Urine Odor: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Normal urine is clear and has a straw-yellow color. While the odor of urine can vary somewhat, in most cases, it does not have a strong smell. With dehydration, the urine is more concentrated and may have a stronger ammonia scent than normal. Consumption of certain foods, such as asparagus (which can impart a characteristic odor to urine), and taking some medications may be causes for changes in the odor of urine. The presence of bacteria in the urine, such as with a urinary tract infection (UTI), can affect the appearance and smell of urine. When there is an infection in the urinary tract, the urine may take on a foul-smelling odor as well as appear cloudy or bloody. A burning sensation during urination may be a symptom of a UTI. The urine may also have an abnormally sweet odor in uncontrolled diabetes, and some rare genetic conditions can also cause the urine to have an abnormal or strange odor.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/23/2018
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