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:

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.


  • 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


  • 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: 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.

Page last reviewed: 16 October 2023
Next review due: 16 October 2026