Abnormal changes in the color, odor, and quality of your urine are generally a pretty good marker of your overall health. Although everyone’s standard urine attributes are different, there are a number of universally applicable signs that point to health concerns. We will mention four of the most common ones in relation to odor here.
If it smells like ammonia
If you are dehydrated, your pee will appear darker and will start to smell a bit like ammonia, a chemical used as a refrigerant gas. Normally, your urine is diluted enough to not have a noticeable scent, but dark pee is concentrated with waste products that do produce this odor.
Bladder stones could also be a potential (more serious) cause of this smell. They develop in the kidneys when there are excess waste products in the bladder, and they cause additional symptoms such as stomach pain and blood in the urine.
If it smells sweet or fruity
Urine begins to smell sweet or fruity if there is an excess of glucose, or sugar, in it. This is a problem that frequently appears in patients with Type II diabetes because the body has blood sugar levels that are dangerously high and it tries to expel glucose in the urine.
Another potential culprit of these sweet-smelling urine is a urinary tract infection (UTI) because bacteria from the urethra get released into your pee.
If it smells like asparagus
If your urine smells vaguely like asparagus, this might in fact be because you recently ate asparagus. When we digest this stringy vegetable, we break down its sulfur into a number of compounds that contain very powerful, smelly odors.
If it smells like coffee
Much like asparagus-smelling urine, the cause for coffee-smelling urine is simply ingesting a lot of it. When compounds such as polyphenols (which are found in the drink) are broken down in your body, they become waste products which are released into your urine.
Coffee is also considered a weak diuretic, which means that it can dehydrate you and make you pee more frequently. As mentioned when describing ammonia-smelling urine, dehydration can cause this waste product to smell differently than the way it normally does.
If it smells potently foul
Extremely foul-smelling urine can once again be a sign of a UTI. Nitrates are inorganic compounds that usually get excreted through urine as wastes. However, when they get infected with bacteria, they become nitrites, which are a strong sign of infection. If you notice this symptom along with other signs such as: pain during urination, pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen, and/or cloudy urine, make an appointment with your gynecologist.