What Makes Urine Smell Strong or Foul?

What Makes Urine Smell Strong or Foul

 What Does Strong Smelling Urine Indicate?

The smell of fresh urine is usually fairly neutral if you have a good lifestyle, eating habits, drink enough (typically 1.5 to 2 liters a day) and empty your bladder at regular intervals. But sometimes, even if the urine is fresh, it can have a strong odor, and this is due to several factors. However, sometimes fresh urine can have a strong and unpleasant odor, a different color or cloudy, accompanied by burning or some other body discomfort. If this persists for more than a day, it could indicate a health problem that we should address with a health professional. This is due to several factors HEALTHY and FITNESS explain in this article.

Different Smells of Urine

For a long time, urine is used to diagnose diseases and provide clues to determine if something was not working well in the body. Today, along with the color and symptoms, the smell of urine can indicate optimal health or illness. The smell can be described in many different ways; for example, if it smells sweet, or if it smells like fish, ammonia, or alcohol.

What Information Can Urine Give Us?

Urine can give us a lot of information about ourselves.

Measurement of density or the specific gravity of the urine helps us to know if we are drinking enough fluids or not.

The measure of the pH of your urine, which must be acidic to neutral, is also important. When this pH level changes to alkaline, it may indicate an infection or liver disease.

In an analysis, we can also see if there are sugar, blood, or proteins, which are substances that should not exist in the urine. This can indicate serious problems such as diabetes or kidney disease-causing blood loss, a stone, or a tumor, in extreme cases.

High bilirubin (which produces dark urine) may indicate a problem with the liver and pancreas.
In a urinalysis, we can also detect a pregnancy, since in this stage the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is produced from the first days of conception.

Other tests, such as drug tests may also require a urine sample. Drug tests look for specific drugs or their metabolic products, depending on the purpose of the test.

Urinalysis is a common test done for several reasons:

To assess your general health. Your doctor may recommend a urinalysis as part of a routine medical exam, pregnancy monitoring, pre-surgical preparation, or during your hospital stay to check for various conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease.

Diagnose a disease. Your doctor may suggest urine tests if you experience abdominal pain, back pain, frequent or painful urination, and blood in your urine, or other urinary problems. Urination can help diagnose the cause of these symptoms.

Control a disease. If you have been diagnosed with a condition, such as a kidney disease or urinary tract disease, your doctor may recommend urinalysis on a regular basis to monitor the disease and treatment.
The Smell of Urine Can Provide Important Information

What Are The Causes Of Strong Smell In Urine?

There are several reasons why urine can have an unpleasant or more intense odor. Here are some examples of what causes urine to smell strong.

1. Diet and Medications Can Influence How Urine Smells

The smell of urine is closely linked to what we eat. Spicy foods can make it smell stronger, while asparagus, coffee, and garlic, for example, give it a more distinctive smell. Medications such as penicillin can also influence the smell of urine, although none of this is harmful. Food supplements containing protein tend to increase the smell and color of urine. The smell of urine disappears when the food or medicine in question is eliminated from the body.

2. Dehydration Can Cause A Strong Urine Odor

When you don't drink enough water, your urine becomes more concentrated, which is reflected in its color and smell. If your urine is dark in color and smells strong, it may be a sign of dehydration. Also, the first urine in the morning is usually more concentrated and with a more penetrating smell because during the night we are without drinking.

Highly concentrated urine, caused by insufficient fluid intake, usually has a strong odor. The concentration of urine also irritates the lining of the bladder. This can lead to emergency symptoms, characterized by a frequent need to go to the bathroom. 

This usually occurs, for example, after exercising and sweating a lot or in people who drink very little fluids. Other factors that can lead to dehydration include fever, kidney problems, diarrhea, or vomiting. Dehydration can affect everyone, but some people are more prone, such as young children, the elderly, or people with a chronic illness. If you think that you, or others, are dehydrated it is important that you act. Always make sure that you, and those you care for, drink enough fluid. 

Strong smelling dark cloudy urine can be mistaken for symptoms of a urinary tract infection, or so-called asymptomatic bacteriuria (see below).

3. Bacteria In Urine

Recent scientific studies have revealed that the urinary tract has its own microflora. This means that most people have small amounts of bacteria in their urine. However, it is normal and does not cause any discomfort. Research is continuing to find out what this flora is made of, whether it is stable or not, and whether it can help prevent infections caused by other unwanted bacteria.

4. If The Urine Smells, There May Be A Urinary Tract Infection

Sometimes unwanted pathogenic bacteria can penetrate the urinary tract and cause an infection: urinary tract infection or cystitis. It is usually caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli, which is naturally present in the intestine, sometimes entering the urethra and reaching the urinary tract. In women, UTIs tend to be more common because the urethra is shorter and closer to the anus. In addition to bacteria, viruses or fungi can trigger an infection. Invasive bacteria thrive in urine and multiply rapidly causing an infection, which can lead to an unpleasant odor. 

