Urine odor refers to the smell from your urine. Urine odor varies. Most of the time, urine does not have a strong smell if you are healthy and drink plenty of fluids.
Most changes in urine odor are not a sign of disease and go away in time. Some foods and medicines, including vitamins, may affect your urine's odor. For example, eating asparagus causes a distinct urine odor.
Foul-smelling urine may be due to bacteria. Sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes or a rare disease of metabolism. Liver disease and certain metabolic disorders may cause musty-smelling urine.
Some conditions that can cause changes in urine odor include:
- Bladder fistula
- Bladder infection
- Body is low on fluids (concentrated urine can smell like ammonia)
- Poorly controlled diabetes (sweet smelling urine)
- Liver failure
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have signs of a urinary tract infection with abnormal urine odor. These include:
- Burning pain with urination
- Back pain
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
You may have the following tests:
Fogazzi GB, Garigali G. Urinalysis. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 4.
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 106.
Riley RS, McPherson RA. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 28.