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I clean bathrooms a lot. Lately I just don't seem to be able to keep my mother's bathroom clean. Yesterday I gave it a good scrubbing and thought I had it clean. It smelled like vinegar -- not great, but better than urine. A few minutes after I cleaned, my mother used the bathroom and the smell was so strong it was like I hadn't cleaned in a week. It is a strong ammonia smell -- like you smell in a dirty bathroom in a gas station.

My mother has no detectable UTI. She is diabetic, but the sugar is controlled. Maybe she needs to drink more water? What I'm hoping is there is something I can add to her diet to improve the odor. Anyone have ideas about this?

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My elderly mother has this very same problem. She wears "poise pads" because of leakage and it can get onto clothing and cause a smell. My mother takes many pills also and I often wonder if this is the cause and wonder if it may be her other end not getting wiped well enoph. My mother has dementia and she needs to be reminded of shower taking and changing her pad and clothes often. I liked the chlorophyll idea and am going to look into this. I know it's not the water issue for my mom as she takes duredics and has to pee often.
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I'm 46 yrs of age and my urine smell is try help for me please
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I used to accuse my boys constantly of not cleaning around the toilet after playing fireman. So I made them scrub Mommy Dearest style. It never occurred to me it was the vinegar I used to clean; plus not opening the window to air up the place. Bathroom always smelled like subway station at 149th St. & 3rd Ave. in the Bronx. To make a long story short, there's no vinegar around my house but my sons are still sore about being blamed for something they never did. "Too late for apologies Daddy-O."
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Let me be gross for a moment. I ate a lot of pernil during the Holidays; heavy on the garlic and a bunch of other spices. Every time I used the urinal at work I kept smelling pernil. Even asked the guys standing next to me if there was a cuchifrito nearby. Didn't occur to me it was my own urine.

Whatever you put into your body is going to have to come out somehow. And if the body isn't hydrated enough it's not going to flush out impurities as quickly as it should. I totally agree with Nancy: more water -- and a cleaner diet.
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chlorophyll tablets safe to take, helps body, urine odors Dr. had ordered for several patients at nursing home where I worked..
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I think it is just part of getting older. When I was going to see my Dad in a nursing home the smell of urine where they had wet themselves was horrendous.
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Thanks for info about the B vitamin, now I know why my dad's urine smells so bad.
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Your mom might have an infection. Get get checked. And yes drinking more water will help but If it's an infection the smell won't go away unless she gets treatment. Good luck!!
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I'm ordering Nature's Sunshine today!! Thanks so much
What a great website :)
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Chlorophyll is the answer. I was introduced to this when working at a facility for the developmentally disabled. Our unit never smelled and the Dr. prescribed chlorophyll for everyone. It comes in a tablet form or liquid that can be added to water. I use Nature Sunshine and the liquid tastes like mint. It is said to be a body and blood purifier. If taking a large dose don't be alarmed if the feces is slightly green in color. It neutralizes the odor of it too! Double win!!
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She has too much acid in her ,she needs to drink some apple cider vinegar to balance her ph. Look up Apple cider vinegar on line to see how to use it. You have to use the vinegar with the mother still in it. Braggs brand is a good one. It worked for my Dad, just 2 cap fulls in a glass of water when ever her pee starts to smell.
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If your Mother has a lot of accidents, perhaps some urine has spilled down the drains. This happened with my Mum and once I cleaned out the drains in the bathroom the smell dissapeared. I use eucalyptus oil and/or tea tree oil (malaleuka) in a bottle of water (geat naturtal disinfectant) and flushed the drains with that.
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My mother also had strong smelling urine. She was in assisted living and had fallen and we had to take her to ER. Her wheelchair smelled so bad from the urine and when she wet her diaper the whole room smelled. When the doctor came in to examine her, he smelled the room and immediately said that she had a bladder infection ( she had been tested before and the test always came up negative). She was treated with antibotics and that was the end of the smell. She currently takes a low dose antibotic daily and we have not had a problem since with the smell or infections. The strange thing is that it rarely showed up when they did the urine test for bladder infections. My advice for you is to get her tested again and explain to the doctor what is going on.
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JB am having same problem here whole house seems to smell of amonia? my mum has urine strips that i can test myself at home to see if she has an infection surely you should have these? ask your doc as I know the stress of having to wonder if its an infection or not my mum gets cystisis alot but I know when as she goes to the loo alot then. Ask maybe the pharmacist for these strips there are great to have around.
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Vit C is worth a try. She needs more of it, anyway. I have a hard time getting her to eat enough fruits and veggies. She is a meat and bread girl.
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200mg Vitamin C daily wil neutralize urine
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I use Betadine Scrub. It chemically neutralizes the odor, even on concrete.
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Yep, trying to get my aunt to get up and go to the bathroom when she didn't think she had to was a no no, but if she thought it was her own idea, it worked every time. I was able to get her on a schedule where I always had her near a bathroom before she thought she needed one. She'd always go then and never had any more accidents unless I was the one who made a timing miscalculation.
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Great advice, CarolLynn. I hadn't thought about it, but it does work. I ask my mother before I do things like shower or clean the bathroom if she needs to use it first. She always does. It is a good way to get them to go.
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With my aunt (who had alcohol dementia), by the time she had the sense that she needed to go to the bathroom, it was already too late and she would have accidents as she was trying to sit on the toilet since it took too long to get her undies down and she could no longer hold it.

