Urine Smells Like Vinegar?

Urine is normally clear and almost odorless. Urine odor may change and smell like vinegar due to the below listed causes.

Causes of urine smelling like vinegar

Some of the common causes and associated symptoms and treatments of urine that smells like vinegar are listed below:

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  • Urinary tract infection/UTI: The condition is marked by overgrowth of bacteria in the urinary system. The bladder and urethra are the parts that are most commonly affected. The infection may pass into the urinary system via the bloodstream or the urethra.
    • Affected people may suffer from frequent urination, burning sensation when passing urine, and urine that smells like vinegar. People with UTIs that affect the kidneys may also experience pain during urination, fever, chills, night sweats as well as radiating pain in the groin and back area.
    • It is treated with antibiotics, pain killers, and other medications.
  • Dehydration: Intake of reduced amounts of water causes dehydration, which then results in decreased levels of urine, causing it to become more concentrated and smell like vinegar. Drink lots of water to rehydrate the body and get rid of the vinegar smelling urine.
  • Prostatitis: It is a condition marked by inflammation of the prostate gland. The inflammation can occur due to bacterial infection or unknown causes.
    • Affected men may suffer from distress in groin area, painful urination and passage of urine that smells like vinegar. Prostatitis caused due to acute bacterial infection may also result in nausea, urination urgency, high fever, chills, and increased desire to pass urine.
    • Mild bacterial infections are treated with oral antibiotics, while severe prostatitis requires intravenous antibiotics.
  • Pregnancy: Women are most susceptible to developing UTIs during pregnancy, resulting in urine that smells like vinegar. Smelly urine during pregnancy may also occur due to causes other than UTs.
  • Recto-vaginal fistula: The condition is marked by the development of an abnormal connection between the anus and vagina. This can cause the rectal contents to pass out via the vagina, causing the urine to smell foul like vinegar.
  • Vaginitis: Infection of the vagina by varied pathogens like bacteria, yeast, or other fungus can cause vaginitis. These pathogens normally occur in the vagina; infection typically occurs due to their overgrowth which may happen due to several causes including poor genital hygiene.
    • In addition to passing urine that smells like vinegar, affected women may experience painful intercourse and urination, genital itching, vaginal swelling, and discharge from vagina.
    • Yeast and fungal infections are treated with topical anti-fungal drugs, while bacterial vaginitis is treated with oral and topical antibiotics. Oral anti-fungal medications are prescribed only in severe cases. Patients need to avoid or limit the intake of sugar as it helps the growth of yeast.
  • Foods and Medications: Intake of certain foods like asparagus as well as medicines like certain antibiotics and nutritional supplements like multivitamin tablets can also cause discharge of urine that smells like vinegar. Intake of excessive amounts of coffee or caffeinated beverages can cause the body to become dehydrated, leading to foul smelling urine.
    • It is a temporary and mild cause of smelly urine.
  • Kidney stones: They refer to crystal deposits in the kidneys. Concentrated urine as well as urine composition abnormalities such as high levels of calcium and oxalate is what triggers the buildup of such crystals in the kidneys, which then become kidney stones after the passage of some time.
    • In addition to passing urine that smells like vinegar, patients may exhibit urine color and texture changes, and pain in the pelvic and back area. Such pain is especially prominent when the stones pass out from the kidneys and get lodged in the ureters.
    • Sometimes, intake of lots of water is all that is needed to get rid of kidney stones along with urine. In severe instances, surgery may be needed.
  • Diabetes/diabetic ketoacidosis: It is a condition marked by high levels of blood sugar. Such sugar passes into the urine and gets eliminated as fruity, vinegar-like, sweet smelling urine. Diet restrictions and proper treatment and management of the condition can help resolve the issue.
  • Liver problems: A healthy liver releases only minor amounts of bilirubin into urine. Any kind of liver problem can cause increased amounts of bilirubin to be passed into urine, causing it to darken and smell like vinegar. Visit a doctor to diagnose and treat the underlying liver disease.
  • Metabolic disorders: It is characterized by inability of the body to fully process certain proteins and chemicals such as methionine amino acid or phenylalanine amino acid. This can then result in elimination of musty urine that smells like vinegar. Consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.


Treatment of urine that smells like vinegar which are caused due to underlying diseases are treated with medications and associated medical therapies.

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Mild cases of urine that smells like vinegar can be alleviated with home remedies like:

  • Mild UTIs can be eased via intake of garlic and cranberry juices.
  • Drinking lots of water can keep the body hydrated and prevent urinary problems
  • Plain yogurt can help find relief from the symptoms of vaginal yeast infection.
  • Drinking barley water, mixture of cumin seeds in boiled water, and lemon juice is also helpful.
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