Symptoms of urinary tract infection or cystitis include:

  • Painful or stinging sensation when urinating.
  • More frequent and urgent urination.
  • Traces of blood in the urine.
  • Dark, cloudy, or strong-smelling urine
According to the clinical practice guide, bacterial resistance to certain drugs is one of the main causes of cystitis in women. In recent years, according to this research, 6.7% of UTIs (urinary tract infections) are caused by Escherichia coli; the percentage of these infections increases with age, being 1.4% in patients under 40 years of age and 8.7% in those over 60 years of age.

More information on urinary tract infections here - Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Treated Without Antibiotics | 6 HOME REMEDIES FOR UTI

5. Odor In Urine Due To Asymptomatic Bacteriuria

It is also possible that large numbers of bacteria reproduce in the urinary tract. Bacteria are usually of different types and are not particularly harmful. This means that they can be present without causing any problems, apart from causing the urine to have an unpleasant odor. This condition is called asymptomatic bacteriuria, or "good" bacteria. These types of bacteria are more common in the elderly, in women, and in people who suffer from diabetes or have a catheter. This condition is not usually treated with antibiotics because, if the balance of flora is disturbed, antibiotic treatment may allow the spread of other bacteria that are more difficult to treat.

6. Strong Smell In Urine At Menopause

It is very common to find urine infections during menopause due to the loss of estrogens, which are the hormones that make the tissue of the vagina more hydrated and elastic. This changes the normal flora of the bladder and germs appear that can cause a bad smell in the urine. Urine retention is common after menopause as the hormonal imbalance that arises at menopause causes the bladder muscle to weaken, making it difficult to empty the bladder. This accumulation of urine causes the increase of bacteria in the bladder and thus there are continuous infections in the urinary tract.

7. Diabetes And The Smell Of Urine

When people have diabetes and high blood glucose, the kidneys eliminate excess sugar through the urine, which is why it smells sweet. Other symptoms of high blood sugar are being very thirsty and frequent urination. See your doctor if you have symptoms of hyperglycemia.

8. Unpleasant Odor From Genital

If the genitals give off an unpleasant odor, it may be due, to a bacterial imbalance, which can be caused by excessive hygiene, treatment with antibiotics, or the use of strong soaps. Healthy skin is more resistant to infection. That is why it is essential to ensure the cleanliness and health of the genital area to maintain or improve the skin's ability to protect itself against infections. Unpleasant odors are avoided not only by thinking about how to prevent a urinary tract infection but also by applying a good skincare routine, for example with the use of specific intimate care products that keep the skin in good condition. 

9. Strong Smell In Urine During Pregnancy

One of the possible causes of the change in smell in urine is the hCG hormone, which is found both in the blood and in the urine of the future mother, thus influencing her smell. The pregnancy hormone hCG assimilates into the mother’s bloodstream and leaves the body through the urine. This is more likely in the first trimester of the pregnancy. During pregnancy, 20% more blood volume circulating in would-be mother’s body so your urine is more concentrated and possesses a strong odor.    

To reduce the risk of infection, it is important to:

  • Pay particular attention if there is a previous history of urinary tract infections or if a person is considered to be at risk. 
  • Drink enough fluids to always stay hydrated. 
  • Take care to avoid prolonged exposure of the skin to urine. 
  • Use products with materials that keep the skin dry (that is, they absorb the urine in the core of the product to move it away from the skin).
  •  Apply routines to go to the bathroom that facilitate complete bowel and bladder emptying since residual urine can pose a risk of urinary tract infection.
  • Wipe from front to back after defecation to avoid the transfer of intestinal bacteria to the urinary tract.
  • Immediately remove products stained with feces, from front to back.
  • Try not to use strong soaps in sensitive areas around the genitals, as they can cause an imbalance and irritation. Always use hygiene and skincare products with a low pH (between 4.0 and 6.0). This is especially important in the case of sensitive skin or the elderly.
  • Gently dry skin after cleansing and before putting on a new incontinence product like pads and pull-up pants as bacteria thrive in moist areas. Aerate, if possible.

Strong-Smelling Urine: WHEN TO GO TO THE DOCTOR

When the patient notices that the urine is no longer completely transparent, foams, has a foul smell, concentrated and all these symptoms last for more than a day, he should go to the doctor and take a urine test to detect the problem. 

If the urine smells bad, it does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. However, the causes should be analyzed if this smell persists over time, has nothing to do with certain foods or medications and you are concerned about the symptoms. If the color of your urine has changed, you feel painful urination, and there is blood in your urine, a more thorough diagnosis is needed. If you are concerned, see your doctor. 

Going to the doctor and not self-medicating could save us from serious urinary problems such as pyelonephritis, an infection in the urethra that affects the kidneys, and that in an advanced stage can endanger the life of the patient.

What Makes Urine Smell Strong or Foul

Bottom line:When the smell of urine changes, it can be an important sign of many things. The cause may be insignificant, such as consuming a large serving of asparagus during lunch, but it can also be a sign of dehydration or infection that causes the urine to have an unusual odor. Having a good nose and keeping an eye out for other symptoms can provide valuable clues and, if necessary, prompt a medical diagnosis.  

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