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:
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
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
Updated by: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.