Thursday, October 21, 2021

10 Reasons why your Urine smells odd

Odour of urine can be a sign of health condition, writes Dr Suresh Agrawal 

For most people, peeing is such a mundane task that they do it without giving it much thought. 

You are going about your day happily until you relieve yourself to a strange smelling urine. Maybe it’s extra pungent or fishy, but having a weird smell emanating as you urinate can be freaky. There are some perfectly logical and totally harmless causes of urine odour. However, some causes may be more serious than the other.

Here are 10 reasons why urine odour can be a sign of health conditions.


1. Dehydration – Staying hydrated is essential for proper body functions. By urinating, your body gets rid of body waste. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of smelly urine. If you are dehydrated, the colour of your urine will appear dark honey or brown with strong pungent ammonia like odour. When this happens, your body is telling you to re-hydrate with water and salt.


2. Food – What you eat can sometimes be the cause of smelly urine. Foods such as asparagus, onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, alcohol and even coffee can cause changes to the colour and smell of urine. However, odour caused by food is nothing to be worried about.


3. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – If you are taking frequent trips to the washroom, have a burning sensation as you pee, and your urine smells funny as well, the chances are that you may have a urinary tract infection. This is the result of bacteria entering the urinary tract; the bladder and the urethra. UTIs are common but can become serious. See a doctor if symptoms do not ease on their own as antibiotics may be necessary.


4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) – Diseases such as gonorrhoea, chancroid, chlamydia and trichomoniasis can cause urethritis – inflammation of the urethra. The inflammation can cause bacteria to build up, making your pee smelly. 


5. Pre-diabetes or diabetes – If your urine smells sweet or fruity, you may be pre-diabetic or diabetic. When you have high blood sugar content, your body will get rid of it through urine, causing it to smell sweet. In diabetic and prediabetic condition, yeast flourishes giving rise to candidiasis – yeast infection. 


6. Kidney stones – Does your pee smell like rotten eggs? This could be a sign of kidney stones. Cloudy, may be red, pink or brown and the pungent smell is caused sulphur found in kidney stones. Kidney stones collect bacteria leading to infection and bleeding. 


7. Vitamin B – Excess of Vitamin B complex causes smelly urine. Your body does not store Vitamin B beyond its requirement. If there is excess of it then your body will flush it out. 


8. Bladder fistula – Fistula is an abnormal connection between urinary bladder and intestine. When this happen bacteria from the intestines move into the bladder causing urine to smell of stool. This can cause recurrent UTIs. 


9. Liver – Liver diseases can cause urine to smell of ammonia. The liver is responsible for flushing toxins out of our body similar to kidneys. Any kind of infection of the liver produces high level of ammonia along with a pungent odour of urine. 


10. Genetic conditions – Phenylketonuria, an incurable genetic condition that causes urine to smell musky. Another genetic disease is Maple syrup urine disease – it is a rare genetic condition where urine smells like maple syrup.


If your urine smells funny and does not go away with a well-balanced meal and plenty of water, you should consult your doctor.

Dr Suresh Agrawal
Dr Suresh Agrawal, an alumnus of Seth G S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, has been practicing in Colaba since 1981.

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