Smelly urine is a medical condition that is often associated with infection, inflammation and other disorders that affect the functioning of the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra). Very often, in fact, the origin of the foul-smelling urine is due to urethritis, cystitis, prostatitis, or kidney dysfunction of different types.

The normal urine odour may be relatively mild and not too noticeable. Urine odour is linked to the concentration and volume of different substances excreted by the kidneys. Normally, urine that contains a large amount of water has little or no odour. If the urine becomes highly concentrated (a high level of waste products with low levels of water) it may have a strong ammonia smell. Occasionally, the urine odour may change in some way ranging from sweet to foul, which may indicate a problem or abnormality. Urine with a foul smell may be the result of a bacteria, while sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes or a rare metabolic disorder. Moreover, liver disease and certain metabolic conditions may result in a musty-smelling urine.

In some cases, the urine appears darker and has a stronger smell than usual due to dehydration or after sweating profusely: in this case fluid replacement will be sufficient to return the urine to the usual odour and colour. 

In other cases the presence of malodorous urine may depend on the ingestion of specific foods that may confer a particularly pungent smell, such as, for example, garlic, asparagus and cabbage, or the odour may result from certain medications as well as vitamin and mineral insufficiencies. In addition to being characterized by a particularly strong odour, malodorous urine may be accompanied by the presence of other symptoms, including turbid urine, the presence of traces of blood in the urine, and burning sensation during urination.


What diseases can be associated with smelly urine?

The diseases that can be related to malodorous urine include the following:


  • Chlamydia
  • Cystitis
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney failure
  • Bladder fistula
  • Diabetes
  • Liver failure
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Prostitis
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Trichomonas
  • Urethritis

It is important to note that the list is not exhaustive and it is always better to consult a doctor.


What are the remedies for malodorous urine?

If the malodorous urine is not the result of dehydration, ingestion of certain foods or medications, one should consult a doctor. A doctor may then prescribe urinalysis and urine culture tests in order to identify the underlying cause of the malodorous urine. One should not underestimate the presence of this condition: the timelier the diagnosis, the more possible it will be to intervene with the appropriate therapy and reduce the risk of serious complications. 


When to contact a doctor?

In the presence of malodorous urine it is always recommended to consult with a doctor, especially in the presence of other symptoms such as signs of urinary tract infection or uncontrolled diabetes.