ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Help! My Urine Smells Bad: What Causes It to Smell Funny?

Updated on April 27, 2016
Even a little asparagus can make your urine smell bad...
Even a little asparagus can make your urine smell bad... | Source

Okay, I know this isn't particularly a pleasant topic, nor one you'd be bringing up at the dinner table. That's why I feel compelled to share some information on the issue. If ever you've been too embarrassed to tell someone "Gosh, my urine smells, should I be worried?", you're not alone. Changes in the smell of your urine aren't uncommon, but knowing the cause is important, nevertheless. Some causes are harmless, while others are more serious and require a visit to the doctor. I will present the most common reasons urine smells bad or different from your usual smell. The good news? Your urine can provide some very important clues about what's going on in your body...

Is My Urine Smell Normal?

From day to day, there can be variations in the way your urine smells. That's perfectly normal... it's not always going to be the same. Here's a list of causes for normal variations in odor.

Dehydration can cause a strong urine smell. When you're dehydrated, your urine will be darker and more concentrated. It may have a stronger than usual ammonia scent. You may not be drinking enough fluids, you might be sick, it might be hot outside, or perhaps you've overexerted yourself physically. Your body is trying to tell you it's time to hit the water, and lots of it!

Consuming asparagus can produce urine that smells bad... really bad! When I was young we'd go to my Aunt's house for Thanksgiving dinner every year. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why her bathroom had a terrible odor... it smelled like there was a sewer problem. Somehow the topic was finally broached and she, a registered nurse for many years, had a very interesting and in-depth explanation. Evidently it's not yet clear whether or not everyone produces a distinctive smell in their urine after eating asparagus. Some theorize everyone does, but not everyone can smell the odor. Others claim not everyone produces the unmistakable asparagus pee smell. Clearly more and better studies need to be performed. But, what we do know indicates we excrete sulfur compounds after eating this delightful vegetable. The question remains whether everyone excretes these compounds that have been theorized to be linked to a specific gene. Anyway, if you notice the uncanny sulfur-like odor, make sure there wasn't any asparagus hiding in your lunch-time pasta.

Medications can also change the way your urine smells, particularly some vitamins (most notably Vitamin B-6) and certain types of antibiotics.

Coffee can create a stronger than normal odor as well. If you've overdone it in the morning, you may notice it later... in the restroom!

Eating an excess of citrus fruits or vinegar can cause the kidneys to excrete the excess acid via ammonia (or , the ammonium ion NH4+).

Dr. Oz Talks About Urine Smell

Urine Odor Causes to be More Concerned About...

Urinary Tract Infections (U.T.I.) can change the way your urine smells. Please note this is NOT a reliable way to diagnose a urinary tract infection, however. Not all U.T.I's create foul smelling urine. If there are accompanying symptoms, such as pain and burning during urination, the urge to urinate frequently, excreting small amounts of urine, urine that's cloudy, urine that's pink or brownish (indicating blood in the urine), pelvic or rectal pain... then you should be suspicious you have a U.T.I. These are clues it's time to visit your doctor.

An enlarged prostate or bladder disorder can also cause on ongoing ammonia-like smell in your urine. If your bladder isn't properly emptying, leftover urine remains, which can produce an ammonia-like smell. If you notice this odor consistently, it's time to see your doctor.

Diabetes can create a sweet or fruity urine smell. Sweet smelling urine can mean your kidneys are filtering out excess glucose. If you have diabetes, this could be a sign you're disease is not being properly controlled. If you haven't been diagnosed with diabetes, it's time to visit your doctor for a screening test.

Maple Syrup Urine Disease, as the name would suggest, causes your urine to have a sweet scent that resembles maple syrup. If you are noticing this smell in your infants diapers, it's time to let the pediatrician know. This is a rare disease, affecting only about 1 per 185,000 children, although it's much higher in the Mennonite settlements in the USA. It's an inherited metabolic disorder where the body is unable to process certain parts of proteins, namely amino acids. These infants will exhibit numerous other symptoms, most notably poor feeding, vomiting, lack of energy, and developmental delays.

Cystinuria causes a rotten egg or sulfur-like smelling urine. Like Maple Syrup Urine Disease, it's an inherited metabolic disorder. These individuals are unable to properly reabsorb cystine, an amino acid (a building block of proteins). As a result, the excess cystine (which is a sulfur containing amino acid) is excreted in the urine, giving it the characteristic "rotten egg" smell.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • wordscribe43 profile image
    Author

    Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    B. Leekley, it may be a blessing in some cases. I have heard that about beets- it hasn't yet happened to me, but I can only imagine how alarming that would be!

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

    I don't know if it is a blessing or a misfortune that I have a very poor sense of smell.

    A few years ago I did have a sight urine scare. It came out red. There was no pain and were no other symptoms, but I thought I had an advanced case of an awful disease. I finally told my wife, and she briefly shared my worries and questioned me about symptoms. Then she asked if perchance I had eaten any beets. I had eaten three or four peeled and boiled ones. Tip: eating lots of beets turns urine red.

  • GoodLady profile image

    Penelope Hart 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Good to bring up, since it is the asparagus season! Asparagus makes for such pongy pee!

  • ALUR profile image

    ALUR 6 years ago from USA

    I know water is the best method to cleanse the body. Thanks for this heath article...

  • profile image

    kelleyward 6 years ago

    Very good hub. Every time I eat asparagus my urine smells! I still love the veggie. Voted up and useful. Great hub with valuable information.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)