Smelly pee on its own is not 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.
- drink plenty of fluids, particularly water or squash – drink more in hot weather and when exercising
- do not drink a lot of coffee or alcohol
- do not eat garlic or asparagus – they contain strong-smelling chemicals that can pass into your pee
- do not take more than 10mg of vitamin B6 a day
Non-urgent advice: 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 do not self-diagnose – always see a GP.
|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|
Page last reviewed: 16 October 2017
Next review due: 16 October 2020