Now, if I tried to coax her to try to go to the bathroom when she didn't feel she needed to, oh boy, it was like the beginning of World War 3.

The way I solved the problem was to ask her if she would come "here" as I needed help with something. She believed herself to be a helper and she was always willing to come do something helpful when asked. I always made sure that what I asked her to do (which wasn't ever anything really) was within view of the bathroom and the toilet.

Then I'd say that I had to go and should I use "the other bathroom" in case she needed to use "this one". 99 times out of 100, she would say, "Well, I may as well go since I'm already here" and chuckle about it. This prevented nearly 100 percent of her accidents and continued to be a successful method until she later had three small strokes and could no longer feel the sense or urge that she needed to go to the bathroom.
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That general "off- putting" smell is something I fight against desperately because I don't want anyone to think I am not taking good care of my inlaws - both totally incontinent. I open windows a lot for good fresh air.
Lately, my MIL (in depends) will say she must get to the toilet...........I help her there and as I start to drop her pull ups...........she pees all over the floor. That is tough because the commode chair sometimes follows her around from room to room (as she has difficulty getting around). I try to keep a mat under it but sometimes it runs off onto the carpet or hardwood. Doctor says there is no UTI but due to the Alzheimers............she is often unaware of what she is doing. A good day here is a fresh sweet smelling day. Well, you all know how the other days smell lol.
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Unsweetened cranberry juice is not very high in sugar and pure stevia is a non nutritive, non caloric natural herbal sweetener, just so you know (you didn't clarify if your mom is on warfarin, so caution is recommended if that is the case).

You did the smart thing in breaking down and reading yourself (and your mom!) of the old stinky appliance. There is something about people raised in the depression age who are declined to try to save just about everything on the basis that it either saves money or that they may need it again, even if they have one or more of the same thing. My mom even had things in her drawers or closets that she was "saving for good", except that she thought none of her experiences were the good she was supost to be saving them for. But she continued wanting to save them "just in case". Over time, the saved items were also getting older and more useless in and of themselves, hahaha.

