Why does my wee smell? Four reasons for smelly urine

Believe it or not, smelly urine is often not a huge cause for concern. There can be a number of reasons why a strong odour encases you during a trip to the bathroom – be it dehydration or simply something you ate.

But there are times when strong smelling urine could be a cause for concern, like if it’s joined by pain or a burning sensation when you pee – or if there’s blood.

But before you start to panic – pee is usually clear or pale yellow with a mild smell – read below for the most common causes of smelly urine and what it’s trying to tell you.

You’re dehydrated

If your pee is dark yellow and strong smelling, chances are you haven’t been drinking enough water and you’re dehydrated. This is the number-one cause of smelly urine and it’s your body’s way of telling you to rehydrate. Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water and squash, until your pee is a pale clear colour.

You’ve eaten asparagus

This delicious green vegetable comes with one very noticeable side effect – it makes your pee smell foul. According to the British Medical Journal, 40% of the population say they can smell “asparagus pee” – which is not pleasant when you’re using a public bathroom and someone rushes into the cubicle once you’ve done your business. But it’s not just asparagus that can change the scent of your pee, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, curry and even alcohol can change the smell. Unfortunately, the only way to combat this is to stop consuming the culprit.

You have a UTI (Urinary tract infection)

If your pee is cloudy, smelly and it hurts or burns when you pass urine – or if there’s pain in your lower tummy – chances are you have a UTI and will need to see your GP for antibiotics. A UTI isn’t just an infection in your bladder (cystitis) – it can also affect your urethra (urethritis) or kidneys (kidney infection) – so make sure you seek medical treatment immediately to get back to feeling your best.

You’re pregnant

Yes, you read that correctly – changes in the smell of your pee can be a sign that you’re expecting. Pregnant women often find themselves needing the toilet more frequently, and many notice a new smell lurking. This is because the hormones produced during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, can make your urine more pungent. So if in doubt, reach for a pregnancy test or visit your GP.

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