Bad urinary odor

Bad urine odor can have a harmless cause, but if it persists for several days, it can be an indication of an important disease.

If urine has a foul or ammonia-like odor, a urine test is needed to determine the cause.

Normally, urine is odorless and has a white to light yellow color.

Urine consists mainly of:

  • Excess water
  • Waste products filtered in the blood.

If the concentration of waste products becomes too high, the urine may smell bad.


Causes of strong urinary odor in women

In women, strong and sharp urine odor can be caused by some diseases listed below:

Urinary tract infection

A bacterial infection can affect almost all areas of the urinary system, but the bladder and urethra are the most commonly affected organs.

Inflammation of the bladder is called cystitis.

In women, urinary tract infection is more common because:

  • The urethra is shorter, making it easier for bacteria to enter the vagina,
  • The external urethral opening is closer to the anus. The bacteria contained in the stool can enter the urethra during cleaning after bowel movements.


  • Burning sensation when urinating,
  • Excretion cloudy urine, which spreads a strong, unpleasant odor.

If the infection worsens and rises to the kidneys, this can cause:

  • fever,
  • Night sweats
  • Ague.


Women who notice a foul smell of urine when urinating could suffer from vaginitis (inflammation of the vaginal walls).

Vaginitis is usually the result of an infection:

  • By bacteria
  • By fungi (yeasts).

With vaginitis, every trip to the toilet is extremely unpleasant, because the woman has to endure a bad smell of urine.

Symptoms: in addition to the bad smell of urine and vaginal discharge, the affected women suffer from:

  • vaginal itching,
  • Painful urination.
  • Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse.


After menopause, estrogen levels decrease. A woman is then much more susceptible to urinary tract infections due to the reduced protective vaginal flora.


During pregnancy, the metabolism in a woman’s body increases, because this must support the growth of the child.

This leads to an increase in waste products that enter the urine.

In addition, during pregnancy, a bad and strong smell of urine may indicate a urinary tract infection.

If this symptom is accompanied by burning during urination, the likelihood of infection is greater.

Causes of foul-smelling urine in men


In men, foul-smelling urine is often related to prostatitis, a condition typically characterized by inflammation of the prostate.

Symptoms: Patients often have pelvic discomfort, followed by pain during micturition.

In acute bacterial prostatitis, the symptoms are serious and the patient may suffer from:

  • flare-ups of fever,
  • Violent urge to urinate,
  • Weak urine stream.

In the acute form of prostatitis, a violent and frequent urge to urinate is often observed.

Prostate tumor

prostate tumor is another cause of foul-smelling urine, because it prevents the complete emptying of the bladder and a certain amount of residual urine remains in the organ.

Protein-rich diet

Ammonia is a nitrogen compound. Thus, a high-protein diet can cause an ammonia-like smell of urine.

Strong smell of male or female urine

Kidney stones

The presence of kidney stones can cause the urine to be altered:

  • He is clouded,
  • It is foul-smelling.

Mineral salts and other crystalline deposits are formed in the kidneys due to changes in the composition of the urine.

If the percentage of calcium and oxalate in the urine increases above a certain level, crystals begin to form.

The crystalline material is deposited from the urine, remains in the kidneys and after a certain time forms into kidney stones.

Symptoms: in addition to the foul smell, there is a change in color of the urine, but much more noticeable is that the person feels pain:

  • In the lower part of the back,
  • In the bar.

Usually you suffer from the painful symptoms when the kidney stone moves out of the kidney or gets stuck in the ureter.


If you take in too little fluid, the urine volume decreases and the urine is highly concentrated.

Those who drink little water experience a significant increase in urine odor, they will:

  • Dark
  • Malodorous.

Highly concentrated urine smells of ammonia.

A strong ammonia smell of urine is a sign that the person in question is suffering from dehydration.


Beverages such as coffee, which is popular all over the world, can change the normal smell of urine, from almost odorless to foul-smelling.


Antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections, are known to alter the smell of urine.

If you take antibiotics such as Augmentin or Ciprofloxacin-Teva (even for a short time), you will notice a strong smell when urinating.

Most patients taking antibiotics complain of a sudden and strong change in the smell of urine, which smells like a yeast infection (candida).

Often, doctors prescribe multivitamin preparations for various diseases.

Also, these integrators can cause urine odor, especially vitamin B6.


Urine that spreads a foul odor may also indicate hepatic insufficiency, meaning that the liver is no longer able to function effectively.

The liver produces a green-yellowish pigment (bilirubin) and only a small amount of bilirubin enters the urine.

However, if the liver is not working properly, too much bilirubin flows into the urine, resulting in a dark amber color.

In addition to the color change, a very foul smell occurs during micturition.


