Preventive Health System

What is Urine Odor and How to Fix Urine Odor?

Urine odor is one of the most unpleasant smells around. It’s not only unsightly but also unhealthy. Urine odor has been linked to various diseases such as diabetes, kidney stones, bladder cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re sitting on this article and wondering, “How do I get rid of that urine odor?” then you’re in the right place. Urine is a tricky substance to remove from carpets, clothing, and upholstery. Getting rid of the smell can be a daunting task for those who have to deal with it.

Reasons for Urine Odor and How to Fix Urine Smell

Urine odor can be caused by a variety of factors, and certain things such as food, alcohol, and medications can make the odors worse. Luckily, there are steps you can take to fix urine odor. These steps include air drying the clothes that got stained in urine, cleaning the mess with soap and water or a commercial cleaner designed to remove protein-based stains, and airing out the room.

You are going about your day happily until you relieve yourself of strange smelly 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 odor. However, some causes may be more serious than the other.

Why Does Urine Have a Strong Odor? 10 Reasons for Strong Smelly Urine

  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 a 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 cause 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, the 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 results from 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 smell. 
  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 an excess, then your body will flush it out. 
  8. Bladder fistula–Fistula is an abnormal connection between urinary bladder and intestine. When this happens, bacteria from the intestines move into the bladder, causing urine to smell of stool. This can cause recurrent UTIs. 
  9. LiverLiver diseases can cause urine to smell of ammonia. The liver flushes toxins out of our body, similar to kidneys. Any kind of infection of the liver produces a 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.

4 Healthy Urination Habits (How to Pee)

When we think of healthy habits, many of us don’t immediately think of our bathroom habits. However, urinating is an important daily routine that can have a significant impact on our overall health.

The following are 4 good habits to keep your bladder healthy.

  1. Urinate five to seven times per day. If you aren’t going that much, then you need to drink more water.
  2. Only urinate when you really need to, not “just in case,” except before bedtime. Forced urination trains your bladder to hold less.
  3. Sit down instead of hovering over the toilet while urinating.
  4. Take your time and don’t push to get the urine out faster.
Smart Solutions to Eliminate Urine Odor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have a strong or abnormal urine odor that lasts for over two days or if you have symptoms such as:

  • sweet-smelling urine
  • mental confusion
  • bloating
  • nausea
  • vomiting

These symptoms may be signs of diabetes, severe dehydration, or liver disease.

Author: 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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