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Urine odor

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.

Causes

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
  • Ketonuria

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:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Burning pain with urination
  • Back pain

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

You may have the following tests:

References

Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds.Cecil Medicine

Israni AK, Kasiske BL. Laboratory assessment of kidney disease: clearance, urinalysis, and kidney biopsy. In: Brenner BM, ed.Brenner and Rector's The Kidney

Update Date 12/27/2013