Ketosis is increased ketones in the body. When these begin to circulate through the body, they appear in different fluids, including urine, giving them that characteristic smell.
This problem is common in poorly controlled diabetes cases when someone with diabetes has an infection and in patients who follow a ketogenic diet, but is that smell in the urine harmless?
In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain everything you need to know about ketosis and its consequences on the body, thecauses of urine smelling of acetone, and the treatmentyou should follow.
Table of Contents
Ketone bodies generate the smell of acetone in urine.
Usually, the body’s primary source of energy is sugar or carbohydrates. Sometimes, instead of carbohydrates, fat stores are used. This is in cases like, for example:
- Failures in metabolism.
- Inadequate compensation in cases of diabetes.
- Increased stress hormones.
- Low carbohydrate diets.
When this happens, the production of ketone bodies results. Whenketone bodies increase in the body, they begin to circulate through the bloodstream. Thus, their characteristic odor can be noticed in urine, sweat, breath, and many other symptoms.
Symptoms of ketosis
When ketone bodies increase in the body, thesmell of acetone appears in different body fluids. In addition, other series of symptoms and disorders may occur, such as:
- Increased thirst.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath.
- Abdominal pain.
- Tiredness or weakness
- Loss of muscle mass.
- Arrhythmia or disturbances in the electrical conduction of the heart.
- Pancreatic inflammation.
- Vaginal irritation and foul smell in the genital area.
Acetone-smelling urine from poorly controlled diabetes
One of thecomplications of poorly controlled diabetesisdiabetic ketoacidosis.
In diabetes, there is pancreatic exhaustion due to excess carbohydrate consumption, among other disorders. Consequently, the pancreas cannot produce the amount of insulin required to metabolize the carbohydrates that continue to be consumed. Thus, the body must obtain energy from fats when ketone bodies appear in the blood.
Suppose this situation persists for an extended period. In that case, the disease is poorly controlled, poor eating habits continue, or the person does not exercise, likely, ketone bodies increase so much that they lead to acidification of the blood. In that case, one speaks of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Diabetic ketoacidosis presents with many of the symptoms described in the previous section. This is a medical emergency. Therefore, if your blood glucose levels are high and you smell acetone in your urine, do not delay your professional consultation.
Acute illnesses that can cause urine that smells of acetone
If someone with chronicdiabetes hasan acute illness that complicates their diabetes, they may also notice a strange smell in their urine. It is prevalent for this to occur with arespiratory or urinary infection.
In these cases, it may also appear:
- General discomfort.
- Burning when urinating.
- Pain in the chest or abdomen.
However, in some cases, there are not too many symptoms. This is when a small change, such as the smell of urine, can be a significant warning.
It is essential in these cases to control sugar levels since if they are high, it is essential to consult a medical professional. That way, you can avoid more severe complications.
Acetone-smelling urine caused by stress
Both in the acute illnesses that we have just described and in the event of stress, there is anincreasein two hormones:cortisol and adrenaline. These have the opposite effect on insulin, causing blood sugar levels to rise.
When this occurs in a person with diabetes orinsulin resistance, itis possible that:
- Increase blood glucose levels.
- Insulin cannot process as much sugar.
- Fats must be used for energy.
- Increase ketone bodies.
Thus, in case of stress, the smell of acetone can also appear in the urine, and frequently, it can be a symptom that allows diagnosing the existence of metabolic problems.
The keto diet can cause urine that smells like acetone.
Many think that theketo or ketogenic dietis harmless. If it were, it would not generate as many metabolic alterations. The keto diet causes too rapid weight loss at the cost of obtaining energy from unusual sources: fat and muscle mass.
Consequently, ketone bodies also increase, which begin to circulate throughout the body. This is called ketosis.
With ketosis,ketone bodieswill appearin the urine andsweat and circulate through the brain, pancreas, and kidneys, generating alterations in their wake. It is a mistake to think that this has no consequences.
Risks of ketosis
Beyond the symptoms considered “minor,” such as bad breath or bad smell in the urine, long-term sustained ketosis generates:
- Pancreatic disordersthat can cause significant inflammation are known aspancreatitis.
- Significant weakening of the tissues, with loss of part of them. This can lead to muscle weakness, lack of energy, decreased body defenses, and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
- Accumulation of toxinsfrom excessive protein consumption. Some of the best known are putrescine and cadaverine, which have been shown to have an incidence in the production of cancer.
- Mental confusion, headache, and dizziness: these symptoms result from ketone bodies circulating through the brain, altering its normal functioning.
In diabetic ketoacidosis from poorly compensated diabetes, severe symptoms will likely appear more quickly. That is why proper handling of this situation can even save your life.
Treating urine that smells of acetone
As a first tip,don’t minimize this symptom. Whether or not you have diabetes, your body warns you that something is wrong.
If you have discomfort, headaches, fever, chills, or any other obvious acute discomfort, you must go to a health center. This should also be done if you have diabetes, have insulin resistance, or have direct relatives who suffer from it. You canmeasure your blood sugarand try to lower it at home if you know how to do it.
It is also essential tohydrateproperly. If you do not know how to lower your blood sugar, have never suffered from something similar, or are unable to lower your blood glucose, you should immediately see a medical professional.
Among the measures that can be carried out in the medical center you go to are:
- Talk to you, examine you.
- Control blood glucose figures.
