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Smelly urine

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
  • not drinking enough fluids
  • 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 – so that you regularly pee during the day and do not feel thirsty

  • drink more in hot weather and when exercising

Don't

  • do not drink a lot of sugary fizzy drinks, coffee or alcohol

  • do not eat a lot of 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, more often than usual or during the night
  • you have pain or a burning sensation when peeing
  • your pee looks cloudy

Urgent advice: Call 111 or ask for an urgent GP appointment if:

you have smelly pee and:

  • there's blood in your pee
  • you have lower tummy pain
  • you have pain in your back, under the ribs
  • you feel tired and unwell
  • you feel confused or agitated
  • your temperature is very high, or you feel hot and shivery
  • your temperature is very low

If you have any of these symptoms, you may have 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.