Sweet urine odor: Causes of fruity urine odor

Certain foods, drinks and medications sometimes lead to fruity-smelling urine. This is usually a temporary problem. A sweet smell of urine is also sometimes due to medical conditions. For example, if there is extra glucose (a type of sugar) in the urine, this often points to diabetes. If there is a sudden change in the appearance or odor of the urine, a visit to the doctor is indicated. Even if other symptoms occur or the sweet smell persists, a patient should visit a doctor. In most cases, prompt treatment leads to a better outlook for the underlying condition.

  • Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) and sweet-smelling urine
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis and fruity urine odor
  • Food and drink
  • Foetor hepaticus
  • Maple syrup urine disease and sweet smell of urine
  • Medicines and supplements and fruity smelling urine
  • Yeast infection and urine that smells like fruit
  • Dehydration and urine that smells sweet
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Alarm signals for sweet urine odor
  • Forecast of fruity smelling urine


Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) and sweet-smelling urine

A patient with uncontrolled diabetes quickly has a blood glucose level that is much too high, which is known in medical terms as hyperglycemia. The body then naturally tries to flush out the extra glucose through the urine, creating a sweet urine odor. Patients with sweet urine due to diabetes mellitus may experience other symptoms such as increased hunger due to loss of excess glucose, increased urination (pollakisuria), extreme thirst (polydipsia), unexplained weight loss, increased sweating, slow wound healing, visual impairment (if the the retina) and/or exhaustion.

Diabetic ketoacidosis and fruity urine odor

When a patient does not have enough insulin in the body and usually also has very high blood sugar levels, diabetic ketoacidosis occurs. Insulin allows the body to break down glucose so that the body can use it as fuel. When the body cannot produce enough insulin to use glucose, fat breakdown occurs. This causes certain ketones (a type of acid) to accumulate in the blood. The condition is more common in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, although patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus sometimes also develop symptoms. The following symptoms occur: sweet-smelling breath, urine that smells fruity, feelings of exhaustion, confusion and/or seizures. Untreated diabetic ketoacidosis is potentially fatal, so the patient should seek help as soon as possible when signs of this complication of diabetes appear. Insulin therapy is often the first treatment option for diabetics, although treatment depends on the type. Pregnant women may also experience a sweet urine odor due to gestational diabetes. This often disappears after childbirth.Some alcoholic drinks cause urine that smells like fruit / Source: Jarmoluk, Pixabay

Food and drink

Some foods affect the odor of urine produced. Lots of water dilutes the concentration of the urine. When patients consume too little fluid, they may smell a sweet odor that is consistent with the type of food or drink the patient ate or drank the day before. This is very common with some alcoholic drinks with sweet flavors.

Foetor hepaticus

Fetor hepaticus (breath of the dead) is a condition that results in a sweet or musty breath odor. The breath odor is usually affected, but there is also sometimes a change in the urine odor. Usually, fetor hepaticus is a common side effect of liver disease and portal hypertension. The treatment of fetor hepaticus depends on the cause: medication (beta blockers) and/or surgery. The patient must also limit alcohol with the condition.

Maple syrup urine disease and sweet smell of urine

In the genetic condition maple syrup urine disease, the body is unable to process certain proteins. The patient then has a sweet-smelling urine reminiscent of maple syrup or caramel. The severity of the condition varies, but usually the following symptoms occur in addition to the sweet urine odor: vomiting, delayed growth and development, unusual movements, poor eating and fatigue. Prompt medical attention is needed because some forms of the disease are fatal if left untreated or otherwise lead to brain damage or coma. A strict diet guided by a dietitian is usually necessary. In addition, the patient should have regular blood tests and take amino acid supplements to prevent liver failure. A number of patients ultimately require a liver transplant.Certain supplements and medications sometimes cause a sweet urine odor / Source: Stevepb, Pixabay

Medicines and supplements and fruity smelling urine

Taking vitamin B6 supplements or other types of supplements may cause a different urine odor. Certain medications also change the appearance and odor of urine. If a patient suddenly notices a sweet urine odor after starting to take new medication, it is best to contact the doctor to report the problem.

Yeast infection and urine that smells like fruit

Candida is a fungus that often affects a woman’s vagina. Occasionally, men are also affected by the infection. Candidiasis causes an abnormal vaginal discharge that has a sweet odor. The smell is reminiscent of honey, bread or beer. Symptoms of a yeast infection in the vaginal area include vaginal burning, an itchy feeling in the vagina, a cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge, painful urination (sometimes), discomfort and redness. Some over-the-counter medications or prescription antifungals treat candidiasis. It is best for the patient to go to a doctor with the complaints because they can sometimes be attributed to another condition.

Dehydration and urine that smells sweet

A patient with dehydration has more concentrated urine. The urine is then very yellow or even brown and also smells stronger. The most common urine odor associated with dehydration is a pungent ammonia odor, but occasionally patients experience sweet or fruity-smelling urine. If a patient’s urine is very dark (dark urine), he should drink more water. If the symptoms do not improve after a few hours, it is advisable to see a doctor.

Urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection usually occurs after the bacteria travel to the urethra. The urethra is the tube that allows urine to flow out of the body. Women are more often affected by a urinary tract infection. Sweet-smelling urine is one of the main signs of a urinary tract infection. The bacteria that cause the infection end up in the urine. Some other associated symptoms for this condition are a frequent urge to urinate (urinary urgency) and a burning sensation during urination. A urinalysis confirms the presence of the urinary tract infection. Painkillers and antibiotics are available to treat the infection. It is important to urinate before and after sexual intercourse. Furthermore, the buttocks must be wiped from front to back. Vaginal douches and sprays are not recommended.Diabetic ketoacidosis is usually accompanied by fatigue, confusion and agitation / Source: Concord90, Pixabay

Alarm signals for sweet urine odor

It is important to consult a doctor if foul-smelling urine occurs in combination with:

  • blood in the urine (hematuria): Hematuria is sometimes a sign of an infection.
  • abdominal pain or nausea: Stomach and intestinal related symptoms are present in diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • Thirst: Polydipsia (being thirsty) is a symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • a frequent urge to urinate, urgent need to urinate, pain in the lower abdomen, pain or burning sensation when urinating (dysuria): These symptoms are often due to a urinary tract infection.
  • intense pain in the back (back pain), abdomen (abdominal pain) or genitals: These pain complaints indicate a kidney or urinary tract infection.
  • Fever: A fever can be a sign of an infection. Some infections, such as urinary tract infections that spread to the kidneys or blood, are potentially life-threatening.
  • nausea, vomiting and yellow skin or eyes (jaundice): This may indicate liver failure.
  • foul-smelling urine that lasts more than two days
  • fatigue, confusion or agitation: This may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis or a serious infection.

Patients with a weak immune system (HIV/AIDS, cancer, etc.) who notice fruity urine should go to the emergency room.

Forecast of fruity smelling urine

Sweet-smelling urine is often the result of diabetes mellitus, but sometimes also indicates a dangerous and even life-threatening medical condition. With prompt treatment it is usually possible to properly treat the cause of fruity urine. Regardless of the cause, the outlook is better when a patient starts treatment early.

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