Smelly urine

Smelly pee on its own isn't usually a cause for concern. There are often things you can do to help your pee return to normal.

Common causes of smelly pee

Pee is usually clear or pale yellow, with a mild smell.

Common things that can make your pee smell stronger include:

  • certain types of food and drink, like asparagus or coffee
  • being dehydrated
  • some medicines
  • vitamin B6 supplements

Things you can do yourself

Try these things to help keep your pee clear and smelling mild.

Do

  • drink plenty of fluids, particularly water or squash – drink more in hot weather and when exercising

Don't

  • drink a lot of coffee or alcohol
  • eat garlic or asparagus – they contain strong-smelling chemicals that can pass into your pee
  • take more than 10mg of vitamin B6 a day

See a GP if you have smelly pee and:

  • you need to pee suddenly, or more often than usual
  • you have pain or a burning sensation when peeing
  • there's blood in your pee
  • you have lower tummy pain
  • you feel tired and unwell
  • you're feeling confused or agitated

These may be symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Less common causes of smelly pee

Other symptoms you have might give you an idea of what's causing your pee to smell. But don't self-diagnose – always see a GP.

Symptoms Possible cause
Feeling very thirsty and tired, peeing more than usual, sweet-smelling pee type 2 diabetes
Lower back pain, pain when peeing, blood in pee kidney stones
Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice), tummy pain, nausea and vomiting liver failure

Call 111

If you can’t speak to your GP or don’t know what to do next.

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