Phenylketonuria is a congenital metabolic disorder in which the body loses the ability to break down an amino acid (protein building block) called phenylalanine.

If the metabolism of phenylalanine decreases, the concentration of this amino acid and its derivatives in the blood and urine increases.


People suffering from diabetes excrete a urine that has an unnatural odor.

The reason for this is that diabetics have elevated blood sugar levels.

This excess sugar often ends up in the urine and gives off a characteristic odor.

Diabetogenic ketoacidosis

If the urine has a fruity or sweet smell, this may be due to diabetogenic ketoacidosis.

Increased ketone or sugar levels can give urine a sweetish or fruity odor.

Foul smell of morning urine

Urine concentrate: It is normal for urine to have a strong odor in the morning. After sleeping through the night, the urine is much more concentrated, has a strong odor and a more intense yellow.

Dehydration can increase urine concentration, causing a foul odor.

After a hot summer night, this problem can occur very easily.

Nutrition: If a person has eaten asparagus the night before, a foul smell of urine may appear in the morning.

What are the causes of ammonia smell in urine

Reasons for this can be:

  1. Dehydration. If you drink too little, the urine gets a higher concentration. A person who is dehydrated always notices an ammonia smell of the urine.
  2. Some foods and drinks change the smell of urine, which can become foul-smelling. Responsible for foul-smelling urine are: asparagus, onionsgarlic and caffeinated drinks.
  3. These changes are harmless and only temporary.
  4. An existing urinary tract infection can also be a reason for foul-smelling urine. The infection is caused by the growth of bacteria or viruses in the urinary tract. It can also cause other symptoms such as frequent urination, burning during micturition, etc.
  5. Ammonia-like or musty urine odor may be a sign of hepatic insufficiency. People who have impaired liver function can suffer from a whole host of complications because the liver is no longer able to excrete toxins and breakdown products from the blood. In addition, it can no longer maintain the levels of chemical substances in the body, which can cause problems such as yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), abdominal pain and swelling in conjunction with foul-smelling and dark urine.

Causes of ammonia smell of urine in children

If the change in color and smell of urine is only temporary, then there is no need to worry. However, if this phenomenon occurs regularly, one must not exclude a disease behind it.


If a child is dehydrated, the urine tends to a higher concentration and has a strong ammonia odor.


The child’s diet plays a role in ammonia-smelling urine. If it is rich in protein, this produces a larger amount of ammonia, which is excreted in the urine.


Urine may have an ammonia odor due to some typical pharmaceuticals (especially antibiotics).

Bacterial infection

If the bacteria multiply in the digestive tract, a significant amount of ammonia is produced, which is excreted through the urine.

Maple syrup disease

This is a genetic disease in which the organism has difficulty breaking down some amino acids.

This leads to a release of ammonia into the urine and a smell similar to that of burnt sugar.


Children under the age of 16, newborns or infants can develop type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes.

Foul urine smell after asparagus consumption

After eating asparagus, over forty percent of people notice a strange smell of urine.

The reason for this strange smell of urine after eating asparagus is the presence of two sulfur-containing ingredients known as:

  • methylmercaptan,
  • Asparagine.

Methylmercaptan is one of the many reasons for:

  • Bad breath,
  • flatulence.

When both ingredients are metabolized in the digestive tract, the result is a bad urine odor.

Another chemical substance that causes foul-smelling urine after eating asparagus is aspartic acid.

However, studies show that not everyone notices this smell, but only 30-50% of the population. This depends on a few genes in the body.

Symptoms associated with urine odor

Foul urine odor can be the result of a disease. To detect this problem, it is important to look for other symptoms that accompany the foul-smelling urine.

Symptoms suggestive of a life-threatening illness

  • Blood in the urine
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Apathy
  • Sudden change in behavior

Symptoms suggestive of a urinary tract infection

  • Stomach ache
  • Urge for frequent urination
  • Burning sensation when urinating

Therapy for foul-smelling urine

Treatment depends on the cause or condition causing this symptom.

If the person suffers from diabetes, the diet should be changed.

In case of infection, the doctor prescribes the most suitable antibiotics.

Natural remedies for foul-smelling urine

Avoid certain foods.

Diabetics who notice a strong smell of urine are advised to avoid sweet and carbonated drinks.

» Blueberry juice and garlic can help if the cause is a urinary tract infection.

» You can prepare another effective home remedy by boiling about two tablespoons of caraway seeds in four or five liters of water. Drinking this water helps to eliminate foul urine odor.

» Similarly, women who suffer from candida vaginalis can eat lean yogurt. The bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in every yogurt, can help control the spread of yeast and cure this infection.

» Drinking lemon juice and water can help eliminate bad urine odor.

Read more: