Smelly Urine

15 Most Common Causes of Smelly Urine & What to Do About It [2020]

Smelly urine could be completely harmless — or it could be the symptom of a much more important issue. It’s wise to pay attention to urine odor, and to a child’s urine odor, to make sure everyone in the household is staying healthy. Although a change in odor could be nothing to worry about, it could also be a reason to visit a doctor immediately. Here is a comprehensive list of all of the potential reasons behind stinky pee:

1. Dehydration

An easy way to tell whether the body is getting enough fluids is by monitoring pee. Normal urine will be a transparent yellow color or an amber color. However, dehydration will cause urine color to darken. It will also give pee a strong odor. According to a Harvard study, four to six glasses of water is the suggested amount of water to drink per day in order to keep the body running smoothly. Anything less could cause dehydration. Anything more could cause health problems as well.

2. Stinky foods

Stinky urine can be caused by stinky meals. Certain foods — such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, curry, salmon, and alcohol — can cause pee to smell different. A high-salt diet is also capable of creating a stronger scent. However, the solution is simple. Simply cut out salt. Be extremely careful about what enters the body.

3. Coffee

According to Dr. Stacy Sampson, coffee metabolites can cause a change in pee smell. This is not a symptom of a bigger health issue. It is completely harmless. However, it is possible to become dehydrated from having too much coffee without any other fluids throughout the day. That is why it’s important to drink a glass of water before or after having coffee.

4. A urinary tract infection

Sweet-smelling urine with an ammonia smell is a telltale symptom of a urinary tract infection, which is otherwise known as a bladder infection. A UTI occurs when bacteria enters the bladder. Other urinary symptoms include a burning sensation while peeing and general pelvic pain. Luckily, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection in a matter of days. However, it’s important to continue monitoring pee, because, after one urine infection, it is extremely common to get another.

5. A yeast infection

A yeast infection is similar to a UTI because it will cause pain and foul-smelling urine. However, a yeast infection will also include itching and thick, white vaginal discharge. The main difference is that a UTI is a bacterial infection in the urinary tract and a yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus at the opening of the vulva.

6. Kidney stones

The National Kidney Foundation states that a kidney stone will form in the kidneys when chemicals in the urine crystallize. They can cause stinky pee and cloudy urine. They can also lead to additional health problems, such as a urinary tract infection. To prevent kidney stones, stay hydrated, eat less sodium, eat more calcium-rich foods, and exercise often.

7. Pregnancy

Estrogen and progesterone can cause a strong smell during the first trimester of pregnancy. Although it is most prevalent in the beginning, this can persist throughout the other trimesters. However, women also have a stronger sense of smell when they are pregnant, so the change might have more to do with their heightened senses than the actual smell of their pee.

8. Ovulation

The hormones involved in pregnancy, estrogen, and progesterone, are also present during ovulation. However, those hormones aren’t actually changing the scent of a woman’s pee. They are simply increasing her ability to smell the scent, according to medical experts on pregnancy and fertility. Nothing has physically changed, so there is nothing to worry about health-wise.

9. Kidney disease

Frequent urination is a symptom of kidney disease. Blood in the urine and foamy urine are also symptoms. When suffering from kidney disease, the urine odor will change and start to smell more like ammonia. If a kidney infection is untreated, it can lead to kidney failure, which is why it’s important to visit a doctor right away.

10. Uncontrolled diabetes

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication of type-1 diabetes that leads to high levels of ketones in the urine. A urine sample can determine whether the ketones have increased. However, sweet-smelling urine is also a symptom of type-2 diabetes. It’s important to get blood sugar levels checked when dealing with frequent urination and strong-smelling urine because it could be a symptom of a much bigger problem, like uncontrolled diabetes.

11. A sexually transmitted infection

An STD, like Chlamydia, can cause a strong urine odor. Chlamydia can also cause vaginal discharge and a burning sensation during peeing. It is necessary to get tested after having sex in order to check for STDS — and to get medication when diagnosed with one.

12. Douching

Douching is commonly used as a way to keep clean and get rid of vaginal odor. However, it is actually unhealthy to douche. It can expose the body to dangerous organic compounds. It can also cause health problems by getting rid of good bacteria in the body. Instead of improving smells, douching can actually cause a foul smell. Worst of all, it could increase a person’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.

13. Supplements

There are certain supplements with artificial flavors that can change urine smell. Vitamins and medications can cause similar changes as well. When starting a new supplement, it’s important to read the information on the bottle to note all of the potential side effects. Know what is being put into the body before, not after.

14. A genetic disorder

Certain genetic disorders can cause urinary problems. For instance, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, trimethylaminuria is a medical condition where the pee will smell fishy no matter how often someone showers or bathes. This condition is more common in women and can worsen during puberty, during periods, and during menopause.

15. Liver failure

Liver disease can cause brown, pale, or dark urine. Musty smelling urine can also be a sign there is a problem with the liver. Since liver failure is a life-threatening condition, it is vital to speak to a doctor to figure out the next steps to take. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult a professional. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.