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Ordinarily, urine has little to no odor 12. Certain medical conditions, however, may cause your urine to become strong- or foul-smelling or may affect the odor of your vulva and vaginal discharge, so that you think your urine smells bad 12. A strong urine odor in females can be harmless or the sign of a serious problem 12.
Urine that is dark and smells strongly like ammonia may be a sign of dehydration, when your body doesn't have enough water. According to BabiesOnline.com, pregnant women are at risk for dehydration, especially in early pregnancy, because they lose fluid when they vomit due to morning sickness and may have trouble keeping food or liquid down. It can cause deformities (in early pregnancy) or preterm labor (in late pregnancy). Pregnant or not, you should pay attention to your urine and other symptoms of dehydration, such as headache and dizziness, and drink plenty of water to avoid it.
- Urine that is dark and smells strongly like ammonia may be a sign of dehydration, when your body doesn't have enough water.
Causes of a Strong Urine Smell
Bacteria in the vagina, such as:
- can cause bad odors in the vulva
- making you think that your urine smells bad
- advises Columbia's health advice columnist Alice
In addition, the Mayo Clinic warns that women are at a greater risk than men for developing urinary tract infections, which can cause
Doctors can treat both types of infection with antibiotics. An untreated urinary tract infection can cause kidney damage and, in pregnant women, premature births, according to the Mayo Clinic 1.
A fistula is an abnormal connection between organs in the body. Vesicoenteric fistulae, which occur between the bowel and bladder, can also cause bad urine smells, writes Dr. Joseph Basler on eMedicine.com.
Causes of a Strong Urine Smell
Causes of a Urine Odor During Pregnancy
What Makes Urine Smell Strong?
What Are the Consequences of an Untreated UTI?
How to Reduce Acid in Urine
Does Cranberry Juice Prevent Kidney Stones?
White Vinegar for Urinary Infections
Is Low Potassium Associated With UTIs?
Is Cloudy Urine Something to Worry About?
Bladder Infections After Exercise or Walking
- Mayo Clinic: Urine Odor
- MedlinePlus: Urine Odor
- Perrier ET, Johnson EC, McKenzie AL, Ellis LA, Armstrong LE. Urine colour change as an indicator of change in daily water intake: a quantitative analysis. Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(5):1943–1949. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1010-2
- Cortes-Penfield NW, Trautner BW, Jump RLP. Urinary Tract Infection and Asymptomatic Bacteriuria in Older Adults. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2017;31(4):673–688. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2017.07.002
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- Jump RL, Crnich CJ, Nace DA. Cloudy, Foul-Smelling Urine Not a Criteria for Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection in Older Adults. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2016;17(8):754. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2016.04.009
- Kang KK, Choi JR, Song JY, et al. Clinical significance of subjective foamy urine. Chonnam Med J. 2012;48(3):164–168. doi:10.4068/cmj.2012.48.3.164
- Blackburn PR, Gass JM, Vairo FPE, et al. Maple syrup urine disease: mechanisms and management. Appl Clin Genet. 2017;10:57–66. Published 2017 Sep 6. doi:10.2147/TACG.S125962
- Prakash S, Saini S, Mullick P, Pawar M. Green urine: A cause for concern?. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol. 2017;33(1):128–130. doi:10.4103/0970-9185.202190
- Torres PA, Helmstetter JA, Kaye AM, Kaye AD. Rhabdomyolysis: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment. Ochsner J. 2015;15(1):58–69. PMID: 25829882
- Rehfuss A, Mahon J, Sorokin I, Smith C, Stein BS. Phenazopyridine: A Preoperative Way to Identify Ureteral Orifices. Urology. 2018;115:36-38. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2018.02.023
- American Urological Association. Diagnosis, Evaluation and Follow-up of Asymptomatic Microhematuria (AMH) in Adults. 2016.
- Worku DA. Purple urine bag syndrome: An unusual but important manifestation of urinary tract infection. Case report and literature review. SAGE Open Med Case Rep. 2019;7:2050313X18823105. Published 2019 Jan 12. doi:10.1177/2050313X18823105
- Alkaptonuria. National Institutes of Health. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. 3/18/2016
- Seo JW, Lee JH, Son IS, et al. Acute oxalate nephropathy caused by ethylene glycol poisoning. Kidney Res Clin Pract. 2012;31(4):249–252. doi:10.1016/j.krcp.2012.09.007
- Urinalysis. Visual Examination. Lab Tests Online. https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urinalysis/ui-exams
Mara Shannon is a writer whose work appears on various websites. Shannon also blogs about gaming and literature. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Arts in music with a focus on performance.