Urine Smells Like Fish


Normally, urine is basically odorless and fairly clear in color. At times, urine may change color or odor. If it becomes dark yellow, it is often a sign of dehydration. In some cases, the urine may smell like fish. This may happen for a number of reasons which we will cover in the article.

Causes of Urine That Smells Like Fish: Urological Causes

1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

The urine system is comprised of the ureters, bladder, urethra and kidneys. On occasion, this system may become infected. When it is infected, it is known as a urinary tract infection. The infection may enter the body via the urethra during urination or it may come from the bloodstream. The most common UTIs are focused in the urethra or bladders. Women are more likely to get a UTI than men because their urethra is shorter and closely located to the vagina and anus.

2. Kidney Stones

When you develop urine that smells like fish, it could also be caused by kidney tones. When the urine has increased levels of calcium or oxalate, it can cause crystallized deposits to develop within the kidneys. Some of these crystals are separated from the urine and do not leave the kidneys. Over time, they can become kidney stones.

When someone has kidney stones, they may experience shifting, extreme pain in their lower back or groin. Their urine may smell like fish and may change in color. Often, extreme pain is felt as the crystals struggle to push through the small ureters to leave the kidneys. Once the condition is diagnosed, patients are generally told to drink a lot of water to help flush the kidney stones from their urine. They may be give pain killers to help alleviate the pain. Unless the case is severe, the individual will generally not require surgery.

3. Vaginitis

For women, vaginitis is another condition that can cause fishy urine. Normally, the vagina is a self-cleaning system that releases discharge, bacteria and dead cells to maintain a stable pH level. When this system is not working properly, fungus, bacteria and yeast can become overcome. While these things are normally in a healthy vagina, they become overgrown and out of balance through an infection or another condition.

When women experience vaginitis, they may experience symptoms like unusual vaginal discharge, swelling of the vagina, vaginal itchiness, pain during sexual intercourse and a fishy odor. When they urinate, it may smell putrid or bad.

Once the doctor has diagnosed vaginitis, the next step is to figure out the cause of the infection. If vaginitis is caused by a yeast infection, the doctor may prescribe topical antifungal medications or over-the-counter treatments to remedy the problem. During severe yeast infections, the doctor may prescribe oral antifungal medication. To help the body return to its natural pH, women are recommend to avoid foods that are high in sugar because the sugar can end up feeding fungal growth.

4. Prostatitis

This condition occurs in men when the prostate gland becomes inflamed. The prostate gland is responsible for maintain the quality of sperm and is placed just below the bladder. It is shaped like a walnut and can become infected by bacteria.

When someone has prostatitis, they may experience pain during urination and urine that smells like fish. They may also have severe discomfort in the pelvic area. If the individual leaves the condition untreated or has acute bacterial prostatitis, they may also develop a severe severe, urinary urgency, frequent urination and chills. Once diagnosed, this medical condition is generally treated with a month-long course of oral antibiotics. In extremely severe cases, the doctor may choose to provide the antibiotics intravenously instead.

Causes of Urine That Smells Like Fish: Other Causes

1. Liver Abnormalities

When urine is eliminated that smells like fish, it can mean that there is an underlying liver condition. Liver diseases can prevent the liver from functioning the way that it is supposed. In healthy individuals, only small amounts of bilirubin are released in the urine. When the liver is not functioning properly, large amounts can be released. This causes the urine to become extremely smelly and it may turn a dark amber color. If you have a liver disease, it is important to get diagnosed and treated.

2. Medicine

Certain medicines can cause the urine to smell like yeast or fish. In particular, antibiotics like amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin can cause this problem, even if the dosage is low. Multivitamin supplements can also cause the urine to smell fishy.

3. Trimethylaminuria

This genetic disorder causes the urine to smell like fish and the body to smell as well. While it is primarily caused by genetics, this condition may also be caused by kidney disease, hormonal imbalances, liver problems or diet. Changing your lifestyle, diet or medication can improve the condition.

4. Drinks

Excessive coffee or caffeine can cause the urine to smell foul or like fish. It can also cause dehydration, which can increase the odor caused by urine.

5. Foods

Certain foods like asparagus are known for making the urine smell like fish. When asparagus breaks down, it releases sulfur as a byproduct, which makes the urine smell rancid.

6. Dehydration

When you do not drink enough water, it causes the urine to become extremely concentrated. This can cause the smell and color to change. Often, concentrated urine will smell like ammonia or fish. To remedy minor dehydration, drink more water.

7. Phenylketonuria

Phenylketonuria is a type of metabolic disorder that means that the body is not able to breakdown the phenylalanine amino acid. Over time, this causes the protein to become highly concentrated within the blood and urine. As a result, the urine can smell fishy, mousy or musty.

8. Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the body’s insulin and blood sugar levels are not working properly. The extra glucose ends up going into the urine This can cause it to smell sweet or like fish. This is especially true when diabetes is not diagnosed, treated or managed properly.

9. Pregnancy

During pregnancy, many women experience urinary tract infections. This can cause the urine to smell like fish, and it is quite normal to experience this during pregnancy. To stay healthy, women should make sure to get diagnosed and treated by their doctors for their UTI.


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