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What are the causes of human urine odour?

Updated November 21, 2016

The causes of strong human urine odour can be related to medical conditions, food and supplements. Conditions that are not medically related usually last for a short period of time; odour that does not go away can be a sign of a serious health problem. Knowing what can cause strong urine odour will help you to determine if you need to see a physician.

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Medical conditions

A common condition that can cause strong urine odour is dehydration. Dehydration is caused by a lack of water intake, and people often do not realise that they are dehydrated. By simply drinking more water, you will eliminate the strong urine odour.

Liver failure or disease is a serious condition that is a cause of strong human urine odour. The liver breaks down ammonia in the body and turns it into urea. Urea is then passed through the kidneys and out of the body through urine. When the liver cannot process or break down ammonia, the result is a strong urine odour.

Diabetes that is not treated causes glucose or blood sugar levels to rise in the body. When the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to convert glucose to energy, the body will pass the excess glucose out of the body through the urine. This condition will cause you to have strong, sweet smelling urine.

Other medical conditions responsible for strong urine odour are urinary tract infections, cystitis (bladder infections), and kidney infections. These infections are caused by the growth of bacteria. The combination of bacteria and infection create strong smelling urine.


Asparagus, meats with high fat content, onions and garlic have been known to cause strong human urine odour. This does not happen to everyone, but if you have a problem with strong urine and no health issues, you can try eliminating these foods from your diet to see if the problem goes away.


Vitamin supplements, particularly vitamin B, can have a tendency to cause a strong smell to urine. The body will only use the vitamins that it needs. Excess vitamins are passed out of the body through the urine. If you take too much vitamin B, it can cause a strong urine odour and turn the urine a bright yellow.

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About the Author

Debbie Tolle

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).

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