I think the primary reason why everything begins to seem like it is so hard is because they have lost the ability to reason logically, although we continue to do so. It's very difficult to watch one of our loved ones deteriorating and we try to bring them back to a reality that they will never experience again no matter what we do. So, in essence, when we do this, WE are making it hard on ourselves because we won't admit your continued and worsening inability to live in our reality. IMHO, the sooner that we learn to use the therapeutic lying technique and leave them alone to their own reality, the sooner our own life becomes easier. It is such an obvious struggle to come to this place because we have always learn and then taught that honesty is the best policy and we are repulsed by the thought of lying to our parents (or other elders) who are the ones that taught us the value of telling the truth. It is such a paradox and anomaly. Ay yi yi...
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Thank you for all the good suggestions. I've tried cranberries in the past when she had a UTI. She didn't want to eat cranberries or drink the juice because they have sugar -- she's diabetic. So I bought a cranberry supplement tablet. She came down with itching that she attributed to the tablets, so wouldn't take them anymore. I know if a doctor prescribes something, she'll do it. But if I suggest it, it is always met with psychological sabotage and resistance.

The bathroom smells much better now. Last night I asked her how she liked it. She said it smelled better, then left a gap. I expected to hear that it didn't feel right and she wanted her other back. I cut out before she could say it. This morning I took a hammer to unfreezing the old Evil safety frame -- man it even stunk inside the tubes -- broke it apart, boxed it, and tossed it. Now it is no longer available if she should start wanting it back.

There's really no reason that everything has to be so hard. I can never quite figure out why it is.
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Re - more on cranberry juice (and the same applies to cranberry supplements, so not just juice)...

The US warns against drinking LARGE amounts of cranberry juice when taking warfarin (Coumadin) whereas the UK doesn't recommend using them concurrently. Confusing...

The old school of thought about cranberry juice was that the acidification is what helped prevent a UTI. Current thought is that it is the proanthocyanidins and other ingredients that help prevent the two most common bacterias (which cause over 85 percent of UTI's) from a hearing to the tissue lining the urinary tract. Interestingly, it doesn't seem to have the ability to dislodge bacteria already adhered, the reason why it is highly effective at preventing UTI but relatively ineffective how to curing them.

The recommended daily dose of juice (and they are referring to cranberry juice cocktail) is about 10 ounces for an adult to prevent UTIs and 3 to 6 ounces day to counteract urine smell. The US considers that TOO MUCH jus can destabilize the action of warfarin, sometimes making it MORE effective and that the cranberry juice has an additive effect because the proanthocyanidins are also a mild blood thinner. The US is more liberal than the UK in that they suggest if you are onkt using a food based dietary intake and you remain consistent with the amount you use, the warfarin amount given as a result of the PT test would not need to be modified but that you should inform your doctor if you change the quantity you drink though in no case should you drink more than 10 ounces per day if you are on warfarin.

Also, and I don't know who would do this although I'm sure we can find someone out there who knows, a liter or more per day of cranberry juice can lead to the formation of stones because of the oxalate and the product. Over use of raw spinach can do the same thing.

While we're on the subject, not that people in the US eat much of these unless they are macrobiotic or Deep South food enthusiasts, but green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, beet greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, bok choy, spinach, etc) are all high in vitamin K which is a coagulant Anne is a direct antagonist to blood thinners such as warfarin. Heads up! There's a big world out there when it comes to blending nature with medicine!
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This has nothing to do with the original question but to clarify a point in Carol's very learned answer and I am not being sarcastic. One thing to be aware of if anyone's loved one is taking Warfarin (Coumadin) for A fib or blood clots Cranberry juice and other dark colored fruits and veg are contra indicated. There are plenty of sites that provide lists of what is allowed and what is not.
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Thanx Veronica for thinking of me. I wish I had less complicated information.

I'm glad to read that JB may have somewhat solved the problem with (A) the new and refreshed pottie appliance - bacteria so easily forms in the residue of urine that ends up on plastic or vinyl - and (B) seeing that her mom is hydrated more which tends to dilute urine concentration.

