Does the smell of your pee bother you? Although you may consider urine to be something that has a foul odor, in reality, it has a faint color and mild odor, unless there is something not-so-normal going on. We’ve all had bad pee smell days. However, if you experience a drastic change either in the color, odor, consistency or frequency of your urine, it is indicative of some abnormality. Here are 6 reasons why your pee could smell bad. Read on to find out what’s causing the smell.
1. Low Fluid Intake, Maybe?
Do you wake up first thing in the morning, pee, then realize that it smells weird? This could be happening because of concentrated urine, which is caused due to low fluid intake (1). When you drink less water, the urine has an ammonia-like smell and emits that foul odor. Urine, in general, consists of some amount of ammonia, which is a by-product formed after the breakdown of protein molecules takes place. However, when you are dehydrated and the urine is more concentrated, the smell of ammonia is more ostensible than when it is diluted. Make sure you consume enough fluids if you observe this ammonia-like smell, that too first thing in the morning.
2. You Could Have Diabetes
That is not a very great news, though. But, if you have rather unusual smelling pee, particularly an odor that smells sweet and fruity, it could be because of high glucose levels in your body. When there is excess glucose, there are chances your urine too has some of it (which makes the urine smell sweet). Get yourself checked right away.
In some diabetics (who depend on external insulin), the pancreas is inefficient in producing its own insulin. This deprives the body of glucose (insulin converts the stored form of glucose into the usable form of glucose). As a result, all the fat in your body is converted into ketones (a new form of fuel for the body.) It is these ketones that make your pee smell bad.
3. Or, Is It That Nasty UTI?
Infection in the genitalia could be one of the reasons for smelly urine. The bacterial overgrowth causes the urine to stink. When you are hit by a UTI, you could experience cloudy or bloody urine that is accompanied by strong and foul odor (2). Also, sometimes, the odor is so offensive and strong that it lingers even after the patient has flushed. The smell also persists in the lingerie worn while being infected. Other issues like vaginitis and urethritis could also cause foul-smelling odor.
4. Asparagus, Is It?
One of the many things metabolism does to your body – makes pee smell bad. If you have devoured a large helping of this spring vegetable, then be prepared to tolerate a sulfurous smelling pee. Why? Because the amino acids present in asparagus are metabolized into a by-product that consists of sulfur, which causes that stench (3). Other sulfur-containing foods like onions and garlic also might make your pee smell funky. Also, what’s more interesting is that not everyone who eats asparagus produces smelly urine. Or, they do, but they don’t know that their pee smells bad. This is because a part of humankind doesn’t have those olfactory genes that are necessary for them to perceive this foul odor. Good for them, I suppose!
And, it is not just what you eat; take a look at what you are drinking as well. Have you experienced passing awkward-smelling pee after consuming alcohol, or for that matter, even coffee? This is because fluids like alcohol and coffee are powerful diuretics. Simply put – agents that make you pee more often. In circumstances like this, if you don’t stay sufficiently hydrated, the urine tends to get really concentrated. Again, the result is concentrated urine with lots of uric acid. Although no one’s asking you to stop boozing for better-smelling pee, just make sure you drink enough water. Doesn’t that help with the hangover too?
5. Could It Be Those Meds? Check.
Sulfur, why you no leave my pee alone?! Sulfur-containing drugs, also known as sulfa drugs, are known to metabolize and cause foul-smelling pee. Also, many people show allergic reactions to sulfa drugs. If you are on these meds and find it uncomfortable, discuss with your doctor and look for safer alternatives. Plus, another group of medicines known for causing this odor is antibiotics. Surprisingly, this smell is because of yeast – you kill the good bacteria with those antibiotics, and yeast overgrowth follows as a result. Moderate usage of these medicines and consumption of probiotics could help with the smell.
6. Maple Syrup Urine Disorder? Not Impossible!
Maple Syrup Urine Disorder, as the name suggests, is a disorder in which an infant’s urine smells sweet like maple syrup. This is a metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to produce certain kinds of amino acids (4). It is an inherited disorder and sometimes, the odor is so strong and prevalent that even the ear wax of the infant smells like maple syrup. In these patients, the absence of certain amino acids caused due to genetic mutations leads to the improper metabolism of food. Medical care along with following a specific diet can help with managing the disorder to a great extent.
So, was it last night’s booze or the breakfast’s asparagus? Whatever it was, spare me the details. Make sure you stay hydrated. Hit the clinic if you find ANYTHING unusual – even if you think it is too silly a reason to visit the doctor. Plus, I think it is a better idea not to spare me the details. You could actually go ahead and write to me in the comments section below about your bad pee smell experiences. Just so that everyone knows they are not alone!