What the Smell of Urine Can Tell You About Your Body


    You may find yourself using the bathroom when suddenly the smell of your urine takes you by surprise.

    Is there something more serious going on inside your body? Is it a signal to go to the doctor?

    Not necessarily. Unless there is a presence of blood in your urine or you experience pain, don’t let one trip to the bathroom ruin your plans for the day.

    Some foods create temporary changes in the smell of your urine.

    If you had asparagus yesterday, odds are you are going to smell some sulfur—it’s just one of the side effects of enjoying this delicious vegetable.

    In fact, any vegetable high in sulfur will affect the smell of your urine, including cabbage.

    Other foods like onions and garlic can create strange smells too. But these are no big deal.

    However, other smells in your urine can be a bit of concern.

    A strong pungent odor means you have a high concentration of uric acid.  This is especially true if your urine is darker in color. The solution, however, is simple—you are dehydrated and need to drink more water.

    A strong ammonia smell might indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is usually accompanied by a burning sensation and cloudy urine. You may want to go to the doctor and get antibiotics.

    If your urine smells sweet or fruity, you may have extra blood sugar in your system.  If you have increased thirst as well, it would be a good idea to get tested for diabetes.

    However, sometimes a sweet smell can happen in the first few weeks of starting the keto diet, which is normal and not cause for concern.


    Some vitamins, especially those with a high concentration of vitamin B6, can really change the color of your urine.

    It may appear a strange bright yellow or even orange, like something out of a sci-fi movie! While at first glance this can be alarming, it’s actually kind of cool.

    Also, some pills contain artificial colors which can change the color of your urine.


    A fistula, which is an abnormal connection between two internal body parts, can develop between the bladder and intestines as a result of injury, infection, surgery or inflammation.

    This can cause the contents in your intestine and bladder to mix together, ultimately creating a pretty foul smell.

    You may also see particles (basically feces) in your urine.

    Ojas Shah, M.D., NYC-based urologist and professor of urology at Columbia University Medical Center and Columbia Doctors Midtown, says:

    “This may happen in people with an inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s, or bad diverticulitis [digestive tract inflammation or infection],” Shah explains.

    It can also happen with some cancers, or as a result of radiation therapy in that area. Always see a doctor immediately if your urine smells foul, especially if you have any of these preexisting conditions.”

    But the most interesting and rarest urine smell is called Maple Syrup Urine Disease.

    This is a rare condition that makes your urine thick and smell like, well, maple syrup.

    The disease prevents the body from breaking down certain amino acids, which if not treated, can cause significant health problems.

    Hopefully, you won’t smell anything strange throughout your day, but if you should, now you have some idea why.