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9 reasons why your pee stinks and why you shouldn’t take it lightly

Published on:15 June 2020, 19:47pm IST
Don’t take your urine odour casually as it can be an indicator of bigger health hassles.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Have you lately noticed the smell of your pee. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Your pee has a lot to say about your lifestyle habits. Sounds gross, we know! But from its colour to the way it smells—everything has to do with your health. Wondering why we’re discussing this? Well, that’s because when your pee smells bad, then it is an indicator that something is terribly wrong. 

Dr Veena Aurangbadwala, a gynaecologist at Zen Hospital, Mumbai, says: “Usually urine has a smell of its own, but if you are well hydrated then it is not that pungent. On the contrary, if you are dehydrated then this smell becomes stronger after every passing hour—but it’s not that harmful,” she says. “Having said that, there can be other reasons which can lead to problems and you need to watch out for them.”

Here are the nine reasons why your urine smells bad:

1. You’re taking nutritional supplements
“Supplements like vitamins, especially B vitamins, can not only make the urine smell stronger but also change its colour,” explains says Aurangbadwala.

2. You might have diabetes
Diabetes has a big role to play in the way your urine smells. “When you are diabetic, an increase in your sugar levels changes the smell of your urine and you sense a sweet smell when you pee. This is also an early sign of diabetes,” says Dr Aurangbadwala.

type 2 diabetes
Keep your blood sugar level in check if you don’t want your pee to stink. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

3. You could have a UTI
“Foul or rotten egg-like smell is one of the first indications that you have a UTI or urinary tract infection. And when you have a bacterial or fungal growth down there then, of course, it impacts on the biome of your vagina” says Dr Aurangbadwala.

4. It could also be the doing of an STI
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are sexually-transmitted diseases that impact the urinary system. “Only these two impact the smell of the urine otherwise STIs don’t have that effect. So, this is again a valid indicator,” suggests Dr Aurangbadwala.

5. You might be drinking too much coffee
It’s a well-known fact that coffee is a diuretic and too much of it can lead to dehydration. This can ultimately lead to a fishy smell when you pee. “The smart thing to tackle smelly pee is to drink a glass of water before and after a cup of coffee to dilute its effect,” recommends Dr Aurangbadwala.

benefits of quitting coffee
Limit your coffee intake. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

6. You might have eaten too much garlic
Did you know that according to a 2016 study published in the British Medical Journal, most people can sense the difference in the smell of their pee if they eat something which actually has a strong smell like garlic or asparagus etc?

7. You might be pregnant
When you are pregnant, hormones play hide and seek inside your body. And the ones that affect the smell of your pee are oestrogen and progesterone. “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone levels increase, especially in the first trimester. Also, during pregnancy women’s sense of smell becomes stronger and it becomes easier for them to detect this change,” says Dr Aurangbadwala.

Hormones during your pregnancy can make your pee stink. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

8. You might have kidney stones
“Any urinary problems that affect your bladder can impact the smell of your urine. Period,” says Dr Aurangbadwala.

9. You might have a genetic disorder
“Basically, maple syrup disease and Phenylketonuria aka PKU are two genetic disorders that are detected in childhood but they are carried lifelong. In both of them, we have seen that patients complain of urine odour,” says Dr Aurangbadwala.

“The thing to remember is that whenever you see a sudden change in the smell of your urine you must consult a doctor because there are also chances of you having a liver disorder. That’s why I would never advise to let go of this problem,” concludes Dr Aurangbadwala. 

So, next time when you take a leak and that fishy smell greets you, don’t take it lightly and visit a doctor.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.