Urine may smell sweet if it contains extra glucose, a type of sugar. Sweet-smelling urine may be due to an underlying condition, such as diabetes, dehydration, a yeast infection, or a genetic condition called maple syrup urine disease.

Urine can reveal a lot about someone’s health. While it might feel strange to discuss the odor of urine with a doctor, it is important that a person talks to a healthcare professional if they notice a sudden change in the appearance or odor of their urine.

This article discusses the reasons for sweet- or fruity-smelling urine, symptoms, warning signs, and when to contact a doctor.

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As urine helps the body remove waste, a person’s diet and fluid intake can affect how their urine looks and smells.

If the odor of urine changes temporarily, this could be caused by something a person has eaten recently. For example, asparagus can give the urine an unusually strong odor.

Some disorders, medications, and supplements may also affect how urine smells. A person who notices a change in the smell of their urine should monitor their symptoms, and if they continue, should talk with a doctor.

Common causes of sweet-smelling urine include:


A person with uncontrolled diabetes may have high blood glucose levels. The body tries to get rid of the extra glucose through urine, which can cause it to have a sweet smell, similar to honey.

People with sweet-smelling urine due to diabetes may notice other symptoms, including:

  • exhaustion
  • extreme thirst
  • appetite changes
  • unexplained weight loss

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis can result in urine that smells sweet or fruity.

This condition occurs when a person does not have enough insulin. Insulin helps the body break down glucose to use for fuel. When the body cannot produce enough insulin to use glucose, it starts to break down fat. This causes acids called ketones to accumulate in the blood.

The condition is more common in people with type 1 diabetes, though people with type 2 diabetes can develop symptoms too.

Along with sweet-smelling urine, a person may have the following symptoms:

  • sweet-smelling breath
  • feelings of exhaustion
  • confusion
  • seizures

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency as it can be life threatening without treatment.

Maple syrup urine disease

Maple syrup urine disease is an inherited genetic condition in which a person cannot process certain proteins. A parent or caregiver may notice that the baby’s urine smells sweet, like burnt sugar.

The following symptoms can also occur:

  • tiredness
  • unusual movements
  • delayed development
  • poor eating
  • vomiting

Maple syrup urine disease is treatable. Parents and caregivers should seek prompt medical care when a child has sweet-smelling urine, as it can result in severe complications.

A person may need to follow a strict diet, regularly undergo blood testing, or take medications to prevent liver failure if they have maple syrup urine disease. Some people eventually need a liver transplant.

Medications and supplements

Some supplements, such as vitamin B6 supplements, can alter how urine smells. Certain medications may also change the way urine looks or smells.

People who have recently started a new medication should talk with their doctor if their urine looks or smells different than usual.


When someone is dehydrated, it makes their urine more concentrated. Concentrated urine smells stronger. The urine can also darken in color, ranging from very yellow to brown.

While concentrated urine typically has a pungent ammonia odor, some people report that their urine smells sweet or fruity.

When a person’s urine is very dark, they should drink more water. If symptoms persist for more than a day or so, they should contact a doctor.

Learn more about the color of urine and when to contact a doctor.

Vaginal yeast infection

A vaginal yeast infection, or thrush, develops when the fungus called Candida grows out of control.

Vaginal yeast infections do not cause the urine to smell but can cause vaginal discharge to smell sweet, similar to honey, bread, or beer.

Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • itching
  • burning
  • redness
  • irritation
  • a cottage cheese-like discharge
  • painful urination in some cases

Some over-the-counter remedies or prescription antifungals can treat yeast infections.

If a person’s urine smells different than normal but no other symptoms are present, it is not usually a cause for concern.

Some symptoms, however, warrant an immediate trip to the doctor. These include:

  • Feeling very thirsty: Diabetic ketoacidosis can make people feel very thirsty, even when they drink lots of fluids.
  • Abdominal pain or nausea: These symptoms are present in diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • Intense pain in the back, abdomen, or genitals: Pain in these areas could signify a kidney or urinary tract infection.
  • Blood in the urine: This could be a sign that someone has a bladder or kidney infection.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and yellow skin or eyes: This might mean an individual is experiencing liver failure.
  • Feeling tired, confused, or agitated: This could be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis or a serious infection.
  • Fever: A fever can be a sign of an infection. Some infections, such as urinary tract infections that spread to the kidneys, can be life threatening.

For some people, a change in urine odor or appearance is the first sign of a serious health problem. The National Health Service (NHS) recommends seeing a doctor if smelly urine occurs along with:

  • blood in the urine
  • pain in the lower stomach or back
  • general feelings of fatigue and being unwell
  • high temperature
  • feeling hot and shivery
  • confusion
  • agitation

Those with weakened immune systems should go to the emergency room if they notice that their urine smells sweet.

A person’s outlook depends on the underlying cause. For example, sweet-smelling urine due to a person’s diet may resolve without medical intervention.

More severe causes, such as uncontrolled diabetes and diabetic ketoacidosis, can result in severe complications and can be life threatening in some cases.

With prompt treatment, many causes of sweet-smelling urine can be managed or treated.

The following are commonly asked questions about sweet-smelling urine.

Can conditions affecting the liver cause sweet-smelling urine?

Conditions affecting the liver can result in high ammonia levels in the urine. This can cause the urine to smell pungeont and similar to ammonia.

Can ketosis cause sweet-smelling urine?

When the body enters ketosis, ketone levels in the blood can rise. When these leave the body via the urine, a person may notice a sweet smell.

There are several causes of sweet-smelling urine, such as uncontrolled diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, maple syrup urine disease, and certain supplements.

It is important that a person contact a doctor if they notice a change in the odor of their urine as some of these conditions can have severe complications