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Causes of Stinky Urine: Habits and Substances That Make Your Pee Smell Bad

There are many things that can cause stinky urine.  There are many different types of smelly pee as well, from urine that just has a strong odor to urine that smells like nail polish remover, rotten cabbage or even like fruit.  Don’t forget- if you don’t find your answer here, you can visit our forums on urinary tract health for more info.

FoodsFoods that Cause Stinky Urine

Some of the causes of stinky urine are harmless.  Eating certain foods can make your urine smell bad or different.  Asparagus and coffee are two well-known offenders.  Many other foods, drinks and spices cause foul smelling urine, but this smell is normal.  The urine odor caused by certain foods does not indicate a health problem and will go away within a day or two.  Click here for more information on which foods, drinks and spices cause stinky urine.

medications

Lifestyle, Habits and Substances that Cause Smelly Pee
Other causes of stinky urine due to lifestyle, habits and certain substances include:
High Protein/Low Carb Diets, such as the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Paleolithic Diet and the ketogenic diet

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Different Colors of Urine: What Do They Mean?

Urine ColorUrine should be clear to light yellow in color, but it can turn many different colors.  Causes range from the foods you eat to the liquids you drink to the diseases and infections you might have.

Orange Urine

Some different medications can cause orange urine, like rifampin and phenazopyridine.  This color urine can also indicate that you’ve got some problems with your bile duct or liver.  If it is lighter yellow orange urine, you may just be dehydrated.

Dark Orange or Brown Urine

Infections of the bladder such as UTI infections or even kidney problems could be to blame.  Some foods- like fava beans- are known to turn your urine a little bit brown.  Medications for malaria can turn your urine brown as well.  If your urine is dark orange or brown, you could have one of several serious conditions, such as jaundice, rhabdomyolysis, or Gilbert’s Syndrome.

Pink or Purple Urine

If you like beets, you’ve probably seen this in the toilet.  It’s known in the medical community as beeturia.

If you are already on a UTI infection medication, especially pyridium, you may end up with pink urine.

Green Urine

Do you eat a lot of asparagus?  It can cause green urine.  Medications such as propofol, an anesthetic, can also do this, as well as certain multivitamin regimens.  Pseudomonas, a bacterium that causes bladder and urinary tract infections, can also cause green urine.

MORE ABOUT GREEN URINE

Red or Brown Urine

This color can be the result of porphyria, a skin (or nervous system) condition. Click MORE below to get more information on red urine.

MORE ABOUT RED OR BROWN URINE

Blue Urine

Blue urine color is often produced by medications containing methylene blue. Examples of diseases treated with methylene blue medications include malaria, plaque psoriasis, AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma, cancer, West Nile virus, Hepatitis C and carbon monoxide or cianide poisoning, to name a few.

In babies, blue urine can be caused by blue diaper syndrome, a rare disorder where the child’s body has difficulty digesting the amino acid tryptophan.

Hypercalcemia, a condition where you have too much calcium in your blood, can also cause your urine to turn blue. Hypercalcemia is not a disease in and of itself; it is a condition that may be a symptom of disease.

Dark Yellow Urine

You are most likely dehydrated if you have dark yellow urine.  If you’ve been exercising a lot and not drinking enough water, you could start seeing dark yellow urine when you urinate.  Down a few glasses of water and see if that doesn’t get rid of the problem. Another possibility, though, is excessive amounts Vitamin B6 that is causing your urine to turn darker.

MORE ABOUT DARK YELLOW URINE

Yellow Orange Urine

Your body may have removed excess vitamins from your bloodstream.  Yellow orange urine can also happen from drinking too much alcohol.  Dehydration is to yet another cause of yellow orange urine, so don’t forget to make sure you are drinking enough water to stay hydrated.

Red urine

Blood in urine is called hematuria.  Blood in urine could be caused by a UTI infection, but there is also a small chance it could be an early sign of bladder cancer.  Many more things can also cause bloody urine, including medications, exercise, injury and kidney stones.  If you’re seeing blood in your urine, you should call your doctor to get some tests done.

