Now that summer's here, it's important to keep hydrated. But, you know how it is: The more you drink, the more you have to urinate. On a daily basis, we typically produce almost seven cups of urine. This waste product contains more than 3,000 different compounds that are broken down from food, drinks, medicine and other by-products. These compounds are then filtered out of the blood by our kidneys.
If you are healthy and hydrated, urine barely has any odor. If you do notice an usual smell, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Here are five reasons why your urine may smell:
1. You May Be Dehydrated
If you aren't drinking enough water, you may notice that your urine has an odor that is stronger than usual. This can be a sign that your urine has become extremely concentrated, which happens when there's a lack of water to balance out its compounds and chemicals. This can be resolved by drinking more fluids. A sure sign that you are drinking enough is when your urine is pale yellow or clear.
2. You've Eaten Asparagus
Certain foods can give your urine a strong smell. Asparagus is a likely culprit. It contains a specific compound that, once in your system, gets broken down into sulfur compounds. These are responsible for that smell of rotten eggs. No reason to worry though - the smell goes away after a few rounds of urination. Certain medications can cause a strong odor, too.
3. You Have a Bacterial Infection
If unwelcome bacteria have gathered in your bladder through the urethra, this may result in a urinary tract infection (UTI). Women tend to suffer from UTIs more than men. This is because their urethras are shorter than men's, which enables bacteria to get into the bladder and multiply more easily. A strong, sometimes foul, odor is just one sign of a UTI. Other symptoms include a burning sensation during urination.
4. You Have a Sexually Transmitted Infection
While most sexually transmitted infections (STI) won't alter the smell of one's urine, certain infections can cause unpleasant vaginal odor that becomes noticeable during urination. For example, trichomoniasis, a parasite-causing STI, cause a potent or fish-like vaginal odor.
5. Your Diabetes is Not Cooperating
For people who don't know they have diabetes or don't have it under control, sweet- or fruity-smelling urine is a sign that glucose (sugar) has spilled into the urine. This happens when blood glucose levels are too high. People with diabetes don't have enough insulin in their bodies to process the glucose (sugar) they need for energy. Instead, their bodies burn fat to use for energy. This process creates byproducts called ketones that can cause a fruity smell in the person's urine and on the person's breath.
What to Do?
There could be many reasons why your urine has a funny smell. Aside from having a rare genetic disorder that causes your urine to smell like maple syrup, most reasons are harmless and can be easily corrected. If concerned, visit your doctor. The important thing is to pay attention to your body, your urine and what they are telling you.
Do you know other reasons why urine smells? Share them with us!