Urine (pee) colour usually ranges from clear and colourless to clear and a pale yellow colour. The odour (smell) is unique to everyone and may vary from odourless to strong. The appearance of your urine or the odour may change to reflect the state of your health. And whether you are drinking enough water.
Cloudy urine with a strong odour isn’t necessarily something to worry about. Still, it could indicate a problem in your urinary tract (i.e. the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra). These changes can be due to food, food additives, bacterial infections, dehydration, diabetes, medicines and pregnancy.
The following are conditions that may cause cloudy urine with a strong odour:
- Foods such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, fish and garlic can make your urine smell.
- Infections of the kidney, ureter, bladder or urethra.
- Kidney or bladder stones can cause your urine to smell of ammonia.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Dehydration causes the urine to be more concentrated and can produce an ammonia smell.
- Pregnancy comes with changes in hormones that can cause an odour to your urine.
- Diabetes causes a concentration of sugar in your urine that will give off a sweet smell.
- An inflammation of the prostate gland in men can also cause foul smelling urine.
When you have cloudy urine with a strong odour, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible:
- If you have a high fever, nausea or stomach pain.
- If you have pain on your sides or have pain when peeing.
- If you notice that your urine is bloody or brown.
- If you can’t hold urine or if you start to urinate more often than normal.
- If your urine is cloudy for a long time.
- If you have health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or any kidney disease.
You can prevent this symptom by avoiding odorous foods and by drinking enough of water.
To prevent some of these medical conditions that cause cloudy urine with a strong odour, you may try the following;
- Drink at least two to three litres of water a day. That is, 4 to 6 pure water sachets (50cl) or bottles (50cl) of water per day.
- Urinate after sexual intercourse; this does not prevent sexually transmitted infections. It does improve urinary tract hygiene.
- Increase your vitamin C intake by including fruits like oranges, watermelon, pawpaw, agbalumo in your diet.
- Reduce salt intake by cooking with substitutes (e.g. garlic and fermented locust beans).
Paying attention to the underlying cause is vital in treating cloudy urine or urine with a strong odour. The following are treatment options your healthcare provider may offer:
- Use of antibiotics to treat infections.
- Use of pain relievers to reduce discomfort in people with kidney stones. This can improve urination and urinary tract hygiene.
- Surgery to remove stones or cancer.
- Medications to shrink a swollen prostate.
Cloudy urine and smelly may occur without other symptoms. It may be a sign of a disease in the urinary tract or due to dehydration. It is essential to visit your healthcare provider to rule out more dangerous causes. Drink a lot of water, eat healthily and avoid long hours under the sun.