Black Urine

Certain substances used in laxatives, such as senna or cascara, can cause black urine.

Black urine is sometimes a symptom of melanoma, in which case it is called melanuria.

Another possible cause is a rare genetic condition called alkaptonuria (AKA black urine disease). Alkaptonuria is a genetic disorder that causes the body to have trouble metabolizing tyrosine and phenylalanine. Black urine disease is more common in the Dominican Republic and Slovakia, compared to other countries in the world.

If you have urine that is black in color, you need to seek medical help.

What Do I Do Now?

So many things can make your urine change color, from common foods and medications, all the way to serious illnesses and even hereditary disorders.  If you’re urine is a different color than usual, call your doctor and get some tests run- it’s always better to be on the safe side.

Need to Find Out More About Urine Colors?

There are many great websites out there for those wanting all of the details on their specific urine color.

Urine Colors Website
http://www.urinecolors.com/

Better Medicine Article on Urine Colors
http://www.localhealth.com/article/urine-color-changes

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Yellow Urine

Yellow UrineYou should have pale yellow urine. Sometimes, though, there are fluctuations in color. Dark yellow urine could indicate that you are dehydrated and need to drink more fluids. Neon yellow urine is often a side effect of a medication or vitamin you’ve taken. Below is more information on neon yellow urine and yellow orange urine.

Neon Yellow Urine

Neon yellow urine color is most often caused by a multivitamin, vitamin C or B vitamin complex you are taking. Some of the vitamins cause bright, neon yellow pee, especially carotene. This side effect of taking vitamins is not harmful and is no reason for concern.

Another common cause of neon yellow urine is food dye. Dyes are used not only in food, but also in medications (both over-the-counter and prescription). Eating foods that have a lot of orange or yellow coloring could turn your urine neon yellow for a day or two. Dyes are also commonly used in urinary pain relief medications- the color depends on the brand you bought. Neon yellow urine resulting from food coloring or dyes is not a sign of a health problem and won’t hurt you.

Don’t forget that natural foods have their own “dyes”, too, so they can also turn your urine neon yellow. Asparagus is one food known to make your urine neon yellow. And if you’ve eaten a lot of carrots or other foods high in carotene, they can also change the color of your urine to a bright, neon yellow. Beets are another frequent cause of neon yellow urine.

Yellow Orange Urine

Yellow orange urine can be caused by food dyes, commonly found in foods and medications. Urinary pain relief medications often turn your urine yellow orange. Sometimes they turn your urine orange all together.

Some of the prescription medications known to cause yellow orange urine are:

  • Idarubicin
  • Ferrioxamine
  • Oxamniquine
  • Phenazopyridine
  • Rifampicin
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Warfarin

Yellow orange urine can also be caused by eating large amounts of beets, rhubarb or blackberries.

Conditions that Can Turn Your Urine Yellow Orange

Some health conditions and diseases can give you yellow orange urine. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperlipidemia (high levels of lipids/lipoproteins in urine)
  • Porphyria

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Blue or Green Urine

Blue or GreenWhen You Have Blue Urine or Green Urine

If you find that you have blue urine or green urine, it is most likely that the cause is a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a medication you’ve been taking. There are, however, some diseases and conditions that cause blue urine or green urine.
There are many, many medications- both over-the-counter and prescription- that give you blue urine or green urine. Below is a list of some of them, but don’t forget that there are more than just these. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about whether any new medication you’ve taken could have green or blue urine as a side effect.

Medications that Cause Blue or Green Urine

Amitriptyline- an anti-depressant and migraine preventative known to cause blue urine or green urine

Cimetidine (Tagamet)- a common antacid medication that is also used to treat stomach ulcers

Indomethacin (Indocin)- a medication used to treat gout

Propofol (Diprivan)- a drug used as a general anesthetic or a sedative administered by IV

Methylene Blue- an ingredient in food dyes and medications with a wide variety of uses. It is usually part of the food colors Azure A, B and C. It is an MAOI and so should be used carefully, especially by those taking SSRI medications. Methylene blue is an ingredient in Prosed, another medication on this list, and is the reason Prosed can cause blue urine or green urine.

