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.

Things that can often make your pee smell stronger include:

  • certain types of food and drink, like asparagus or coffee
  • not drinking enough fluids (dehydration)
  • some medicines
  • vitamin B6 supplements

If you have other symptoms such as pain when peeing, peeing more often than usual and pee that looks cloudy, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Less often, smelly pee can be caused by other conditions such as type 2 diabetes or kidney stones.

Things you can do if you have smelly pee

There are some things you can do to help keep your pee clear and smelling mild.

Things you can do if you have smelly pee


  • drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, so that you pee regularly during the day and do not feel thirsty

  • drink more in hot weather and when exercising

Things you can do if you have smelly pee


  • 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

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

Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 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
  • you have a very high temperature, or you feel hot and shivery
  • your temperature is very low

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.