From infection to cancer…why your breath might smell like PEE – and when to really worry

Bad breath is something we all experience at some point in your lives, no matter how much we'd like to avoid it.

Poor dental hygiene, eating a meal full of garlic and even illness can leave our breath smelling less than desirable.

Mostly, that's easily fixed with a good amount of toothpaste and mouthwash.

But breath smelling like wee is not so common – so it could be a sign of something serious.

Here's what it could mean if your breath smells like urine.

1. Diet

It goes without saying that what you eat affects your breath…ever tried to kiss someone who's just eaten sushi?

But some foods react in the body to produce ammonia, the chemical that makes your pee smell.

This is a common problem with people who follow the ketogenic diet, a high protein low carb diet.

Any high protein diet can cause your breath the smell like wee.

Foods like onion and garlic also encourage the body to produce ammonia

Drinking too much alcohol can also have the same effect, so make sure you stick to the recommended 14 units of booze per week.

2. Stomach infection

A common bacteria that lives in the stomach can also make your breath smell like pee.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is present in about half of people around the world, but most don't show symptoms.

BREATH OF FRESH AIR From fish to sour milk, what your bad BREATH could be saying about your health

The bacteria can cause stomach ulcers, inflammation and can even lead to stomach cancer in infected people.

You may also experience pain in your tummy, a lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, bloating, weight loss or dark coloured poo.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should speak to your doctor.

3. Sinus infection

A sinus infection may also cause a wee smell on your breath, despite how far away it is from your bladder.

The infection causes swelling of the sinuses, thick mucus, a blocked nose and pain in the face.

It is often the result of a bacterial or fungal infection and it's these bugs that can cause you to have bad breath.

You can try and flush out the infection using nasal spray and over-the-counter decongestants, but if the symptoms persist see your GP.

4. Urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) causes severe pain and burning when weeing, strong smelling pee, a constant need to go to the loo and pelvic pain.

Around one in every two women will suffer a urinary tract infection at some point in their lifetime.

If the infection spreads to the kidneys it can cause a metallic taste in your mouth and leave your breath smelling like wee.

If you have a UTI you will need to see a doctor for antibiotics to clear it up.

5. Chronic kidney disease

This is the most serious cause of breath smelling like wee.

When the kidneys aren't functioning properly they aren't able to flush toxins out of the bloodstream.

This can cause a build-up of toxins in the blood, which can leave a metallic taste in the mouth and breath that smells like wee.

Kidney disease is serious and can lead to kidney failure.

You may also suffer symptoms like nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, swelling in the legs, feet and ankles and pain in the back, side or legs.

If you have these symptoms you need to see a doctor straight away.


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