Why Does My Urine Smell Like Vinegar?

Today you will learn why your Urine smells like vinegar.

Generally, urine has a slight or no odour. Most of the time, the urine doesn’t have any odour if your body is well hydrated or you empty your bladder frequently.

While this is normal, we can’t say the same when you find your urine having a strong vinegar smell.

Many factors can cause the vinegar smell in the urine. This includes dehydration, diet, diseases, and many others (but we will discuss this later).


Does Urine Smell Like Vinegar?

In this article, we are going to look into details at the main causes of the vinegar smell in urine, the symptoms, and treatments available to get rid of the bad smell of urine.

Urine is comprised of water and few waste products, which are responsible for the little order. Additionally, your kidneys can also excrete various waste products that result in a high concentration, which may lead to the vinegar smell in your urine.

Most often, changes in the urine smells are temporary and don’t always mean that you have a serious underlying condition especially if there are no other symptoms that accompany this condition.

Below are some of the conditions or reasons why your kidneys may be forced to deal with various waste products. This may result in the bad smell of the urine.

These conditions include:

  • Metabolic disorder
  • Foods such as asparagus
  • Various Medications including certain vitamins
  • An abnormal connection between the bladder and intestine (Gastrointestinal-bladder fistula)
  • Maple syrup urine disease

Symptoms of Vinegar like the Smell in Urine

Various symptoms indicate this condition. However, these symptoms vary widely depending on the underlying condition.

– For example Urinary tract infection will cause the vinegar like the smell in your urine as well as a burning sensation when urinating. The condition may also cause abdominal pains.

– Vinegar smell in urine caused by diabetes is often coupled with frequent urination, fatigue, slow healing of sores as well as extreme hunger(1).

– When the smell is caused by foods or medications, once you stop using certain foods or medications the smell will disappear.

– Prostatitis may also cause the vinegar smell. Other symptoms that accompany this disease include a burning sensation when urinating, pain in the scrotum and rectum as well as an urgent need to urinate(2)

What Causes Urine to Smell like Vinegar?

As aforementioned, various reasons/condition contribute to the vinegar like the smell in the urine. Let us look at the most common causes.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

The urinary tract infection is a common infection that is often caused by the E.coli bacteria. Some of the other type of bacteria that can cause this infection is the Staphylococcus saprophyticus especially in young women who are sexually active.

Generally, the UTIs are more frequent in women as compared with men. The reason behind this is that females tend to have a shorter urethra. This makes it easy for the bacteria to get in, causing the infection. Some of the symptoms that indicate that you may be suffering from a UTI include;

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • The urge to urinate frequently
  • Urinating frequently
  • Fishy or vinegar smelling urine


For our body to function properly, it needs proper hydration. When the body becomes dehydrated, our kidneys will not get sufficient blood. This will reduce their performances, leading to concentrated urine with the vinegar smell.

The body can also lose a lot of water, especially during the hot season, as we tend to sweat more. Some of the other conditions that may cause our body to become dehydrated include Diabetes insipidus and Diabetes mellitus. When you have this condition, the body becomes easily dehydrated because of the excessive urination.


This condition makes the prostate gland to inflame. Bacteria also cause this condition. Although this condition can manifest in any age, it is common in middle-aged men who are past the age of 40 years. The symptoms that accompany this condition include;

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Back pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the testes, scrotum, as well as the genital region
  • Vinegar or foul smell in urine
  • Difficulty when passing urine

Urine Smells Like Vinegar Pregnancy

There are various hormonal changes in the body of a pregnant woman(3). The changes in the hormones can cause the urine too change its smell. Additionally, there are increased risks of contracting UTI especially if you are pregnant. The hormonal imbalances and increased risks of getting UTIs may lead to the vinegar smell in urine.


We are what we eat. With that being said, diet will play a crucial role in ensuring that our health is in top condition. Some foods such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and others contain sulfur compounds. When we consume them in large quantities, it can lead to foul-smelling urine. The key here is to eat a balanced diet to avoid this.


Well, some scientific names are hard to pronounce leave alone spelling them. However, their meaning is quite simple. For instance, the name Trichomoniasis simply means the inflammation or swelling of the vagina.

The condition is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis(4), which is a protozoan parasite. Some of the other symptoms that accompany this condition apart from the vinegar smelling urine include;

  • Burning sensation while urination
  • Vagina bleeding which results in urine with blood spots
  • Itchy Vagina
  • Yellowish- green vaginal discharge

Bacterial Vaginosis

Also known as, vaginitis, the bacterial vaginosis is a condition that makes the vagina swell. This condition is caused by Gardnerella vaginalis, which is also another Protozoan parasite.

