Urine odor refers to the scent of your urine as you excrete it from your body. Urine odor varies — ranging from sweet to foul.
Urine odor is related to the volume and concentration of a variety of chemicals excreted by the kidneys. Normally, diluted urine has little to no odor. If your urine becomes highly concentrated, urine odor may have a strong ammonia quality. Many foods and medications — such as asparagus or certain vitamins — also can affect the odor of urine.
Sometimes, unusual urine odor indicates an extremely rare condition, such as the inherited disorder called maple syrup urine disease.
- Acute liver failure
- Bladder infection
- Certain foods, such as asparagus
- Cystitis (bladder inflammation)
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (high levels of blood acids called ketones)
- Kidney infection
- Maple sugar urine disease (genetic disease that causes difficulty breaking down certain amino acids)
- Metabolic disorder (a problem with the way your body converts the foods you eat into energy)
- Rectovaginal fistula (abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina)
- Type 2 diabetes (Uncontrolled diabetes)
- Urinary tract infection
- Vitamin B-6 supplements
When to see a doctor
Most changes in urine odor are temporary and don't indicate serious illness. But sometimes an unusual urine odor can be associated with an underlying medical condition. If you're concerned about the odor of your urine, talk to your doctor.