Metoclopramide- an anti-nausea drug that also increases gastric motility

Promethazine (Phenergan)- an anti-histamine medication that is also used to treat nausea and insomnia

See more medications that cause blue urine or green urine below.

Prosed, Urised and Trac Tabs- anti-spasmodic medications used for urinary tract pain

Triamterene- a diuretic used to treat high blood pressure and edema (swelling)

Viagra- a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction

General Categories of Medications:

Medications used to treat urinary pain- These can turn your pee unusual colors, depending on which brand you get. It is not unusual for this sort of medication to turn your urine blue or green.

Medications with Methylene Blue as an ingredient- This compound is used for many different purposes. In combination with light, it is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, such as psoriasis, West Nile virus and Hepatitis C, due to its anti-viral properties. It is being investigated for use against cancer and dementia.

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Black or Brown Urine

Brown UrineIf you have urine that is black or brown, it is understandably distressing. Fortunately, the most likely cause of black urine/brown urine is that you ate certain foods or it’s a side effect of a medication you took. In some cases, though, it can be a sign of disease.

The first part of this article is about black and/or brown urine, while the second part is about black urine in particular.

The foods you eat could be the cause of your black/brown urine. The top three foods that can cause this are aloe, rhubarb and fava beans (also called broad beans or field beans). If you have black or brown urine from eating these foods, it is harmless and will go away in a day or two.

Medications that Cause Black or Brown Urine

Some medications have black/brown urine as a side effect. If you have recently taken a new medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist whether black/brown urine is a side effect.

These medications are known to sometimes cause black/brown urine as a side effect:

Metronidazole (Flagyl)- an antibiotic, especially used for Clostridium dificile infections.  It is also used in anti-rosacea creams or gels, although the cream or gel versions are unlikely to turn your urine black or brown.

Furazolidone- an antibiotic/anti-microbial medication

Methyldopa (Aldomet)- a treatment for high blood pressure, especially pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. Methyldopa’s metabolites turn black when they come into contact with bleach, which is present in many toilets.

Chloraquine- a drug used to prevent malariaPrimaquine- a medication used to treat malaria and sometimes pneumoniaNitrofurantoin- an anti-biotic often used as a treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Cascara or Senna- ingredients in some laxatives

Methocarbamol- a muscle relaxer used to treat muscle spasms

Sorbitol- has many uses, including as a laxative and as a sugar substitute.

Contamination with Betadine (povidone-iodine) solution can turn urine brown (this could possibly happen while douching).

Diseases that Cause Brown or Black Urine

Some health conditions and diseases can cause black or brown urine. Alkaptonuria, a rare genetic disease, is one example. People who have alkaptonuria may have urine that gets darker and darker the longer it is exposed to air/left standing.

Melanoma can also cause urine that gets darker and darker as it is left exposed to air. This is due to the melanin and melanogen in the urine. This kind of black/brown urine will darken from the top down, which can be seen if the urine is in a clear container.

Tyrosinosis, a metabolic disorder, can cause a person’s urine to appear brown or black.

Porphyria cutanea tarda, a disease that affects heme in the body, may case brown/black urine as a symptom. However, the main symptoms are blistering or the detachment of nails from the nail bed after exposure to sunlight. People with this type of porphyria also often have liver problems.

Black Urine

Laxatives and Black Urine

Laxatives that use senna or cascara may cause black urine. Senna is a plant product and is often found in “vegetable laxatives” or “all-natural” products. These brands have at least one product that contains senna:

  • Senokot
  • Walgreens Senna Tablets
  • Smooth Move
  • Goldline
  • Sunmark
  • Fieldtex
  • Traditional Medicinals
  • Mason Remedies
  • McKesson

Cascara is another laxative ingredient that might turn your urine black. It is from a buckthorn species of plant. These brands have at least one product containing cascara:

  • Puritan’s Pride
  • Nature’s Way
  • NOW Foods
  • Heughan’s

Senna and cascara are not known to be harmful. Black urine caused by these substances should resolve within 1-2 days.

Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma, an aggressive type of cancer, can cause black urine due to the melanin in it.

Black Urine Disease (Alkaptonuria)

Another possible cause is a rare genetic condition called alkaptonuria (AKA black urine disease). Alkaptonuria is a genetic disorder that causes the body to have trouble metabolizing tyrosine and phenylalanine. Black urine disease is particularly common in the Dominican Republic and Slovakia, compared to other countries in the world.

Hemoglobinuria

Hemoglobinuria- excess hemoglobin in the urine- may cause black urine, but it could also result in red or brown urine instead. Hemoglobinuria is when you have high levels of hemoglobin, a component of your blood, in your urine. There are many possible causes for hemoglobinuria, including:

  • Burns
  • Acute glomerulonephritis (a kidney disease)
  • Kidney cancer
  • Malaria and medications used to treat malaria
  • Exposure to arsenic gas

If you have black urine, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible, especially if you have any other symptoms.

Related:

Chlamydia

Gonorrhea

Urinary Tract Infections Cause Smelly Urine

Yeast Infections and Urine Odor

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Top 10 Causes of Stinky Urine Part 3

The Most Common Causes of Stinky Urine (continued)

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Yeast Infections

Vaginal yeast infections can cause a foul odor that seems as though it is coming from urine when in actuality, it is coming from the vagina. Yeast infections can also cause itching, burning and soreness in the genital area…MORE

 

asparagus

Asparagus Causes Stinky Urine

Certain foods, drinks and spices cause smelly pee.  If this is the cause of your stinky urine problem, one solution is to simply avoid the offending substance…MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

UTI Infections

A common cause of stinky urine is a urinary tract infection.  Usually, other symptoms will appear as well, such as pain when urinating, blood in urine and constantly feeling as though you need to urinate…MORE

 

 

 

 

 

Gonorrhea

 

#1: Dehydration

The #1 cause of stinky urine is dehydration, usually caused by not drinking enough water…MORE

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Top 10 Causes of Stinky Urine Part 2

The Top 10 Most Common Causes of Stinky Urine (continued)

STD

#5: STD’s & Stinky Urine

Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) cause foul smelling urine.  Many others cause symptoms often mistaken for stinky pee at first, such as those that cause foul-smelling discharge…MORE

 

 

 

Vitamins

#6: Vitamins & Supplements that Make Your Urine Smell Bad

Certain vitamins and health supplements can make your urine have an unusual or foul smell…MORE

 

 

 

 

medications

#5: Medications

Certain medications are known for causing urine to have a strong, unusual or foul odor, including antibiotics and sulfa drugs, among others…MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

             MORE TOP 10 CAUSES OF STINKY URINE

 

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Home

Top 10Top 10 Most Common Causes of Stinky Urine

While there are many possible causes of smelly urine, some are more common than others.  Read on to find out more about the most common causes of foul-smelling urine…MORE

 

 

 

 

 

Sign of Disease

Is Stinky Urine a Sign of Disease?

If you are having problems with smelly urine, you may be worried about whether it is a sign of a disease or health problem.  This is especially true if you are also having other symptoms that might be related to the bad smell in your urine…MORE

 

 

 

 

Low Carb

Low Carb or High Protein Diets and Foul Smelling Urine

Unusual or foul-smelling urine is a common problem for people on a low-carb diet. Diets like the Paleo Diet, the South Beach Diet and the ketogenic diet can cause stinky urine…MORE

 

 

 

 

 

Urine Color

Urine Color

Urine should be clear and pale yellow in color, but it can turn many different colors.  Causes range from the foods you eat to the liquids you drink to the diseases and infections you might have and not even know it…MORE

 

 

 

 

Foods

Foods that Cause Stinky Urine

If you are having smelly urine, the cause may well be something you ate or drank.  Many foods, drinks and spices can make your urine smell bad.  Luckily, if food has caused your smelly pee, it should go away fairly quickly…MORE

 

 

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Top 10 Causes of Stinky Urine Part 1

The Top 10 Most Common Causes of Stinky Urine

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#10: Kidney Stones Cause Stinky Urine

Kidney or bladder stones, also known as urinary stones, can cause stinky urine. Urinary stones are more common in men, but women can also get them…MORE

 

 

739bba_3f1c4f13f469ed319943c390700fbad8#9: Smoking and Smelly Urine

Have you noticed lately that your urine smells?  I’m not talking about the usual smell we associate with urine, but something worse.  If you smoke, that could be the cause of the problem…MORE

 

739bba_59307a424e646e93fe345f5921a17f94#8: High Protein/Low Carb Diets

Eating a diet high in protein puts your liver to work. As your liver processes the extra protein you’ve taken in, it produces ammonia as a by-product.  Since ammonia is toxic, your liver converts it to urea.  Then your kidneys send it out of your body through your urine…MORE

 

STD

#7: STD’s & Stinky Urine

Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) cause foul smelling urine.  Many others cause symptoms often mistaken for stinky pee at first, such as those that cause foul-smelling discharge…MORE

Vitamins

#6: Vitamins & Supplements that Make Your Urine Smell Bad

Certain vitamins and health supplements can make your urine have an unusual or foul smell…MORE

medications

#5: Medications

Certain medications are known for causing urine to have a strong, unusual or foul odor, including antibiotics and sulfa drugs, among others…MORE

 

 

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STD’s and Stinky Urine: Chlamydia

STDChlamydia is one STD that may cause smelly urine as a symptom.

Chlamydia is an infection, usually of the genitals or eyes, caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is the most common STD in the U.S. and in the U.K. In the U.S., about 1 million people have Chlamydia.

Although this infection is transmitted sexually, via vaginal, anal or oral sex, it can also be transmitted to a baby if the mother has it.

Chlamydia often causes no symptoms in women, while in men it tends to cause multiple symptoms. The most common are a white discharge from the penis and pain during urination.

Even if you do not have any symptoms, it is vital that the infection still be treated. Otherwise, it may cause problems more serious than smelly pee- including testicular pain and pelvic inflammatory disease.

50% to 80% of women with Chlamydia have no symptoms. However, they are still as much at risk of complications as women who do. Pelvic inflammatory disease can result from this STD, causing uterine and fallopian tube scarring that cause ectopic pregnancies, infertility and complications in pregnancy. In addition, females with Chlamydia are 500% more likely to contract HIV.

Symptoms in women, when present, may include:

  • Pain during sex
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain during urination
  • Frequent urge to urinate

Symptoms of Chlamydia in Men

Half of all men who get Chlamydia will experience inflammation of the urethra, which causes pain/burning during urination. It may also cause a light colored discharge from the penis, tender/swollen testicles or fever.

Left untreated, Chlamydia can cause testicular pain and sterility.

How Can I Get Tested for Chlamydia?

You can get tested for Chlamydia and other STD’s by seeing a doctor, using an at-home test kit or using STD testing online.

You can get STD test kits to complete at home, then you would send in the test. The lab will analyze it and you will get your results privately.

STD testing online is an excellent choice because it saves time, money and it maintains your privacy.

Many communities have an STD clinic where free or lower cost STD tests are conducted. Some are run by the local government and others are private, such as Planned Parenthood.

Diagnosing Chlamydia

Your doctor can have you tested for Chlamydia.  This involves either taking a swab of the inside of the penis or cervix or testing your urine.  It is also possible to test yourself for Chlamydia using an at-home test kit.

Treatment for Chlamydia 

Chlamydia is treated using prescription antibiotics. Partners should be treated at the same time to keep from re-infecting each other.

Don’t forget that antibiotics can sometimes cause smelly urine.

OTHER STD’S

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