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Urine smells fishy . Signs of a health problem .


The Causes and Treatment of Fishy Smelling Urine

Being healthy means that all the systems of our body are working in synchrony. It also means that all our secretions and excreta are normal. An important indicator of body illnesses is urine. This waste excretion can act as an important indicator if problems both within and outside the body. From among the many attributes that can change, a change in its smell is a very frequent mishap that many people interact. Both men and women commonly complain of fishy smelling urine, which is not only unpleasant, but can be worrying for the person as well.

Where usually it is not sinister, it may aggravate other conditions that  may ultimately lead to an ascending infection and more severe problems. So, what can be causing this striking change in the odor of this important excretion of our body? Here we describe the most common reasons your urine smells fishy treatment and remedies that you can use to fix it.

Causes of fishy smelling urine

There are a number of causes of this marked change in your excreta. I will give the detail on each.

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  • Trimethylaminuria a mutation that cause fishy smelling urine

    Trimethylaminuria are people with an enzyme deficiency basically some people have a FMO3 gene that has a mutation on it , that mutation prohibits the liver from breaking down the byproducts of protein . When we eat certain proteins from fish , eggs , liver , beans and peas bacteria in our gut helps to digestive them producing a fishy smell compound called trimethylamine (TMAU). In the liver the FMO3 gene helps produce enzymes to convert the fishy odor compound into TMAO which does not  smell. Unfortunately for persons with this mutation their urine , sweat , tears , breath and even their hair would smell very fishy .


    Diet change is the most important to curing this disorder you need to reduce the amount of trimethylaminuria entering your body by eliminate food that encourages the production of this smelly compounds  . You would need to reduce and eliminate proteins from meat from your diet , dairy products and eggs have a plant based diet , speak to your doctor once diagnosed he may give you antibiotics such as amoxicillin or neomycin which reduce the TMA producing bacteria (note this is a rare disease and many doctors are not aware of it ) , eat on time gas build up can increase your smell , add digestive enzymes , probiotics , and chlorophyll to diet especially if you eat legumes . Eat food containing nitrogen , choline and sulfur . You can work with a dietitian or a doctor to see what works for you .

  • The STD that makes your urine fishy

    Trichomoniasis is a sexual transmitted disease that can give the symptoms of fishy smelling urine . It is caused by a protozoa parasite called trichomonas vaginitis which is way more advance than a bacteria. They can only survive in the urogenital tract   so it can only be transmitted by vaginal sex . In women they live in the vagina and urethra  they can also live in men but men they rarely have symptoms so they are asymptomatic .

    • Symptoms of the trichomoniasis are it cause inflammation which leads to urethritis  . Urethritis will cause painful urination , other symptoms are painful sex for women , frothy green discharge which has a bad smell ( fishy odor ) discharge can also be white or yellowish , urination will also have this fishy smell , redness or soreness of the vagina ,.  It is estimated that 3.7 million people have this disease but only 30% show symptoms but long term infection can cause cervical cancer in women and prostate cancer in men . This disease cannot be diagnosed by symptoms only by a lab test . It can be cure by a dose of metronidazole or tinidazole antibiotics but 1 in 5 person become reinfected within 3 months . Both the infection person and their partner or partner should also be treated or they can become reinfected


  • Prostatitis

    • Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland which doesn’t always show signs . It affects all ages of men and can be put into 4 types acute bacterial prostatitis ,chronic bacterial prostatitis , chronic prostatitis , asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis (they don’t show symptoms) . Symptoms include pain or burning upon urination , difficulty with urinating such as dribbling , malodorous urine that smell fishy because of inflammation , difficulty starting urinating , frequency of urination especially at night , urgency to urinate , pain between scrotum and rectum, pain in penis and testicles , pain with ejaculation or even blood in ejaculation . About 10% or less of men with  prostatitis was caused by bacteria this is acute bacterial prostatitis the infected man can see the symptoms above along with nausea and vomiting . The cause in most cases are unknown , for those who prostatitis was caused by bacteria it may have come from the urine or stool in the rectum flowing back into the urethra. Other causes are from rectal intercourse, bladder infection , autoimmune disease, having a urinary catheter recently inserted .
    • Remedies may vary depending on your diagnosis , treatment range from antibiotics to kill the bacteria , inflammatory drugs , muscle relaxants , surgery and warm sitz baths .
  • Kidney stones and fishy odor urine

Normally waste products is passed out in our urine which is produced in our kidneys. If the urine becomes saturated with chemical waste , these can crystallize and form stone like deposits in the kidneys. Kidney stones vary in size , small ones may travel down the urinary tract and simply pass out in the urine larger stones tend to stay in the kidney but can move into the ureter , where they can lodge and cause pain. The pain can radiate from back (usually one side ) to the groin . Sometimes it can be felt in the genital as well. Other symptoms are frequent urination with pain , blood in urine cause by the stones grazing the walls of the organ , nausea and vomiting , cloudy urine with strong ammonia or fishy smell .  


