Offensive smelling urine can be embarrassing for several reasons. It may leave a foul odor after using a bathroom and this odor can sometimes linger on a person which may have a social impact. Even with best efforts to clean the genitalia the odor may be difficult to rid without bathing. With most people urinating several times in a day, the foul smelling odor can be difficult to overcome. Furthermore offensive smelling urine may also be a symptom of some underlying problem which needs medical treatment.
Why does urine have a foul odor?
Urine naturally has an ammonia odor due to the presence of urea within it. The more concentrated the urine the stronger the ammonia smell. However, this is considered normal and is based on the quantity of water a person drinks. It is also based on diet as a high protein intake will lead to a high urea output in urine since urea is a byproduct of protein breakdown.
However, there are times where urine may have an extremely strong ammonia smell even with dietary changes. This may be linked to liver and kidney diseases. There may also be times where urine has a fishy odor or a decomposing-type of odor. In both cases this is usually due to an infection. Medical treatment is necessary in these instances.
Read more on urinary tract infections.
How to Remedy Bad Urine Odor
Provided that there are no medical problems that are causing the foul smelling urine, there are several simple dietary and lifestyle measures that can be useful. Some may also assist with relieving a bad body odor as strong-smelling urine can contribute to this odor. Remember that is always important to seek medical advice so that underlying diseases can be treated promptly. Other urinary symptoms like frequent urination, discolored urine, itching of the genitalia and burning urination needs to be reported.
Drink More Water
Although it may seem obvious, many people do not practice this simple dietary change. Water consumption should be around 2 liters (68oz) daily. A simple way to remember coming close to this goal is to drink at least 8 glasses of water measuring 8oz daily.
Another effective way of ensuring adequate water intake in a day is to keep aside a large bottle of water. Mark the side of the bottle with regular time intervals. Ensure that sufficient water is consumed to meet these markings at the specified time.
Beware of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. This can cause dehydration which may lead to concentrated urine. The key to sufficient water intake is to drink water more frequently rather than a large volume a few times a day.
Do Not Take Unnecessary Supplements
Vitamin and mineral supplements can change the composition of urine. High doses of vitamins and minerals may lead to the excess micronutrients being passed out in the urine. This can contribute to the urine odor. Even if multivitamin supplements do not have an offensive odor, it may be broken down to yield foul smelling constituents in the urine, as well as sometimes change urinary habit and the color of urine.
Moderate Protein Intake
Protein is an essential nutrient for health and wellbeing. However, very high protein intake may result in increased urea production by the liver. Urea is a byproduct of protein metabolism. People with a high protein intake may find that the odor of urine can change with cutting back on high protein-foods. This includes protein supplements that may be used for bodybuilding. Speak to a dietitian about a balanced diet and healthy protein intake. Also look at changing protein sources in the diet and note whether this helps to alter the odor of urine.
Do Not Overdo Certain Foods
Apart from protein, certain other foods may also contribute to the odor of urine. Asparagus is one such food. In moderate quantities this food may not be a problem but excessive consumption could be a factor to consider when there is offensive smelling urine. Try to identify trigger foods by cutting back on foods suspected of being the problem and taking note if the urine odor changes accordingly.
Speak to a Doctor
It is important to speak to a doctor about offensive-smelling urine when simple measures like increasing water consumption does not help in relieving the foul odor. Tests may need to be conducted to identify whether there is any underlying medical problem. Sometimes urinary tract infections may not present with typical symptoms apart from foul smelling odor. Another factor may need medical supervision relates to the use of prescription drugs that could be altering the odor of urine.
Never stop prescription medication unless otherwise advised by a medical doctor.
Change Cleaning Habits
When body odor is a concern and if there is no underlying medical problem that can be corrected, lifestyle changes become necessary. One of these changes is to change cleaning habits after urination in order to prevent the foul odor from lingering and contributing to overall body odor.
It is not practical to bathe every time after urinating. Instead ensure that the genitalia is wiped thoroughly after urinating and sometime perfumed wet wipes may be a better choice than toiler paper. Also ensure neighboring areas of the groin is also cleaned as urine particles may adhere to it.
Beware of dribble. Sometimes a few drops of urine may leak out after completing urination and this may soil the underwear. The odor may then linger on the clothing and be detectable by others. Also ensure that underwear is changed regularly.
Take Note of Discharges
Sometimes the offensive odor is not from the urine itself but instead from discharges such as mucus, pus or even blood. This could be due to infections or even with menstruation in women. At times it may be difficult to differentiate mucus and pus from urine. Even small amounts of blood may be missed when it mixes with urine. Therefore urinary dipstick tests may be helpful. These inexpensive test strips is easily available and will indicate the presence of protein, pus or blood in the urine.
Read more on foamy urine.