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What your urine odour says about you


Have you ever noticed an odd or funny smell while urinating? Well, any change to the smell of your urine should never be ignored. Sometimes when an unusual odour arises, some people simply ignore it and attribute the change to something in their diet. Although the food we eat may affect the smell of our urine to some degree, strong changes in urinary odour can potentially be a sign that something may be really off with the body.

When it comes to your health, urine is one bodily fluid that can provide you with a tremendous amount of information about your health status. Therefore, it is always wise to be aware of any major changes in the smell of your urine since it may actually be indicative of an active issue.
If you ever experience any weird smelling urine, here are some possible reasons for the odour:

You have a urinary tract infection
One tell tale sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is the presence of urine that is very malodourous and foul smelling. UTIs occur as a result of bacterial pathogens finding its way into the urinary tract.


Urinary tract infections tend to occur more in women and account for a good number of annual doctor visits. Additional signs of a UTI can include burning with urination, increased frequency of urination, and even fever or chills. If you are experiencing active symptoms, you should see your doctor as you will likely require a course of antibiotics to treat the infection.

Your diabetes is not well controlled
Millions of people are affected with diabetes on the African continent and the number of new cases only continue to grow. There are so many undiagnosed people unaware that they even have the condition. But one clue that may indicate you have diabetes is the presence of sweet smelling urine.
In Type 2 diabetes, lack of insulin can result in poorly regulated and very high blood glucose levels. When the condition is not well controlled or managed, the urine can take on a very sweet or fruity smell due to excess glucose or ketones in the urine. This is a body smell that you should never overlook and warrants a trip to your doctor for immediate evaluation.

You are not drinking enough fluids
Dehydration is a common problem in hot climates like Nigeria. When you do not have adequate water intake and become dehydrated, your urine may start to get super concentrated and can also emit a strong ammonia-like smell. If you do notice this change in your urine, a simple solution is to drink more water. You should never ignore your hydration status, as dehydration can contribute to a host of very serious health complications.

You have a genetic disorder
If your urine usually smells like spoiled or rotten fish, it may be indicative of a genetic disorder called Trimethylaminuria (TMAU). TMAU is a rare condition also referred to as fish odour syndrome in which levels of the compound trimethylamine increases in the body and may cause the urine, sweat, and other bodily fluids to emit a pungent fishy odor. The condition has no cure, but certain dietary changes may help manage the disorder over the course of your life.


You have an enterovesical fistula
If you have an enterovesical fistula, all this means is that the bladder and bowel have formed an abnormal connection. Intestinal fluids may leak into the bladder leading to foul smelling urine as well as a very high recurrence of UTIs. The fistula can develop in certain inflammatory conditions like Chron’s disease and management may actually require surgical intervention.

You are taking certain medications
Medications can certainly impact the way your urine smells. Certain classes of antibiotics for example contain sulfa, and these sulfa-containing medications can cause the urine to develop a strong odour. If you notice a change in the smell of your urine around the time you begin any new drug, you should mention the finding to your doctor so they can determine if there are other drug options without the side effects.

It may not always be so easy to recognize when a health problem is brewing, especially when solely based upon a change to a specific body odour. A good rule of thumb though is to see a physician whenever you suspect that something may be remotely off. They can evaluate you and assess the clinical picture in its entirety to determine if there is a true cause for concern.

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