Consider your smelly pee worries… flushed.
You know the daily drill: Drink. Pee. Drink. Repeat. But sometimes, your usual bathroom routine can come to a screeching halt when notice a *sniff sniff* funky smell after doing your business.
Most of the time, odd-smelling urine isn’t a sign of anything harmful, and should go away soon. But if you’re still looking for some, uh, pee-ce of mind, here are four common causes of funky-smelling pee.
1. You have a urinary tract infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria that get into the bladder, where your urine is held until you’re ready to pee. Bacteria can cause foul-smelling, cloudy, and sometimes bloody urine, which is a common UTI symptom.
2. You just ate asparagus
You may love asparagus, a healthy spring veggie that’s chock-full of folate and vitamins C and A, but you might not love the stench it gives off if you’re among the 40 percent of people genetically prone to smell it. That aspargus-derived aroma comes from a compound called asparagusic acid, which when ingested is converted into rotten egg-smelling pee.
Never smelled eau de asparagus pee? Well, “urine” luck. You (along with the other 60 percent of the population) probably have what’s called asparagus anosmia, a genetic mutation that hinders your ability to smell asparagus pee compounds.
3. You’re pretty dehydrated
Being dehydrated goes beyond just feeling thirsty or parched. Your whole body can feel the symptoms of dehydration—including your pee (and in turn, your nose).
If you’re not sipping enough H20, your urine can become concentrated, turn dark yellow, and give off a strong ammonia-like odor. Smelly, yes, but it’s also an important warning to up your water intake. Here are other health issues your pee color can signify.
4. You have high blood sugar
For people with diabetes, symptoms of high blood sugar can vary, but a common sign is frequent urination, and sometimes, fruity-smelling pee. If your blood sugar is too high, your body may try to get rid of the extra sugar through your pee, which can make it smell sweet.
While most incidences of smelly pee are harmless (and could be due to a med or supplement you took or something you ate or drank), if you notice anything out of the norm, it’s always wise to keep an eye (or nose) on it. If unusual smelling pee sticks around or is accompanied by other symptoms, like fever, chills, or a burning sensation, call a doctor.
Sniffing out significant “Pee values”: genome wide association study of asparagus anosmia. Boston, MA: Department of Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, 2016. (Accessed on December 25, 2021 at https://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6071)
Urine odor. Medical Encyclopedia. U.S National Library of Medicine. (Accessed on December 25, 2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007298.htm)
Acute complicated urinary tract infection (including pyelonephritis) in adults. UpToDate. (Accessed on December 25, 2021 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/acute-complicated-urinary-tract-infection-including-pyelonephritis-in-adults)
Diabetic ketoacidosis. Medical Encyclopedia. U.S National Library of Medicine. (Accessed on December 25,2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000320.htm)