The condition occurs when there is the destruction of the bacteria because of a variety of reasons including douching excessively. Some of the other symptoms that accompany this condition include:

  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Itching in the vagina
  • Difficulty in passing urine
  • Grayish white vaginal discharge


We have various drugs that may cause the vinegar smell in urine. Some of these drugs will include various nutritional supplements and certain antibiotics. Good examples of antibiotics that cause the vinegar smell in urine are such as the Ciprofloxacin and Amoxicillin.

Ciprofloxacin helps treat UTIs while Amoxicillin is effective in treating both skin infections as well as respiratory infections.

Kidney Stones

The kidney develops because of our dietary habits. Also known as the Nephrolithiasis these stones forms because of high concentrations of various minerals such as oxalate or uric acid which is a waste product in the body. Besides the smelly urine, the kidney stones are accompanied by the following symptoms.

  • Pain in the lion
  • Severe vomiting or nausea
  • Presence of blood spot in urine
  • Easy development of the UTIs


Diabetics are also at a high-risk urine that has a pungent vinegar smell. There are many reasons behind this. For example, a person suffering from diabetes will tend to urinate more frequently, dehydrating the body.

When the body becomes dehydrated, the urine becomes concentrated, thus the pungent smell.

Additionally, People suffering from diabetes have glucose ma-absorption condition. When there is a lot of sugar or glucose in the urine, it tends to have the vinegar smell. Besides, diabetic people are also prone to UTIs because of the excess sugar in the urine.

Liver Problems

Our liver helps to get rid of the toxins from the body. If there is an underlying condition that causes the liver to malfunction, there will be an accumulation of toxins in the body, which are normally released in form of urine. These toxins have a vinegar smell, making the urine smelly. Some of the other liver failure problems include:

  • Yellow colored skin
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Yellow colored white part of the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark yellow colored urine
  • In severe cases, the patient also suffers from mental confusion


Last but not the least we have Phenylketonuria(5). This is a genetically inherited disorder. Since it is passed from parent to child, the symptoms are present in toddlers who are only a few months old. Besides the smelly urine other symptoms that accompany this condition include:

  • Smaller head when compared to peers of the same age
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Social impairment
  • Mental impairment

Treatments to Get rid of the Vinegar Smelling Urine

Fortunately, various treatment and home remedies can help you in getting rid of the vinegar smell in urine. These includes:

Proper Hydration

Generally, a person should take about two litres of water daily. This doesn’t have to be pure water. You can soups, buttermilk as well as fruit infused water. Hydrating the body well will allow sufficient blood to the liver, which reduces the concentration of the urine. Enough water in the body also assists in getting rid of the kidney stones as well as urinary infections.

Cranberry Juice

This juice is not only delicious but also plays a crucial role in getting rid of the UTIs. Ensure that you purchase an all-natural juice as those made from concentrates may dehydrate your body. We recommend purchasing this juice from trusted sources. You can make a fresh cup at home if you have the cranberries.


While this should be the last option, it is effective in solving the severe cases. The surgery is done to remove the stones from the bladder. The commonly used procedure is referred to as the Cystolitholapaxy.

In this procedure, a thin tube that has an attached camera is gently inserted into the bladder.

This camera will help the surgeon locate the stone. After locating them, the tube will make use of its stone crushing devices to crush the stones. Ultrasound or lasers may also be used to crush the stones before removing them.

Dietary Changes

Making dietary changes is crucial in getting rid of the pungent smell of urine. As mentioned earlier there are certain foods that contribute to this condition. Consuming a well-balanced diet will ensure that your body gets what it needs.

Always ensure that your diet contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Additionally, by limiting the consumption of vegetables that produce sulfur compounds will help prevent the bad urine smell

Honey and Yogurt

Honey and yogurt are not only delicious but also healthy. They will play an important role in promoting the growth of good bacteria in the vagina as well as the intestines. This makes the body strong when it comes to infections that are brought about by the bad bacteria.

Wearing Loose Clothing

As simple as it may sound, clothes and undergarments may also help solve this problem. Tight clothes aid the bacteria to grow in the genital areas. This will increase the risk of infections.

Proper Hygiene

Another great tip is to ensure proper hygiene. Ensure that you clean your genitals before and after intercourse. Keep away or drinks that have a lot of yeast. Additionally, even though douching will helps remove the bacteria, overdoing it will remove all the bacteria including the good ones that help protect your vagina from infections.


Well, the pungent smell from your urine may be embarrassing. However, using any of the above or a combination of these tips will help you get rid of the smell. However, if you feel that additional symptoms apart from the smell, you should consult your doctor immediately. As you can see, many conditions can lead to urine that smells like vinegar. Getting early treatment will help eradicate the issue finally. All the best!

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