Why does my urine smell like ammonia?
Ammonia is stored in the liver in the form of glutamine, which is excreted in the urine.2 Dehydration and conditions such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause your urine to smell strongly of ammonia.
Dehydration, or the body losing more fluid than it replaces, causes strong urine odor. 34
You can check the color of your urine to see if you are dehydrated. If it’s dark yellow, you need to increase your water intake. But if it is pale straw or clear yellow, you are well hydrated. 4
Other signs of dehydration are: 5
Urine and sweat will decrease
Dry mouth or skin
Eating certain foods
Asparagus does not cause everyone’s urine to smell bad, but it is known to make urine smelly. 6 Other foods, such as onions and garlic, have similar odor effects. 3
Kidney stones also affect urine. It occurs when salts and other minerals in urine stick together to form hard stone deposits, as small as sand or as large as pebbles.7
Other symptoms of kidney stones are: 7
Back, side or groin pain
Blood in your urine
Nausea and vomiting
Pain when urinating
Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urinary system through the urethra and then begin to multiply in the bladder. These bacteria make your urine smell bad. Except for unpleasant-smelling urine, you:8
Feel the burning sensation when urinating
Cloudy or bloody urine
Need to urinate more often
Why does my urine smell good?
Urine can smell good when a person has metabolic problems.9 Problems can be linked to organs like the pancreas, which can lead to health conditions like diabetes.
People with high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, a symptom of diabetes, have excess glucose. This occurs when the body struggles to use insulin properly or when there is too little insulin in the body.10
Your body will try to get rid of excess glucose through urine. This results in smelly urine. 11 Also, when blood sugar levels are high, you may need to use the bathroom more often and feel more thirsty than usual. 10
Maple syrup urine disease
Sweet-smelling urine can be the result of a rare metabolic disorder called maple syrup urine disease (MSUD). Maple-smelling urine is a symptom in infants: 12
Delayed developmental milestones
Unable to develop
What to do if urine smells
Solving the problem of urine odor depends on what is causing it. To help reduce or eliminate urine odor, you should:1314
Manage your blood sugar levels with exercise and a healthy diet
Control or limit your food choices to determine what your urine smells like
Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated
If your urine still smells after doing any of these exercises, consult your health care provider.
When to See a Health Care Provider
If you think you may have diabetes or some type of infection, see your healthcare provider for testing and treatment options. It should be noted that urinary tract infections accompanied by the following symptoms require medical attention: 1
Burning pain when urinating
Unusual smell of urine
Kidney stones can also be passed in the urine without any treatment. However, if you experience severe pain, vomiting, bleeding, infection, or fever, consult a doctor. 15
Some medications or vitamins can cause your urine to smell bad.1 Talk to your health care provider if you notice a change in your urine odor after taking medications or supplements prescribed by your doctor.