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Urine odor

Definition

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.

Common Causes

Abnormal urine odor may indicate:

Call your health care provider if

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 health care provider's office

The following tests may be performed:

References

Patel HP. The abnormal urinalysis. Pediatr Clin North Am. Jun 2006; 53(3): 325-37, v.

Wein AJ. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007.


Review Date: 1/10/2010
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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