9 Weird Reasons Your Pee Smells Funny

By | April 17, 2019

Asparagus isn’t the only thing that makes your pee reek.

You may have diabetes

Close-up Of Doctor's Hands doing a blood test with a glucometer on the finger of a diabetes person.Close up shot with selective focus.AnggunFaith/Shutterstock

Sweet, honey-like urine may smell like you’re doing something right but it actually could be a sign that you have diabetes mellitus. As excess sugar spills into your urine, it creates a sweet, sugary smell (and taste). In this day and age, urologists run blood tests, not taste tests, to check for diabetes. But back in the 17th century, urologists would analyze urine samples for diabetes by using three of their senses: sight, smell, and taste. Thomas Mayo, a physician in 1675, described the taste of diabetic urine as “wonderfully sweet, as if it were imbued with honey or sugar.” A sweet taste and smell was typically a surefire sign that a patient had diabetes. If you notice any sudden unusual smells in your urine (good or bad), make an appointment with your doctor to get checked out. The smell of your pee and even the color of your pee are just a few of the strange symptoms that can signal a serious disease.  

You ingest a lot of vitamin B-6

Medical background, close-up of big white pills.GoodMood Photo/Shutterstock

Sometimes your pee smells funny when you take certain kinds of multivitamins. If you get a big whiff of an unpleasant medicinal smell in your urine, your vitamin B-6 supplement may be to blame. Vitamins dissolve either in fat or water before they are absorbed by your body. Vitamin B-6 is water-soluble, which means it excretes into your urine. Not only does this give your urine a strange “multivitamin pill” odor, it can also turn your urine a fluorescent green or greenish-yellow hue. The good news is that these vitamin-induced urine smells are harmless, so you should keep taking your daily vitamin supplements.

You live in a nursing home or just got out of the hospital

Empty hospital bed with medical equipment. Concept of medical, sickness, deathanuwattn/Shutterstock

If your urine smells like metal, you might have a pseudomonas infection. These infections are commonly found in hospital or nursing home patients because the bacteria that causes it (and also gives your pee a metallic scent) thrives in those environments. Sick or elderly people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible. “Once there’s a bacteria in the hospital or in the nursing home, it hangs around,” says Dr. Craig Comiter, MD, a urologist for Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California. “Once it gets there, it stays there. It’s part of the flora bacterial environment.” Here are 11 more fascinating facts about peeing you never knew.

Reader's Digest