NHS website

Smelly urine

NHS Choices information on smelly urine, with links to other useful resources

10 December 2018


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.


  • 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

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 ↗