of your urine, this is a sign of some abnormality. Here are 6 reasons why your urine smells bad. Read on to find out what’s causing the smell.
1_ Lack of fluid intake, perhaps?
Do you wake up first thing in the morning, pee, and then realize it smells weird? This can be caused by urine concentrating, which is caused by a lack of fluid intake (1). When you drink less water, your urine has an ammonia-like smell and smells like that. Urine generally consists of a certain amount of ammonia, which is a by-product formed after the breakdown of protein molecules has occurred. However, when you are dehydrated and your urine is more concentrated, the smell of ammonia is more outwardly than if it was dilute. Make sure you are consuming enough fluids if you notice this ammonia-like smell first thing in the morning.
2_ You could have diabetes
This isn’t very great news, though. But, if you have unusual-smelling urine, especially one that smells sweet and fruity, it could be due to high levels of glucose in your body. When there is excess glucose, chances are that the urine also contains some of it (which makes the urine smell sweet). Get yourself checked out right away.
In some diabetics (who depend on exogenous insulin), the pancreas is ineffective in producing its own insulin. This deprives the body of glucose (insulin converts the stored form of glucose into a usable form of glucose). As a result, all the fat in your body is converted into ketones (a new type of fuel for the body). These ketones are what make your urine smell bad.
3_ Or is this a urinary tract infection?
One of the causes of foul-smelling urine can be an infection in the genitals. An overgrowth of bacteria causes foul-smelling urine. When you have a UTI, you can experience cloudy or bloody urine with a strong, foul odor (2). Also, at times, the odor is so unpleasant and strong that it lingers even after the patient has been rinsed off. The odor also persists in the underwear worn during the infection. Other problems such as vaginitis and urethritis can also cause bad breath.
4_ Asparagus right?
One of the many things your body’s metabolism does – it makes your urine smell bad. If you’ve eaten a large amount of this spring vegetable, be prepared to put up with the sulfur smell. Why? Because the amino acids in asparagus are metabolized into a sulfur-forming by-product, which causes that stench (3). Other sulfur-containing foods, such as onions and garlic, may make your urine smell funky. Also, what is most interesting is that not everyone who eats asparagus produces foul-smelling urine. Or they do, but they don’t know their urine smells bad. This is because part of the human race does not possess those olfactory genes that are necessary for them to perceive this unpleasant odor. Good for them, I think!
And not just what you eat; Take a look at what you’re drinking, too. Have you experienced foul-smelling urine after consuming alcohol, or even coffee? This is because liquids such as alcohol and coffee are powerful diuretics. Simply put – the factors that make you urinate more often. In such circumstances, if you don’t stay hydrated enough, urine tends to get really concentrated. Again, the result is urine concentration with too much uric acid. Although no one is telling you to stop drinking to get better-smelling urine, just be sure to drink enough water. Doesn’t that help with a hangover, too?
5_ Could these be doctors? check.
Sulfur Why don’t you leave Polly alone?! Sulfur-containing medications, also known as sulfa drugs, are known to metabolize and cause foul-smelling urine. Also, many people show allergic reactions to sulfa drugs. If you are taking these medications and find them uncomfortable, discuss it with your doctor and seek safer alternatives. In addition, another group of medications that are known to cause this odor are antibiotics. Surprisingly, this smell is caused by yeast – good bacteria are killed by these antibiotics, and yeast overgrowth ensues as a result. Moderate use of these medications and consumption of probiotics can help eliminate the odor.
6_ maple syrup urination disorder? not impossible!
Maple syrup urine disorder, as the name suggests, is a disorder in which an infant’s urine smells as sweet as maple syrup. This is a metabolic disorder in which the body cannot produce certain types of amino acids (4). It’s a genetic disorder and sometimes the smell is so strong and pervasive that even a baby’s earwax smells like maple syrup. In these patients, the lack of certain amino acids due to genetic mutations leads to improper metabolism of food. Medical care along with following a specific diet can help manage the disorder to a great extent.