Why Does My Pee Smell?

Urine odor may change due to the concentration and volume of a number of different substances that your kidneys excrete. Your urine may not have any odor if it contains a lot of water, but things will be different if your urine is highly concentrated and contains more waste products and little water. What you eat may also help find an answer. Many foods such as asparagus or medications, including certain vitamins can change the odor of urine. There may also be a change in the color and odor of your urine if you develop an underlying medical condition.

Why Does My Pee Smell?

If you notice a sudden change in the odor or color of your urine, it is obvious to feel concerned. This may well be due to something you have eaten or it may indicate an underlying medical condition. Here are some possible reasons.

1. Urinary Tract Infection

You develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) when bacteria find a way to reach your bladder through the urethra. Women are more susceptible to developing these infections because of the shorter size of their urethras as compared to men. Bacteria start multiplying as they reach the bladder. Once you develop a UTI, you experience certain symptoms such as a burning sensation when urinating, cloudy urine, and foul-smelling urine.

2. Diet

Your diet plays a role in determining the odor of your urine. Many people experience a change in the odor of their urine after eating asparagus–this happens because some people have a certain gene that creates this response. The smell is due to a compound called asparagusic acid that is broken down by your body into sulfur-containing compounds. This leads to a rotten-egg smell you notice when you urinate. That smell will no longer be there after a few rounds of urination.

3. Dehydration

Why does my pee smell? Perhaps you do not have enough water in your body or in your urine. This increases the concentrations of wastes and chemicals in your urine. If you notice strong odor after urinating, it usually means you should start drinking more water to avoid any complications associated with dehydration.

4. Uncontrolled Diabetes

Your body loses its ability to process glucose efficiently when you fail to manage diabetes properly. This happens because there is insufficient insulin in your blood. This makes your body to utilize fat for energy that leave toxic byproducts called ketone bodies which can change the odor of your urine. Diabetes also makes your urine become sticky due to extra sugar content. If you notice sweet smelling urine with symptoms such as excessive hunger, thirst, fatigue, and weight loss, this may indicate a new onset of diabetes. If it is Type I diabetes, you will have to take insulin. For Type II diabetes, you need to control your weight and stick to a specific diabetic diet.

5. Maple Syrup Urine Disease

In this rare genetic disorder, your body fails to metabolize some specific building blocks of protein called amino acids. When not broken efficiently, these amino acids go straight into your urine and produce a maple syrup-like odor.

6. Sexually Transmitted Infection

Why does my pee smell? If you have noticed a change in the odor of your pee just recently, it may indicate a sexually transmitted infection. A sexually transmitted infection does not necessarily change the smell of your urine, but it caused an unpleasant vaginal odor that you notice while urinating. You may experience this due to an STI called Trichomoniasis.

7. Phenylketonuria (PKU)

In this rare condition, an amino acid called phenylalanine begins accumulating in your body because your body fails to process it in the diet. You may notice your urine smell strong and musty. If you have this disorder, you will have other symptoms as well, such as tremors, seizures, hyperactivity, stunted growth, and skin conditions. Your symptoms will become less severe if you start following a specific diet and take medications that your doctor prescribes.

8. Kidney Stones

Why does my pee smell bad? This could be because you have urinary stones. If that is the case, you will notice an ammonia-like odor. Sometimes, the appearance of your urine will also change–it will become pink or bloody. Some people also experience back, flank, and lower abdominal pain. Treatment usually includes hydration, pain control, and a procedure to remove the kidney stones. You do not usually need to worry about small stones, but large stones can contribute to bacterial infections.

What to Do If My Pee Smells Bad

In most cases, you do not need to worry much about the changes in the odor of your urine because they are temporary. The simple solution is to increase your fluid intake and see if that resolves the issue. You are drinking enough water if your urine becomes pale yellow or clear in color.

It is usually a good idea to talk to your doctor if your pee smells bad and you have other urinary symptoms such as urge to urinate frequently, burning pain when urinating, and abdominal pain. These symptoms usually indicate an underlying medical condition that requires a short course of antibiotics or some other medical treatments. 

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