The colour of normal urine varies between the spectrums of yellow to clear. However, if the colour of the urine appears to be orange, red or even green, it may indicate something serious. Causes of change in colour of urine depends on a large number of factors such as dehydration, diet etc. However, sometimes the change in urine colour may indicate development of a serious medical condition and may need a physician’s advice at the earliest.
Why is My Pee Orange and Smelly?
Most of the causes that may lead to production of orange urine with a foul smell, is often short lived and harmless. However, if the symptom continues for a long period of time, it may need medical attention. The most common causes of orange coloured urine with foul smell are discussed below:
Dehydration Can Cause Orange and Smelly Pee: This is the most cause of dark coloured urine (often orange with a pungent odour). This occurs when the body does not get adequate fluid, leading to high concentrated urine. This is a temporary condition and often returns back to normal, with adequate hydration.
Side Effects of Laxatives: Certain laxative contains a natural herb called as senna, which is used for constipation. This natural herb has a tendency to produce orange coloured urine. The urine returns to normal colour, once the laxative is discontinued and it is not considered as a serious issue.
Vitamins and Supplements as a Reason for Pee being Orange and Smelly: Intake of vitamin B and vitamin C supplements can change the colour of the urine to bright yellow or orange colour. This is likely because of the production of beta carotene. Consumption of food products rich in beta carotene can also affect the colour of the urine.
Chemotherapy: The drugs prescribed for chemotherapy have the side effect to produce dark urine that appears orange in colour. Though, in most of the cases, it is a harmless side effect, in some cases it may indicate damage to the urinary bladder or the kidneys. Thus, it is important to notify the doctor about any changes in the colour of urine while undergoing chemotherapy at the earliest.
Liver Dysfunction: If the colour of the urine is consistently orange with a strong odour which does not improve with adequate hydration and adjustment of vitamins and supplements, it may indicate signs of liver issues and biliary tract problems. It is important to consult a doctor if there is any chronic change in colour and odour, to rule out possibilities of serious liver or biliary conditions.
Diet as a Cause of Orange and Smelly Pee: The urine may appear orange with a strong odour temporarily after consuming specific food item such as beets, carrots etc. This is nothing to worry about and resolves by itself within a day.
Bladder Infection: Bladder infection or cystitis is often accompanied by urine that is orange in colour with a strong smell.
Kidney: Kidney issues such as kidney infection and kidney stones can lead to change in urine colour to orange with a peculiar smell.
Symptoms Associated with Orange Pee
Orange coloured pee is often accompanied by an unpleasant odour. Besides this, other symptoms often noticed along with dark urine are:
- Cloudy urine
- Burning sensation with urination or painful urination
- Blood stained urine
- Frequent urination
- Reduced flow or urine
- Urgency or uncontrolled urination.
Orange coloured urine may be also accompanied by other symptoms such as bruising, rise in body temperature, itchy skin, pale stools, nausea, vomiting, unintentional weight loss, low back pain, abdominal pain etc. These symptoms often indicate other medical issues in the body and should be reported to a doctor immediately.
Diagnosis and Management of Orange and Smelly Pee
Diagnosis of orange coloured pee involves obtaining a detailed case history followed by a physical examination. Urine testing may be recommended. Additional tests may be ordered to rule out serious issues such as kidney issues, liver damage, cancer, infection, sepsis etc. based on the signs and symptoms of the patients.
Treatment of the condition depends on the cause of the condition. In mild cases, the condition returns back to normal without any treatment. In most of the cases, the urine returns back to normal colour with adequate hydration, discontinuation of causative medications, avoiding consumption of suspected food product. If the orange coloured urine is caused due an infection, medications are prescribed to fight the infection. If the condition is caused by a serious issue, such as cancer, the patient may be referred to a specialist such as an oncologist for further evaluation and treatment.
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