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.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Causes of Urine Odor
Bladder Infection (Cystitis)
Bladder infection is an infection of the bladder, usually caused by bacteria or, rarely, by Candida. Certain people, including...
Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water. There are a number of causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged...
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are...
Heat Rash (Symptoms, Pictures, Treatment, Remedies)
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating. It can occur at any age and it appears as a rash that itches or...
High Blood Sugar (Glucose, Hyperglycemia)
Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is a serious health problem for diabetics. There are two types of hyperglycemia, 1) fasting,...
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a disorder that is inherited. PKU disorder increases the levels of phenylalanine in the blood....
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which a person's pancreas does not produce enough insulin to meet the needs of the body....
Other Causes of Urine Odor
- Asparagus Consumption
- Dietary Factors
- Liver Failure
- Maple Syrup Urine Disease
- Rectal Fistula
Examples of Medications for Urine Odor
- amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag, Larotid)
- Cipro, Cipro XR (ciprofloxacin) Antibiotic Side Effects
- nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin, Macrobid)
- norfloxacin, Noroxin
- ofloxacin, Floxin (Discontinued Brand)
- Primsol (trimethoprim)
- sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, Bactrim, Bactrim DS
- trovafloxacin mesylate, Trovan