It would take the paper off monograph length to outline what is being research to help reduce the smell of urine - generally caused by the ammonia smell in the breakdown of urea - as there are many nutrients being investigated, however everything is a subset of a subset, where they are looking at certain genetic markers that cause inadequate or altered breakdown. Therefore, not anything that can be recommended for general use without genetic counseling of the patient, which no one is going to do, considering the cost, for something as simple as smelly urine if there are other ways to overcome the problem.

Yucca saponins are routinely added to ruminant (animals with multiple stomachs that chew their cud) feed to reduce or prevent the urea break down into ammonia in animal urine or excreted digestive gases. The thought is that it inhibits the action of certain protozoa in the stomach and thus neutralizes the smell in urine and flatulence. That may not be completely true however because there is a liquid yucca it can be given to dogs to help the same problem and dogs don't have multiple stomachs, chew their card or et the kind of diet that supports the protozoa. Hmmmmm...

When my mom with drug-induced dementia begin having heart problems (A-fib), her ability to regulate her internal thermostat went completely out of whack. Her Cardio doc said it was par for the course but her PCP thought it was likely hormonal. He said if she were younger and didn't have the problem she did, we could probably do something about it. However, under her circumstances, he was reluctant to try to fool with the hormones of someone her agent in her condition.

I'm saying that because I am a lot of others have taken the dog yucca and had great results. The problem is its not approved, it doesn't come under the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) qualifications and the products are labeled "For animal use only. Not for human consumption". While there are many nutritional supplements that are safe to try on a senior or dementia person that would be free of complications, this unfortunately isn't one of them.

Another reason not to be fooling around to try to cover up a strong smell is because the most important thing about it is to know WHY. Just like taking an aspirin for a headache over and over again may cover up a brain tumor, using something to cover up the smell of urine without getting to the bottom of it would be overlooking the problem of why it smells. That can be very hazardous in a senior or a dementia person, who generally are very poor informants as to what's wrong with them or how they feel.

Because of the devastating effects of a UTI in seniors, with many more women than men having them, hey generally safe preventative thing that can be given for that is cranberry juice. The best way to get it is to use plain unsweetened cranberry juice that you blend with a little water and add PURE stevia. If you find out to be too difficult, the next option is ocean spray light cranberry juice. Be aware that the sweetener in there is sucralose, which was previously thought to be the less offensive all the artificial sweeteners, but with all the new research on beta-amyloid tangled in the brain, we are supposing that it could lead to an increased contribution toward dementia. If one already has dementia, it's probably not going to make it worse even though the UT I probably would, so it's making another decision based on the risk/benefit ratio.

A couple of other things you may consider: (1) give only fresh raw fruit or vegetable-fruit foods or juices (vegetable-fruits are tomato, eggplant, okra, peppers, cucumbers) and (2) avoid citrus juices.
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Well done, Jessie -sounds like you have it nailed.
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The new safety frame arrived tonight. You go, UPS! I put it together and got it onto the commode. What a difference. The Evil smelly old frame is in the back yard now. It was so frozen with salts I couldn't get it apart. I'm going to have to take a hammer to it to get it apart, box it up, and put it in the trash. I couldn't make myself do it tonight. I would have had to take another shower.

Bathroom smells so much better, even after my mother used it a couple of times. I've also been setting water beside her and telling her she needs to drink more.

Feeling accomplished tonight.
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What about Chlorophyll? There are are several brands in capsules and liquid. Chlorophyll and Chlorophyll with Alfalfa are natural deodorizers from the inside out. You can get it at Amazon, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC for relatively cheap ($15/100). You need to check with Mom's doctor though because a possible side effect is reduced blood sugar. You may need to monitor her diabetes meds. I don't know of any other side effects, but I am not diabetic and a bit younger.
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Also consider adding one of those deodorizes or chlorine tabs in the toilet rim or tank. This may help. Urine can have very strong odor with elders especially if they take a lot of meds and or they aren't drinking enough water. They can easily dehydrate even if they appear to be taking in a lot of fluids.
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