We have to pee several times a day, though most of us don\’t like to talk about it much. But did you know your urine can reveal quite a bit about your health? Its smell in particular can give you vital clues to your wellbeing. We spoke to
about what to do if you notice a strange whiff when you take a whizz. \”Normal urine when dilute barely has an aroma unless you put your nose right up to it,\” explains Marc. But here are some reasons it might have an unusual scent: 1. It\’s something you ate You\’re probably aware eating certain things can make your breath smell a bit funky, but some foods will even affect the aroma of your pee. Some people avoid asparagus because it makes their urine smell bad. But only about half of us have the enzyme that will break asparagus down to cause this stench. \”Interestingly, only some people can smell the foul urine even if they make it. The reasons are not clearly understood though,\” says Marc. Some other foods such as Brussel sprouts, cabbage, turnips, cauliflower and garlic can have a similar effect on the urine. So if you notice a smell, try and remember what you\’ve eaten recently. 2. It\’s something you drank Addicted to that caffeine hit? There\’s a good chance it\’s affected your pee as well as your energy levels. So no, you\’re not going crazy your urine probably does smell a little like coffee. 3. You\’re dehydrated If you notice a strong ammonia scent, it might be time to take a trip to the water cooler. Without enough fluid to dilute your urine, it will be darker in colour and will likely pong a bit more too. \”Often urine smells most strongly in the morning because there is relative dehydration overnight and this improves when you start drinking fluids during the day,\” explains Marc. 4.
It\’s your medication Are you taking antibiotics or on medication for epilepsy? They could be the culprit of a strange smell when you take a tinkle. \”Some drugs in the sulpha class, which are also known as sulphonamides, can make the urine smell bad. Sulphonamides have been used for the treatment of infections and epilepsy,\” reveals Marc. 5. It could be an infection. A. Especially if accompanied by a stinging or burning sensation. See your GP because you could need antibiotics. 6. Or diabetes People with may notice slightly sweet-smelling urine. If symptoms are accompanied by a constant thirst, headaches and a need to urinate a lot more than you used to, go and see your doctor. \”Sometime, the urine can seem to smell sweet, because diabetes is present and sugar levels are uncontrolled. However, this is unusual. Another rare disease called maple syrup disease in which there is a problem in the breakdown of amino acids, the urine can smell sweet. If the urine smells musty, it may because the liver is failing. \” 7. Or (though it\’s rare) a fistula \”Occasionally, an abnormal connection between the bowel and bladder called a fistula can make the urine smell bad as well as cause recurrent urine infections,\” says Marc. So if your urine\’s smelly and you\’re constantly getting UTIs, get yourself checked out. What else should you look for in your pee? \”The colour of the urine is one of the most things to look out for.
Blood is the most serious sign i. e. red urine. This is because it can be a sign of cancer and always needs an urgent evaluation by a urologist. However, consider that if you\’ve eaten a lot of beetroot that might explain the red colour, so remember what you have had in your diet. \” \”If it hurts to pass urine, the smell is offensive, and the urine is cloudy or dark, then there may be a urine infection, and you would need to get that tested as well. If you\’re passing urine frequently and in large volumes but not drinking much, that might indicate a problem with sugar control get it checked out by your doctor. \” My urine has a bad odour, especially first thing in the morning but sometimes during the day too. I sometimes get stinging and urinate quite frequently. I recently had a, but it came back ok. Urine normally has a strong smell first thing in the morning, as at this time it is very concentrated. If you are at all dehydrated, as you may well be after being in a warm bed for several hours, there can be the distinctive smell of ketones in the urine as well as the by-products from certain foods that you may have eaten the night before. Asparagus is a typical example of a substance that is passed through the kidneys into the urine that gives a powerful aroma, but even medication such as penicillin may do this too. In addition there are many other substances such as nitrates and phosphates in the urine that can colour it and give it a distinctive odour.
The more dilute your urine is and the blander your diet, the less you will notice these smells and this simply means drinking lots more water: up to 3 litres a day if necessary. The stinging and frequency you experience may simply be due to the acidity of the urine you produce, but there are other possible explanations. It is important that a or kidney infection is ruled out with a urine sample test, but you say your test came back normal. If there are no germs it is also possible that you have an inflammation of the urethra, the pipe from the bladder to the outside, known as urethritis. A urethral swab can test for this and so can a special urine test. If that is excluded, there is also the possibility that you have narrowing of the urethra, perhaps due to previous inflammation. It may be appropriate for you to be referred to a urologist or gynaecologist for uro-dynamic studies, which would include measuring the flow rate of your urine to see if there is any need for your urethra to be dilated surgically. Sertraline is sometimes capable of causing urinary symptoms, particularly difficulty urinating, and should only be taken with great caution if there is any degree of kidney impairment. A can check for this. Finally I would first ask you to see if you can solve the problem by changing the acidity and dilution of the urine. Try drinking 3 litres of water every day with cranberry juice or lemon barley water to flavour it. This simple measure alone may solve your problem. Last updated 31. 08. 2014