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Diseases reference index «Urine odor»

Urine odor refers to the scent of the fluid excreted during urination. Urine odor varies. However, if you drink enough fluids and are otherwise healthy, urine does not usually have a strong smell.

Considerations

Changes in urine odor are usually temporary. Such changes are not always a sign of disease. Certain foods and medicines, including vitamins, may affect your urine's odor. For example, asparagus causes a characteristic urine odor.

However, foul smelling urine may be due to bacteria, such as that responsible for urinary tract infections. 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.

Causes

Abnormal urine odor may indicate:

  • Dehydration (concentrated urine can have an ammonia-like scent)
  • Hepatic (liver) failure
  • Ketonuria
  • Maple sugar urine disease (very rare)
  • Phenylketonuria (rare)
  • Rectal fistula
  • Urinary tract infection

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your health care provider if you have fever, chills, burning pain with urination, or back pain along with an abnormal urine odor. These may be signs of a urinary tract infection.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The following tests may be performed:

  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture

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