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What causes urine to smell bad?

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Quick Answer

Certain foods, dehydration and urinary tract infections may cause urine to smell bad, according to Healthline. Less frequently, liver disease, phenylketonuria and bladder fistula can cause a distinctive urine smell.

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What causes urine to smell bad?
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Full Answer

Dehydration leads to passing of ammonia-smelling urine that is orange or dark yellow in color, notes Healthline. Increasing the intake of water may aid in reversing the problem. Severe dehydration may cause weakness, serious fatigue and confusion, and requires immediate medical attention. Foods that can cause smelly urine include asparagus, coffee, garlic and onions. Avoiding these foods may help in restoring the smell back to normal.

Bacteria in the urinary tract can trigger urinary tract infections, which may lead to symptoms such as burning urination and need to urinate often, states Healthline. Antibiotics help in inhibiting bacterial activity. Phenylketonuria, which is an inherited disorder, occurs when the body is unable to metabolize an amino acid known as phenylalanine properly. Symptoms of phenylketonuria include mental problems, skin depigmentation and a large head.

Bladder fistulas result from bowel problems or surgical injuries, which cause bacteria to enter the bladder, according to Healthline. Smelly urine that occurs along with symptoms of liver disease, including weight loss and muscle weakness, may endanger life. A person who experiences bad-smelling urine that lasts for at least two days, nausea, vomiting, bloating or mental confusion needs immediate medical care.

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