Why does my urine smell, what does it mean if it is fishy or smells like ammonia and could the smell be a sign of infection?
IT’S important to stay healthy and foul-smelling urine could be a sign something is wrong.
It doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem, but it’s worth knowing the signs to look out for.
Why does urine smell?
There are certain things which can trigger a bad odour when you go to the bathroom.
The NHS says these include:
- Certain types of food and drink, like asparagus or coffee
- Having an infection
- Being dehydrated
- Some medicines
- Vitamin B6 supplements
If you find your wee doesn’t smell normal the NHS suggests drinking lots of water, particularly if it’s hot or if you’re exercising.
And avoid eating and drinking things such as coffee, asparagus and garlic.
Asparagus is known to make urine smell, but it is thought to be down to our genes whether or not we can detect it.
When should you see your GP?
The NHS says you should see a GP if your wee smells and:
- You need to pee suddenly, or more often than usual
- You have pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- There's blood in your pee
- You have lower tummy pain
- You feel tired and unwell
- You're feeling confused or agitated
Some underlying causes could be a UTI, an STD or pregnancy.
Other causes could be diabetes, kidney stones or liver failure.
What does it mean if your urine smells fishy?
According to Heathline, there are many things which can cause a fishy like odour in urine.
Urine will often take on the smell of things we eat, so if you consume a lot of fish it is likely your wee will reflect this.
Things like coffee and asparagus can leave a fishy smell, and vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage can also cause an odour.
Another reason for the smell could be a urinary tract infection (UTI), as this causes bacteria to seep into the urine.
UTIs can also cause cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder – with one of its most noticeable symptoms strong fish-like urine.
A fishy smell can also be caused by bacterial vaginosis or sexually transmitted infections, and can also be a sign of rare metabolic disorder trimethylaminuria.
In men, an inflammation of the prostate gland, known as prostatitis, can cause fishy urine.
Liver problems, kidney stones and diabetes can all be underlying causes.
In all cases where urine has a funny smell, it’s important to drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
What does it mean if your urine smells like ammonia?
Ammonia is another smell which can be present when peeing, and can be a symptom of an underlying health problem.
Urine which smells like ammonia will have a strong chemical smell, and it is caused by a concentration of the waste product urea.
Some causes for these include bladder stones, a UTI or dehydration.
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