Drink plenty of water 2 to 3 litres a day , increase fluid intake during hot weather , drink natural cranberry juices , avoid too much rhubarb , Spinach and asparagus as they promote formation of oxalate stones . Check your doctor larger stones may require surgery if stick in your kidney.


  •  Dehydration

Dehydration can cause your urine to be yellow and have fishy odor . We need consume at least 8 glass of water daily to get rid of waste and other functions especially during hot weather. Insufficient fluid intake can cause your urine to become saturated which can result in burning sensation during urination and a rotten fish smell especially if you ate seafood during that period of dehydration.

  • Foods that cause fishy urine .

The are a number of foods that cause your urine to smell. I have read quite a few forum online of people asking if fish causes their urine to smell fishy. Some persons digestive system just do not break down proteins well because of the lack of specific enzymes thus causing their urine to have an fishy malodorous . Here are some foods that make our urine smell we have salmon which is high in Vitamin B6 and since this vitamin is water soluble it passes through our kidney into your urine causing it to have a yellow fishy smell. Asparagus has a compound called mercaptan which when broken down by your digestive system it produces a bad odor in your urine . If you are a person who eats a lot of curry you would realize your urine has a strong smell or fishy smell . The cumin and coriander in curries are the culprit because these odor causing products pass through your kidney . There are other foods such as cabbage , coffee, puffed wheat, garlic , fenugreek, alcohol, brussel sprouts can cause odor in your urine .

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  • Cystitis


Cystitis another infection that cause your urine to smell like fish . Cystitis is made from two words cyst means bladder and itis means inflammation therefore cystitis is an inflamed bladder caused mostly by bacterial infection but can also be caused by fungal infection ,kidney stones , chemical irritants as well as trauma to the bladder . Cystitis is a type of UTI which is caused by  mostly by an ascending infection . These infection comes from rectal area to the urethra into the bladder  in rare occasions it starts from the blood and goes into the kidney  down to the bladder and urethra . Cystitis occur mostly in women but can happen in men . People with diabetes , those who hold urine for long periods , sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria in the urethra this is called honeymoon cystitis, wiping your butt from back to front and being at a post menopausal age. Symptoms of cystitis includes suprapubic pain , cloudy urine due to too much white blood cells , strong fishy smell during urination , lower abdominal pain , difficulty urinating or painful urination ( dysuria) , frequent urination , the urine maybe small in volume .


There are antibiotics that can be used to kill the E coli or whichever bacteria is in the bladder.  Best methods of prevention is to drink lots of fluid  to flush out bacteria , empty bladder after sexual activity , which your butt correctly from front to back the same for the vagina to prevent bacteria from enter .


  • Urinary tract Infection,

    most commonly of E.coli. The bacteria can travel from the neighboring bowel to infect the bladder and also the urine.

  • Vigorous sexual intercourse,

    which can bruise the mucosal lining of the vagina or the penis, interfering with the normal environment. This results in an inflammation and an increased susceptibility to infection and fishy smell of the urine.

  • Medicines

    , certain antibiotics may affect the environment of the urinary tract leading to the excessive growth of that bacteria which produces the fishy smell.

  • Sexual intercourse, with an infected person

    who is suffering from bacterial vaginosis or has an infection of Gardnerella or trichomoniasis.

  • Multiple sexual partners

    increase the chance of contracting these infections.


Treatment of fishy smelling urine starts with a diagnosis. You need to visit the doctor to actually delineate the cause for the treatment to be effective. The most common treatment employed is the use of antibiotics. Other causes are handled by counseling and advice. Also, the person’s sexual partners are treated for the disease as well to limit its spread.


there are numerous remedies that you can use at home to relieve yourself of the foul fishy smell. The common ones that are sure to help with the odor and the associated itchy symptoms include:

  • Refrain from wearing tight clothing and change frequently, this prevents the buildup of bacteria and reinfection. Also, the skin-friendly loose clothing helps reduce the irritation around the sensitive parts.
  • Drink lots of water, a good way to get rid of the odor is to flush all the bad urine out. Drinking up to 12 glasses a day helps in doing just that.
  • Cranberry juice, fresh cranberries are loaded with antioxidant and antibacterials that help with the itch and the smell of the as well.
  • Baking soda and water, mix half a teaspoon of baking soda in 4 liters of warm water and drink it throughout the day. This helps the kidneys to make an acidic urine, which replenishes the acidic environment of the urinary tract, helping against the infection.

All these remedies are effective ways to counteract a foul smelling urine. However, if the symptoms worsen or persist, you should visit your doctor immediately for fear of something more serious. The urine is an important excretion that one can use to analyze the working systems of their body. Keeping note of and treating any disturbances is important and the above remedies and treatment can surely help you get rid of that foul smell for good!

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