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Smelling almonds, urine smells. Reason?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1848 Questions
Hello. This may sound strange, but I'm constantly smelling almonds and my urine smells almost like burned almonds. Any ideas?
Posted Sat, 12 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 4 hours later
Thanks for your query.

I appreciate your efforts for medical consultation in so much distress.

Having smell of almonds without the presence of almond indicates olfactory hallucination. Olfactory hallucination is the phenomenon of smelling odors that aren't really present. The most common odors are unpleasant smells such as rotting flesh, vomit, urine, feces, smoke, or almonds.

Causes of olfactory hallucination are:
•     Olfactory hallucination often results from damage to the nervous tissue in the olfactory system. The damage can be caused by viral infection, brain tumour especially in the temporal lobe, trauma, surgery, and possibly exposure to toxins or drugs.
•     Medicines which do cause olfactory hallucinations are some medicines which are taken for schizophrenia and depression.
•     Schizophrenia and depression, by themselves, can cause olfactory hallucinations
•     Olfactory hallucination can also be induced by epilepsy affecting the olfactory cortex.
•     Other causes are nasal and sinus diseases, upper respiratory viral infections and Alzheimer's disease.
•     In as much as 25% of cases, no causes can ever be found.

But since some of the causes are potentially quite XXXXXXX you need to consult your doctor for a thorough evaluation as early as possible.

I hope, this answers your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Wish you a good health.
Dr Ashish Mittal, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Smelling almonds, urine smells. Reason? 14 hours later
OK -- But why would my urine also seem to smell like burned almonds? I had something like this happen a couple of years ago and I kept smelling diesel fuel!
Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal 9 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.
I suspect urine odour is due to one of the cause I mentioned above. But to rule out other causes, the following investigations need to be done:
•     Kidney function test
•     Serum electrolytes
•     Serum uric acid
•     Urine routine & microscopic examination.
Cyanide poisoning can also lead to a smell of bitter almonds but this is an extremely unlikely possibility in your case.
I hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you have no further queries.

Wish you a happy new year
Dr. Ashish Mittal, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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