The smell your urine gives off is usually a function of what you eat, drink, or the drugs you use. Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and urinary tract infections can also induce a cheerio smell.
Let’s take a look at the factors responsible for this sweet smell, how to know if it is caused by food or disease, ways to dilute smelly urine, and when to see a medical doctor.
Why Your Urine May Smell Like Cheerios
The most common causes of sweet-smelling urine include:
This is a condition that increases the blood glucose level. If not properly managed, the glucose level becomes dangerously high. This results in the body trying to get rid of that extra glucose via urine, hence the sweet smell.
Other symptoms that may suggest diabetes as the cause of this sweet smell are:
- Extreme thirst
- Change in appetite
- Weight loss (without a known cause)
These tips can help you manage diabetes:
- Exercising and eating a balanced meal always
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Check your blood glucose level regularly
- Stay away from desserts, bread, and beer. They can easily increase your blood glucose.
2. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (A Medical Emergency)
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition caused by untreated or mismanaged diabetes.
It occurs when the body doesn’t have enough glucose and has to burn fat for energy.
Ketones released during this fat-burning accumulate in the blood and spike its acidity. In other words, the blood becomes poisoned which may result in a coma or death if not managed immediately.
DKA is most prevalent in type 1 diabetes and can be diagnosed via urine or ketone testing strips. Consistent diabetes management can prevent diabetic ketoacidosis.
3. Urinary Tract Infections
Strong or sweet-smelling urine is one of the first signs of a urinary tract infection. This is because bacteria are usually expelled out of the body via urine.
Other symptoms of urinary tract infection include a burning sensation when peeing or painful urination. It can be diagnosed via urinalysis. Treatments with antibiotics or over-the-counter pain relievers usually help.
To prevent urinary tract infections, make sure you:
- Pee before and after sexual intercourse
- Bath and clean yourself thoroughly
- Avoid vaginal sprays
- Know the side effects of your birth control measure proceeding with it.
4. Maple Syrup Urine Disease
This is a genetic disorder where the body cannot process certain proteins. It is usually inherited and is associated with sweet-smelling urine.
Complicated versions may result in liver diseases and an urgent need for a liver transplant.
Babies or children with this condition may also present these symptoms:
- Constant fatigue
- Unusual movements
- Stunted growth or development
- Poor appetite
While you can’t prevent yourself from inheriting maple syrup urine, you can reduce the chances of passing it to your kids.
Visit the lab with your partner and undergo a genetic test to check for the mutated gene. If you both have the gene, there is a high chance your baby will have this disease.
5. Medications And Supplements
Supplements like vitamin B6 and other medications can alter the smell and appearance of your urine. Before starting or continuing any medications, please see a medical doctor.
When your body does not have enough water, your urine becomes very concentrated and composed of waste. It may appear very yellow or brown and may smell sweet or foul depending on your choice of food or medical condition.
If your urine smells sweet or like cheerios and does not change after a few days of drinking water regularly, see your doctor.
7. Yeast Infection
This is a fungal infection common to women. This condition does not directly make the urine smell, however, it can cause vaginal discharge to smell sweet or like honey.
Since the vagina is also the outlet for urine, it can take up some of that smell. Men can have yeast infections too.
Symptoms for yeast infection usually include:
- Painful urination
Over-the-counter(antifungal) medications can treat yeast infections. If these symptoms are new to you, see your doctor and don’t assume it is a yeast infection.
Do not Ignore These Warning Signs
When your urine smells strange but does not feature any symptoms, it is okay to wait a day or two before contacting a doctor. Some symptoms are nothing to really worry about while some require immediate attention.
Symptoms that should be treated as emergencies include:
- Serious or unending thirst. Diabetic ketoacidosis usually displays this symptom. It can make you feel thirsty almost every time.
- Abdominal pain or nausea. Diabetic ketoacidosis can make you feel this way too.
- Chronic pain in the back, abdomen, or genitals. Pain in these areas usually points to a kidney or urinary tract infection.
- Blood in the urine. This is most likely due to an infection.
- Nausea, vomiting, and yellow skin or eyes. Common in individuals with liver failure.
- Feeling fatigued, confused, or agitated. This could be a symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis or an infection.
- Fever. Fever could be a sign of a urinary tract infection that can spread to the kidneys or blood and is usually life-threatening.
Your urine smelling like cheerios is likely due to your choice of food or medical condition like diabetes. It can also signal a chronic or life-threatening disease. With early treatment, this symptom can be easily managed or treated.
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