Category Archives: Worst Case Scenarios


Bladder, Vaginal and Rectal Fistulas

A fistula is an abnormal connection between two organs that are not usually connected.  A fistula between the bladder and the vagina or the colon could cause your urine to smell bad. The fistula would allow bacteria into the bladder that is normally not present. This can make your urine smell bad.


What Causes a Bladder Fistula?

Bladder fistulas are usually caused by a previous surgery, Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, cancer or radiation therapy.

Treating fistulas involves removing them surgically.

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Filed under Bladder & Liver Diseases, Worst Case Scenarios

Bladder Cancer

In some rare instances, a foul odor in urine can be caused by bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is a relatively rare condition. The symptom most commonly associated with bladder cancer is blood in the urine. The majority of people with bladder cancer will have blood or blood clots in their urine. Other symptoms of early stage bladder cancer include pain during urination, frequent urination of small amounts of urine and frequent urinary tract infections.
Bladder Cancer

As bladder cancer advances, it may cause lower back side pain and swelling in the legs.

If you have any of the signs or symptoms associated with bladder cancer, you should discuss them with your doctor. Many different conditions can cause the same symptoms as bladder cancer. You will need a doctor’s help to find out what is at the source of your foul-smelling urine.

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Filed under Bladder & Liver Diseases, Infections, Worst Case Scenarios

Worst Case Scenarios

Worst Case Scenarios: Is Stinky Urine a Sign of a 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 you believe might be related to the bad smell in your urine.


The only way to find out for sure what is causing the bad odor in your urine is to consult your doctor.  However, knowing the worst possibilities up front can help you be prepared and informed so you can make the most of your doctor visit.

These causes are much less likely than the possibilities on our Top 10 Most Common Causes of Stinky Urine list, but they are possibilities nonetheless.

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739bba_2553b1c845d7001cb7f87c059c3978fePhenylketonuria, also known as PKU, is a rare genetic disorder that may cause smelly urine.  The smell is often described as “mousy” or “musty” and is usually detected not only in urine, but in body odor and breath as well.


PKU is an inherited genetic disorder that is relatively rare.  It makes a baby unable to break down a certain amino acid (phenylalanine) that is common in protein-based foods.


Because the child cannot break down phenylalanine, it builds up in the blood to toxic levels.  This can cause damage to the central nervous system and brain.

Symptoms of PKU

  • Foul, musty smelling urine is not the only symptom of PKU. Other symptoms include:

  • Very small head

  • Mental retardation

  • Seizures

  • Jerking movements in the limbs

  • Rashes

  • Tremors

  • Relatively light skin, hair and eye color compared to parents and siblings

  • Hyperactivity
  • Developmental delay of cognitive and social skills 


Tests for Phenylketonuria



A blood test can determine whether or not a child has PKU. In the United States, this blood test is mandatory for all babies. It is usually performed before the baby even leaves the hospital.


Treatment for Phenylketonuria


A diet extremely low in phenylalanine is the most common treatment for a baby with PKU. The child can be fed a special formula (Lofenalac) meant for babies with this condition. When the child starts eating solid food, phenylalanine must be avoided. It is common in NutraSweet/Aspartame, milk and eggs, among other foods.


Due to the restriction in the child’s diet, a doctor may recommend certain supplements, such as fish oil, iron or carnitine. This is intended to support neurological development.


The dietary restrictions for babies with PKU must be strictly followed. If the diet is adhered to, the child can have a very good prognosis. However, if the diet and other treatments recommended by physicians are not followed, a child with PKU will have brain damage leading to mental retardation within the first year after birth.


If you notice foul, musty smelling urine in an infant, it is best to seek a doctor’s advice as soon as possible. Because smelly pee in babies could be a sign of a problem such as PKU, your child’s symptoms should be evaluated by a professional.


Filed under Colors of Urine, Worst Case Scenarios

Maple Syrup Urine Disease

Maple Syrup Urine Disease, or branched-chain ketoaciduria, is a rare genetic disease that causes problems with metabolizing branched chain amino acids. It causes a baby’s urine to smell like maple syrup or burnt sugar. 


If not treated, Maple Syrup Urine Disease causes severe brain damage and death.


This disorder is inherited if both parents have the recessive gene for it.

Maple Syrup Urine Disease


Symptoms of Maple Syrup Urine Disease


In Maple Syrup Urine Disease, the deficiency in ability to process branched-chain amino acids is present at birth.  However, a baby might not immediately show symptoms of the disease. Maple Syrup Urine Disease symptoms include:


Urine that smells sweet, like maple syrup or like burnt sugar
Ear wax that also smells like maple syrup or burnt sugar
Poor muscle tone
Poor feeding
Decline in neurological function
Abnormal posture where the neck and spine are strongly arched backwards (in a “bridge” type formation)

Symptoms of Maple Syrup Urine Disease are apparent soon after birth in most cases.  However, symptoms could appear later during childhood in some cases.


Treatment for Maple Syrup Urine Disease


This disease is treated with a special diet that minimizes levels of branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine). The person’s blood must be frequently tested to monitor the amount of branched chain amino acids in the body.


If the diet is strictly followed, people with Maple Syrup Urine Disease can have good health and a normal lifespan.

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Millions of Americans are getting diabetes everyday, usually through lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise.  While Type 1 diabetes is considered a genetic disorder and is not preventable, Type 2 diabetes is preventable and shouldn’t strike anyone who is careful.

If you’re worried that you may have diabetes, perhaps because you are overweight or obese, or maybe because you have some common symptoms of diabetes, like constant thirst and the need to urinate all the time, you may want to check with your doctor.  Catching this condition early and treating it correctly will save you a lot of heartache later in life.

About Diabetes
Diabetes is caused by an inadequate amount of insulin in the blood.  The result is that higher than normal levels of glucose start to appear and then build up in.  That means that each time you eat, your body is releasing insulin into your blood from your pancreas.  If your body can’t handle this insulin, it will turn into glucose, overloading your system and causing problems. 


We need insulin because it allows our stomachs to turn the foods we eat into glucose, the basic sugar form of energy that our bodies need to build and repair cells.  When that glucose gets into our bloodstreams, insulin is needed to help it get into the cells.  Once safely inside our cells, glucose will give us the energy we need.


When you don’t have enough insulin, however, your body will have problems.  How can you get that glucose into your cells?  How can you get the energy you need? 


It’s no wonder that many people with diabetes often feel tired or thirsty; their bodies aren’t getting the energy they need from the foods they eat.  What’s more, extra glucose is usually stored in our liver to be used at a later time when the body needs it.  This instinctual and critical starvation response will be seriously disrupted if your body can’t make the insulin it needs.



Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes



There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.


Type 1


This form of Diabetes shows up early, usually having its onset in young people under 30.  The main cause is that there’s not enough insulin in the pancreas.  These are the people you see in restaurants taking their insulin shots, which will help them break down that extra glucose.

Type 2


This form of Diabetes shows up late, usually having its onset in older people.  The best treatment for Type 2 Diabetes is proper diet and exercise.  After all, most people who are affected by this usually are overweight or obese, and the numbers are staggering.  In 1985 only 30 million people had Type 2 diabetes, but by 2010 the number had jumped to nearly 285 million.  Foods and sedentary lifestyles are the main culprits.


Symptoms of Diabetes



There are some symptoms that are common to both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes:


  •  Constantly thirsty;
  •  You feel the need to urinate frequently;
  •  Fatigue;
  •  Vision changes;
  • Constantly hungry;
  •  Unexplained weight loss;
  •  Cuts that are slow to heal or become infected;
  •  Itchy skin that won’t go away.


Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes:

  • If you’re starting to develop Type 1 Diabetes, you’ll usually experience extreme thirst, fatigue, and weight loss.
  •  Polynuria:  This is the medical name for urinating too often or frequently, as much as 2-3 liters over a 24-hour period.


Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:

  • There are fewer symptoms when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes, and many older or overweight people won’t even know they have it until other serious conditions or complications result. Still, the common symptoms listed earlier, such as constant thirst, hunger, or urination all apply.
  • That’s why regular checkups with your doctor are so important, and if you’re already overweight, think about some easy exercises or dieting options to reduce your risk, and symptoms.
  •  Many people find that their Type 2 Diabetes will disappear completely when they begin to lose weight.  But be careful, many successful people lose the weight only to let it come back.  Type 2 Diabetes can come back as a result.


Diabetes and Urine


If you’ve got either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, you may find that you’re experiencing some problems with your bladder or urine.  Many people will experience a UTI infection at least once in their lives, but if you’ve got diabetes, you might find that these problems are coming on sooner and occurring more often.


It’s simple really; diabetes damages the nerves that are needed to maintain our healthy urinary tracts and function. 


Problems with Diabetes and Urine


  • Frequent urination because of high blood sugar levels;
  •  The muscles of the sphincter work poorly;
  •  You can’t empty your bladder when you urinate;
  •  Bladder or urinary tract infections.


These problems will only get worse if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, are extremely overweight or obese, are at an advanced age, smoke, or lead an inactive lifestyle.  What’s more, when your bladder is not functioning properly because of diabetes, you get the double whammy of having your insulin intake actually making your bladder problems worse.

Treatments for Diabetes and Urine Problems


  • If you’ve got an overactive bladder you may be prescribed medications, urged to undergo bladder training methods, get electrical stimulation, or even undergo surgery.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  •  If your sphincter is affected, you may be having problems controlling your urine, often experiencing leakage.  Botox has been known to help, but has not been approved officially for this use.
  •  If you’re retaining too much urine in your bladder and it never quite feels like you’re done when you finish up in the bathroom, you may be setting yourself up later in life for such conditions as kidney or bladder infections.  There are many medications that will help you.  And if you have serious problems, catheters and stents can be installed after any surgeries.
  • Too much glucose in our blood is not good, and the body tries to get rid of it by one of the best ways it has, urine.  You’ll often feel the need to pee frequently when you have diabetes, and this may also make you feel thirsty.  A viscous cycle then develops, and you might feel like you need to pack a bag and move into your bathroom.  Still, this is good as your body is trying to get rid of that glucose buildup.






Cloudy Urine- What Does It Mean?


Top 10 Most Common Causes of Smelly Urine

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Filed under Bladder & Liver Diseases, Diabetes & Stinky Urine, Infections, Kidney, Worst Case Scenarios


Ketoacidosis is when the body has abnormally high concentrations of ketones. This lowers the pH of the blood. Ketoacidosis can cause urine to smell bad.  The smell is usually described as “like fruit” or “like nail polish remover”. The odor is caused by the release of acetone.




Ketoacidosis is a state of extreme ketosis.  Ketosis is when the body uses fat for energy instead of sugar.  It is normal for a person to be in ketosis sometimes, but in Ketoacidosis this normal biological state is out of control and is dangerous. 


Ketoacidosis occurs most often in those with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes.  People who have type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin to regulate the ketones in their blood.  This makes their blood more acidic, which is compounded by the high blood sugar that also results from a lack of insulin.


Alcoholism can also be a cause of ketoacidosis. 

Ketoacidosis is a medical emergency. If you are having symptoms you believe might be caused by ketoacidosis, you should seek medical care immediately.

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Liver Failure

Liver failure occurs when the liver becomes unable to function. It can be the result of years of deterioration, or it can have a sudden onset, depending on the cause.


Liver failure can give your urine a foul odor, but chances are a person with liver failure will first notice other signs and symptoms:

Liver Failure


Symptoms of Liver Failure


  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

More serious signs of liver failure include:

  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • A swollen abdomen
  • Feeling disoriented or confused (hepatic encephalopathy)
  • Bleeding easily
  • Sleepiness
  • Coma

Liver failure is a serious, life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical care. If you suspect you have symptoms of liver failure, seek a doctor’s advice right away.

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Filed under Bladder & Liver Diseases, Worst Case Scenarios