What Causes Urine Odor?

The odor of urine is connected to the volume and concentration of numerous substances excreted from the kidneys, claims Mayo Clinic. Urine that has a high water content has little odor, while urine concentrated with waste products may have a potent smell.

Different foods, medications and vitamins may affect the scent of urine. Asparagus is well known for affecting urine odor. The smell is caused by enzymes breaking down a sulfur compound contained in the vegetable, reports WedMD. Some diabetics may observe that their urine has a sweet smell, which is caused by sugar excess.

Unusual smelling urine may indicate illness, says Mayo Clinic. These conditions include bladder infections, bladder inflammation, dehydration or a metabolic disorder. Maple syrup urine disease, gastrointestinal bladder fistula and diabetic ketoacidosis are also conditions that produce strange urine smells.

The majority of odor changing urine cases are temporary and not indicative of illness, says Mayo Clinic. If the smell of urine causes concern, it is best to consult a doctor.

Urine can provide information about a number of things regarding the body. Many of the substances in the body, such as bacteria, yeast, excess sugar and protein, show up in urine analysis, according to WebMD. Urine helps the body dispose of toxins and also allows doctors a glimpse of what the body is doing.