Urine Smells Bad for These Eight Reasons - Step To Health

Urine Smells Bad for These Eight Reasons

Bad smelling urine is usually due to your diet or dehydration. However, if it lasts for a long time, it's best to see a specialist to determine if there are more severe problems.
Urine Smells Bad for These Eight Reasons

Last update: 15 November, 2020

Have you noticed that your urine always has a bad smell? Do you want to know the reasons why urine smells bad? If so, keep reading. Below, we’ll tell you the most common reasons.

Urine gets its characteristic smell from urea. Depending upon the concentration of urea in your body, your urine will have a stronger or weaker smell. Normally, your urine doesn’t have a strong or unpleasant smell.

However, as an article in Harvard Women’s Health Watch pointed out, the fact your urine smells stronger is not necessarily a cause for concern.

In fact, it’s almost always temporary and disappears in a short amount of time. Despite this, it shouldn’t be ignored that it can also alert to an underlying medical problem.

Eight reasons why urine smells

Here are some of the reasons why your urine can smell bad. Although you may be able to identify with one or more of them, we recommend that you go to your doctor to really determine the reason for this unpleasant smell.

1. Dehydration

There is something you should immediately consider when you first start to notice a strong urine smell. First, think about the amount of water you’ve drunk in the last couple of days. Even though the amount can vary from person to person, as a general rule it’s best to drink 8 glasses of water per day. And, if you haven’t done this, this could make this problem arise.

A glass of water.

There is something you’ll notice if dehydration is the cause of the bad smell. This sign is dark yellow or orange urine with a smell similar to ammonia. As a rule, drinking more unflavored water will make this problem disappear.

If this urine color is accompanied by mental confusion, weakness, or extreme exhaustion, it could be caused by severe dehydration. In this case, you need to see a doctor immediately.

2. Urinary infections

Another one of the possible reasons that your urine smells bad could be due to a urinary infection. According to a study published in 2010, urinary tract infections are fairly frequent. The most common symptoms include:

  • Strong urges to use the restroom
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Stomach pain

The most common bacteria causing these infections is E. Coli. And, it’s important to go to a doctor to get the treatment you need.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes may cause sweet-smelling urine.

Does your urine have a sweet-smelling stench? As Amy Krambeck, a specialist at the Mayo Urinary Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, explains, this could be the sign of advanced diabetes. You should have a urine test if this is the case.

According to Krambeck, when diabetes progresses, sugar and ketones can accumulate in the urine and create a strong odor. However, many people are unaware of this cause and only come to the clinic when other symptoms of the disease are present.

4. Liver problems

Another reason your urine could have a bad smell is because of liver problems. According to information from the National Health Service in England, if this is the problem then the following symptoms may be present:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yellow eyes (jaundice)

If you notice any of these symptoms, then go and see your doctor immediately. He will do tests to ascertain if this is due to liver problems.

5. Urine smells because of eating too much of certain kinds of foods

Onions and chilis may be the reason your urine smells.

One of the main reasons your urine smells bad is related to your diet. For example, according to a study in the British Medical Journal in 2016, 40% of people experience a change in urine smell after eating asparagus. However, this is not the only food that can cause this. Here are some others:

  • Garlic
  • Coffee
  • Curry
  • Salmon
  • Alcohol
  • Onions
  • Brussels sprouts

Do you still have this problem even though you haven’t eaten these foods for a while? If so, how much salt do you add to your recipes? A diet rich in salt can make your urine become more concentrated. As a result, this makes urine smell stronger than usual. Try to reduce the amount of salt you eat. This can also be good for improving your heart health.

6. Using vaginal douches

There are some women who have problems with accepting the characteristics of their intimate areas. As a result, it’s not uncommon that there are some who use vaginal douches. If you’ve started to use them, and you notice bad-smelling urine at the same time, listen up. It would be best for you to stop as soon as possible.

As a report in Women’s Health points out, vaginal douches don’t only clean your vagina. They also damage the bacteria in your genital area. The result is that they make bad smells worse instead of making them better.

If you have a bad smell coming from your feminine area for a couple of months, you should talk to your gynecologist instead of using this treatment. They can tell you if you have a real problem or if it’s something normal. And, they’ll also tell you if you need treatment or not.

7. Urine smells because of ovulation

Sperm swimming to the egg.

The same hormones that help you during the fetal gestation period (estrogen and progesterone) also regulate your menstrual cycle. These hormones have a small effect on the smell of your urine. Because of this, when you’re ovulating, you may notice that your urine smells similar to ammonia.

8. Taking certain medications, supplements, and vitamins

The last reason for bad-smelling urine is related to the flavorings that are used in medications, supplements, and vitamins. It could be that these help you. But, they can also affect the smell and color of your urine.

There are also medications that, due to their effect on whichever organ and problem they’re treating, cause this problem. It would be a good idea to talk to your doctor so that he can tell you if this is normal.

In conclusion

So, have you ever noticed that your urine smells bad? Did you find out what was causing this? Whenever you notice something different, go to the doctor and don’t wait. In some cases when your urine has a bad smell, waiting can lead to a worsening of the problem.

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  • Urine color and odor changes. Many things can alter the look and smell of your urine. When should you be concerned? (2010). Harvard Women’s Health Watch17(10), 7.
  • Rowe TA, Juthani-Mehta M. Diagnosis and management of urinary tract infection in older adults. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2014;28(1):75–89. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2013.10.004
  • Struthers, S., Scanlon, J., Parker, K., Goddard, J., & Hallett, R. (2003). Parental reporting of smelly urine and urinary tract infection. Archives of Disease in Childhood88(3), 250–252. https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.88.3.250
  • Felix, P., Puthi, V., & Aslam, M. (2012, July). My child has smelly urine: Answers. Pediatric Nephrology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00467-011-2022-7
  • Markt, S. C., Nuttall, E., Turman, C., Sinnott, J., Rimm, E. B., Ecsedy, E., … Mucci, L. A. (2016). Sniffing out significant “pee values”: Genome wide association study of asparagus anosmia. BMJ (Online)355. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6071