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Urinary System Excretory System Glossary Health Tips

Unusual Urine Odor

10 months, 1 week ago

6159  0
Posted on Dec 11, 2020, 2 p.m.

For most people at some point in their lives, they may experience a strong odor with their urine, and this can be caused by a few things. Urine is mainly made up of water, smell wise it is the amount and concentration of various waste products excreted by the kidneys that cause urine odor. 

Urine typically has a distinct odor, and under normal circumstances, this is relatively mild and may not even be noticeable. According to the Mayo Clinic urine that contains a lot of water and few waste products has little to no odor, but if urine becomes highly concentrated with a high ratio of waste products to little water this makes urine have a strong ammonia odor. 

Additionally, there are some vitamins, minerals, supplements, medications and foods such as asparagus that can cause a noticeable change in urine odor and colour even in low concentrations. Unusual urine odor may even indicate a possible medical condition or disease such as dehydration, urinary tract infection, cystitis, diabetic ketoacidosis, undiagnosed diabetes, gastrointestinal bladder fistula, maple syrup urine disease, yeast infection, sexually transmitted infection, kidney stones, liver problems, prostatitis, hypermethioninemia, bladder infection, pregnancy, ovulation, and genetic or metabolic disorders among others. 

Asparagus is not the only thing that can change the smell of urine, for example, those 4-5 cups of coffee really are not going to help with the unusual urine smell. Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, curry, salmon, excess salt/sodium, and alcohol can all have a similar effect. Be sure to drink plenty of water when you are eating foods that can change the odour of urine, this will help to dilute your urine so the smell will not be as noticeable. 

The most common cause of unusual strong-smelling urine is dehydration which most often goes unnoticed. Other symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, feeling tired, headache, dizziness, dry skin, and increased thirst. Dehydration can happen more easily for those that consume a lot of salt/sodium or drink a lot of coffee or alcohol more so as they are diuretics that will cause you to urinate more often making it easier to become dehydrated. Without enough water to dilute the chemical scent to urine it will most likely take on a stronger odor and become more pronounced. 

Changes in urine odor are usually temporary, and do not always mean that you have a serious illness, especially if there are no other symptoms. When an unusual urine odor is caused by an underlying medical condition, there are almost always other symptoms present. But if you are concerned about the odor of your urine, consult with your doctor or certified medical professional about it to address your concerns. 

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