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:
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016: chap 114.
Israni AK, Kasiske BL. Laboratory assessment of kidney disease. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, et al, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 25.