Do you smell something funny when you pee?
It’s normal to have a faint odor after going to the bathroom, but if it smells strong and unpleasant, it might be a sign of a problem.
You could have an infection, dehydration, or even diabetes.
In this article, I’ll explore the different reasons why your pee might smell bad, and I’ll provide tips on how to get rid of the smell.
Let’s get to it.
Here are some reasons why your urine might smell bad
1. You’re dehydrated
If you don’t drink enough fluids, your urine will be more concentrated and will have a stronger smell.
Dehydration can be caused by hot weather, intense exercise, or not drinking enough water.
Symptoms of dehydration include dark-colored urine, dizziness, and fatigue.
Learn more: 6 Natural Remedies For Dehydration
2. You’re eating foods that have a strong smell
Asparagus is one of the most well-known foods that can cause smelly urine.
This is because asparagus contains sulfur compounds, which are released through your urine after you eat it.
Other foods that contain sulfur include garlic, onions, eggs, and Brussels sprouts.
Foods that are high in protein can also cause your urine to smell strong.
This is because when your body breaks down protein, it produces ammonia, which has a very pungent odor.
But that’s not all.
Drinking too much coffee can actually make your urine smell like coffee.
Due to the fact that coffee is a diuretic, its metabolites are expelled through your urine, which can make it smell like coffee.
What’s more, alcohol can also make your pee smell foul.
When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down into ketones, which are then excreted through your urine.
Ketones have a strong, sweet smell, and they can make your urine smell bad.
3. You’re pregnant
During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes, one of which is hormonal.
This can cause your urine to smell different than normal.
As long as there are no other symptoms, such as burning or itching, it’s likely nothing to worry about.
However, if you have any concerns, be sure to speak with your doctor.
Learn more: 8 Early Signs of Pregnancy
4. You have diabetes
If you have diabetes, your body can’t process sugar properly.
This causes sugar to build up in your blood and eventually spill into your urine.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that can cause your urine to smell very sweet or like fruit.
Other symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include thirst, fatigue, and nausea.
5. You have a sexually transmitted infection
One reason for smelly urine is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause your pee to smell like fish.
Other symptoms of STIs include a burning sensation when you pee, itching, and discharge from the penis or vagina.
If you think you might have an STI, it’s important to see a doctor for treatment.
6. You’re taking antibiotics
If you’re taking antibiotics, they might be causing your urine to smell bad.
Antibiotics can kill both good and bad bacteria in your body.
This can throw off the balance of your gut microbiome and cause digestive issues like diarrhea.
It’s also common for people to experience a change in their body odor when taking antibiotics.
Keep on reading: 7 Natural Antibiotics That Kill Bacteria In Your Body
7. You have an infection
If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), your pee might smell like ammonia and look cloudy or reddish in color.
You might also have a burning sensation when you urinate, and you may need to go more frequently than usual.
Other symptoms of a UTI include pain in your lower abdomen, fatigue, and fever.
If you think you might have a UTI, it’s important to see a doctor for treatment.
8. You have liver disease
Another reason why your urine might smell bad is because of liver disease.
If you have liver disease, your pee might smell musty or like ammonia.
Liver disease can be caused by alcoholism, hepatitis, or fatty liver disease.
Symptoms of liver disease include fatigue, jaundice, and weight loss.
If you think you might have liver disease, it’s important to see a doctor for treatment.
Learn more: 8 Early Warning Signs of Liver Damage
9. You have kidney stones
Kidney stones can cause your urine to smell intensely bad.
The odor is often described as being extremely foul and similar to ammonia.
Other symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain in the back and sides, difficulty urinating, and blood in the urine.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away.
Read more: 5 Warning Signs of Kidney Stone
Certain medications and supplements can cause your urine to smell bad.
For example, medications that can cause this include:
- Vitamin B6 supplements
- Vitamin D
- Diabetes medications
- Rheumatoid arthritis medications
- Chemotherapy drugs
If you’re concerned about the way your urine smells after starting a new medication, talk to your doctor.
How to get rid of strong urine odor
If you’re concerned about the way your urine smells, there are things you can do to get rid of the odor.
Here are a few tips:
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Drinking lots of fluids is one of the best ways to flush out your system and get rid of bad smells.
Water is always a good choice, but you can also drink unsweetened cranberry juice, which can help relieve UTI symptoms.
2. Change your diet
Certain foods can contribute to bad-smelling urine.
For example, asparagus is a common culprit.
If you think your diet might be contributing to the way your urine smells, try cutting out foods that are known to cause strong odors.
3. Eat probiotic-rich foods
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your gut health.
They can help restore the balance of bacteria in your gut and relieve digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea.
Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise is another good way to flush out your system and get rid of bad smells.
It also has other health benefits like improving your mood and reducing stress levels.
See a doctor if you have persistent symptoms
If your urine has an unpleasant or strong odor that lasts more than two days, or If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor:
- Burning sensation when you pee
- Itching in the genital area
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Cloudy or reddish urine
- Pain in your lower abdomen