3 Reasons Why Your Child's Urine Might Smell
What Causes Urine To Smell In Younger Children & Babies?
Strong smelling urine is not always a cause for alarm. If your child or newborn is relatively healthy and well, there is likely a simple explanation for the strong smell.
The smell of a child or newborn's urine will change over time due to a variety of reasons including new foods, illness, medication, supplements and dehydration. A common and treatable reason especially in newborns is a Urinary tract infection (UTI).
Lifestyle, medical and genetic factors can cause problems for bladder health. In this article we will take a look at three of the main causes of strong-smelling urine in newborns and young children.
Lifestyle factors play a large role in the well-being of a child or newborns bladder health.
Urine is typically clear or pale yellow in colour (healthy) and has a mild smell. If you notice persistently strong-smelling urine, medical evaluation may be required to determine the cause. There are numerous reasons why someone's urine may have a strong smell:
- Dehydration - not drinking enough fluids
- Vitamin B6 supplements or Fenugreek can cause urine to smell strongly
- Certain medications/antibiotics (infant/child)
- Maternal medication (mother)
- Concentrated urine - often noticeable first thing in the morning
- Not getting enough breast milk
- Diet - eating certain foods whilst breastfeeding (onion, garlic, asparagus)
In certain cases where lifestyle factors are not applicable, it is important to consider medical reasons for strong-smelling urine as listed below:
- A Urinary Tract Infection - symptoms include discomfort, crying when passing urine, bloody urine and stomach pain
- Diabetes - (increased blood sugar) strong-smelling urine, constantly thirsty, and fatigue are all possible indicators of Type 2 Diabetes
- A genetic predisposition - certain genetic disorders can cause strong smelling urine, such as Trimethylaminuria
- Imbalanced pH of the vagina - the acidity or alkalinity of the urine
- Yeast infection - Candida infections
- Maple Syrup Urine Disorder (MSUD)
MSUD is a very rare disorder (1 in 185,000 children worldwide) that causes a child’s urine to smell like brown sugar or maple syrup. This is where an individual has difficulty breaking down certain amino acids.
If your child or baby has strong-smelling urine, it’s a good idea to get a doctor to examine the symptoms especially if a fever is present or if they seem to be behaving out of sorts. Other symptoms to watch out for include cloudy urine, edema, weakness, irritability, and dry mouth.
3. The Smell Of Ammonia
If you are changing your newborn's nappy, you might wonder why it smells slightly of ammonia (strong chemical smell). This is actually the normal waste from the kidneys and is not an immediate cause for concern.
The main causes of this strong smell are Bladder Stones, Dehydration, Food and UTI’s. Urine that smells of ammonia on occasion is not a reason to worry, especially if you notice it improves with daily fluid intake. However, if you notice your child or newborns urine continues to smell it could be a sign of infection.
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