Home Health A-Z Smelly Urine – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment and More

Smelly Urine – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment and More

Verified By Apollo Doctors June 28, 2022 13984 0
Smelly Urine
Smelly Urine


Every person’s urine has a distinctive odor. Sometimes, urine can smell stronger than normal. It is not a cause for concern as it goes away on its own. However, sometimes strong-smelling urine may indicate a medical problem.

What is Smelly Urine?

Urine is our body’s liquid waste, basically consisting of water, salt, electrolytes like potassium, and waste products like urea or uric acid. The basic details about the odor and color of urine can indicate your body’s health status. Usually, urine has a slight ammoniacal smell if a person is dehydrated or on medications. This should go away by drinking an adequate quantity of water. If not, it can be a sign of an underlying illness.

Symptoms of Smelly Urine

One should look for the following symptoms if you have a stronger urine odour that lasts more than 48 hours.

Causes For Smelly Urine

Smelly urine can be caused by a number of reasons. Most of them are harmless. But if it goes on for more than 48 hours, it can be serious. Given below are some causes of smelly urine.

  1. DehydrationWhen one is dehydrated, one’s urine is more concentrated in terms of waste products. Even the color of the urine is dark orange or amber. On the other hand, this color of urine changes to transparent yellow when you are properly hydrated.
  2. Diet – Every person digests food differently. Some people’s urine will smell bad if they have foods like asparagus, while other people’s urine won’t. This is applicable to other foods also, like sprouts, onions, garlic, fish, alcohol, tobacco, etc. Drinking adequate water will dilute your urine, and the smell will go away.
  3. Coffee – Coffee is a diuretic that causes you to urinate more. Coffee flushes extra fluid from your body, thereby causing dehydration. Moreover, coffee, when metabolized in your body, forms byproducts that cause your urine to smell.
  4. Vitamins – Some supplements or medications can cause your urine to smell. Your urine can be foamy if you are taking protein supplements.
  5. Douche products – Many women use douches to clean or treat vaginal infections. However, using them daily not only removes the bad, unhealthy bacteria but also healthy bacteria from your vagina, causing urine to smell more.

Medical Conditions that Cause Urine to Smell

  1. Diabetes – In diabetes, your body is unable to absorb glucose, causing the glucose to be flushed out through urine. Also, sugar irritates the bladder, so people with diabetes urinate  more frequently.
  2. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) – Bladder or urethral infections with certain bacteria can cause your urine to smell. Usually, it is accompanied by other symptoms like a burning sensation while urinating ,  with a low-grade fever. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics.
  3. Bacterial Vaginosis – This is a vaginal infection that causes your urine to smell like fish. It is accompanied by vaginal discharge and pain while urinating.
  4. Organ Failure – The liver and the kidneys are the main organs involved in the metabolism and excretion of waste products. The failure of any one of these directly affects your urine output, affecting its odor, color, and frequency.
  5. Kidney Stones When salt and minerals in urine stick together to form small grains or large chunks like stones, these stones may get stuck in the urethra, causing intense pain to the patient. If these stones last long, they can also cause infection and urine to smell. 
  6. Sexually Transmitted Disease (STIs) – STIs cause irritation and inflammation of the urethra. It mostly results in pus and bacteria, causing the urine to smell.
  7. Bladder Fistula is a condition where bacteria from the gut enter your bladder because of an injury (surgical injuries or bowel diseases), causing the urine to have a bad smell.
  8. PhenylketonuriaA genetic condition where the body is unable to break down the few amino acids present in our food, causing the urine to smell foul. 
  9. Pregnancy – Hormones involved in pregnancy, like estrogen and progesterone, can cause the urine to smell different. 

When to Consult a Doctor?

One should consult a doctor if your urine has a strong odor that lasts for more than 48 hours, along with any of the symptoms mentioned above. The doctor will ask you questions about your diet and any current medications. Doctors can run simple urine tests for signs of a bacterial infection or order a cystoscopy to look for urinary disease.

How To Prevent Urine Smell?

One can prevent smelly urine by practising healthy habits like:

  • Urinate 6-7 times a day. For this, one needs to drink 2-3 liters of water per day.
  • Do not push the urine to come out faster, and take your time to pee. 
  • Control your alcohol intake.

Complications with Urine Odor

Usually, urine odor is harmless and goes away with hydration. But  UTIs or kidney infections, which can progress into serious health issues, need to be evaluated by a medical professional. Sometimes UTIs show no symptoms except for smelly urine. This can especially be an issue if you are pregnant.

Urine Odor Treatment

  • Staying hydrated
  • Not consuming ammonia-producing foods
  • Taking a wash after urinating
  • Maintaining hygiene

Urine odour is governed mostly by what you ate the night before or the medications you take. Despite this, if the smell persists and is new to you, contact your healthcare provider to rule out any health complications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does my urine smell fruity?

This can be because of the presence of sugar in your urine. Your body might be discarding all the excess glucose you consume. In such cases, get tested for diabetes and consult your doctor.

Why does my pee burn?

This can be because of a UTI, kidney stones or urethral stones . Also, severe dehydration can cause the burning sensation. Contact your doctor and replenish your body with fluids. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics.

Why does my pee smell even when I am hydrated and have no medical condition?

You need to monitor your diet closely. Your doctor can help you identify the with the list of foods that can cause of the unusual  to smell.

Verified By Apollo Doctors
At Apollo, we believe that easily accessible, reliable health information can make managing health conditions an empowering experience. AskApollo Online Health Library team consists of medical experts who create curated peer-reviewed medical content that is regularly updated and is easy-to-understand.

Quick Appointment



Book ProHealth Book Appointment
Request A Call Back X