- Electrolyte replacement. They are the minerals your body needs.
- Place medication to lower blood sugar, such as insulin.
If you are on a ketogenic diet, you should rethink what you do. It is not a desirable way to lose weight because you are subjecting your whole body to an unnecessary demand that will generate significant imbalances and weakness in the short or long term. Beyond the fact that it is currently a worldwide trend, your body must accompany you all your life, and if you take care of it, you will avoid significant problems in the future.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar toUrine with the smell of acetone: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Endocrine System category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Keto diet (ketosis)
If you are on the keto diet and in ketosis (when the body breaks down fat for energy instead of carbs), it can make your urine smell like nail polish remover (acetone), a ketone that the body releases when you're in ketosis.
- Drink enough fluid.
- Get examined for possible infection.
- Change your diet.
- Drink cranberry juice.
- Take deodorizing tablets or Vitamin C.
- Controlling Odor With Cleaning and Incontinence Products.
Sometimes, medications can cause your urine to smell like sulfur. Two common examples are vitamin B supplements and sulfa drugs. Sulfa drugs treat a wide number of conditions, including: rheumatoid arthritis.How do you get rid of the smell of acetone? ›
- Ventilation. Sometimes, the easiest solution is the best solution! ...
- Baking Soda. Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is known for its odor-absorbing qualities! ...
- Cat Litter. ...
- Charcoal. ...
- Coffee. ...
- Essential Oil. ...
- Odor Neutralizer. ...
Urine may smell like ammonia when it becomes concentrated with waste products. A variety of conditions can cause waste products to build up in urine, such as bladder stones, dehydration, and urinary tract infections. In most cases, urine that smells like ammonia can be treated with fluids or antibiotic medications.What is a natural remedy for smelly urine? ›
Drink Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice increases the acidity of urine, which can reduce odor.
What Does Diabetic Urine Smell Like? One warning sign of diabetes or high blood sugar is urine that smells sweet or fruity. The sweetness comes from sugar in your urine and is a sign your body is trying to get rid of extra sugar in your blood.What does kidney stone urine smell like? ›
Kidney stones are born out of the crystallization of concentrated minerals in your pee. Concentrated urine is darker, cloudier and stinkier — similar to when you're dehydrated. The strong odor is often compared to ammonia, but it's more likely that the smell stems from a urinary tract infection than a kidney stone.Does diabetes make your pee smell? ›
Diabetes: Strong sweet-smelling urine is a sign of advanced diabetes, which can be diagnosed with urinalysis. With advanced diabetes, sugar and ketones, which are normally absent, can accumulate in the urine and create a strong odor.Does the smell of urine go away? ›
Most changes in urine odor are not a sign of disease and go away in time. Some foods and medicines, including vitamins, may affect your urine's odor. For example, eating asparagus causes a distinct urine odor.
A UTI can cause bacteria from the infection to contaminate the urine, resulting in a distinct fishy smell. UTIs are more common in women than men. Other symptoms include: urine that is cloudy or bloody.Why does my urine smell foul but no infection? ›
One of the most common reasons for strong-smelling pee is dehydration. Everyone's urine has ammonia in it. The more hydrated you are, the less concentrated the ammonia is. But when you're dehydrated, the ammonia concentration is stronger — and so is the smell.Should I be worried about smelly urine? ›
See a GP if: you have smelly pee and: you need to pee suddenly, more often than usual, or during the night. you have pain or a burning sensation when peeing.Is the smell of acetone harmful? ›
Breathing high levels of acetone can cause throat and lung irritation and tightening of the chest. Accidental ingestion of products containing acetone can lead to nausea, vomiting (vomit may contain blood) and inflammation of the mouth.How long does it take for acetone to stop smelling? ›
Therefore, baseline levels of acetone in the human body may also vary from person to person. Acetone in the body can be detected in exhaled breath, urine, blood, and breastmilk. However, because acetone is eliminated within 1–3 days, these biomarkers should only be used to monitor recent acetone exposure.What do ketones smell like? ›
If your breath smells like acetone -- the same fruity scent as nail polish remover -- it may be a sign of high levels of ketones (acids your liver makes) in your blood. It's a problem mainly of type 1 diabetes but also can happen with type 2 if you get a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).Why does my pee smell metallic? ›
When this happens, the body breaks down ammonia into urea, which is excreted in urine. However, ammonia levels can still build up, so the body removes the excess ammonia — which is toxic — through sweat. Depending on the individual, that ammonia-rich perspiration may smell more like ammonia or metal.What is it when urine smells like ammonia? ›
If you detect a hint of ammonia in your urine, it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. The odor suggests that bacteria may be swimming around in your urinary system, most likely in your urethra, kidneys or bladder. Urine showing signs of a UTI also may be cloudy or even a bit bloody.What is strong smelling urine and indication of? ›
When you're dehydrated and your pee gets very concentrated, it can smell strongly of ammonia. If you catch a whiff of something really strong before you flush, it might also be a sign of a UTI, diabetes, a bladder infection, or metabolic diseases.Does apple cider vinegar remove urine smell? ›
Then you're going to want to douse the spot with an enzymatic cleaner or simply make your own cleaning solution by combining (white or apple cider) vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio. Because the vinegar is acidic, it will neutralize the bacteria in the dog pee, offsetting its odor.
Your urine smells fruity or sweet.
So, sweet-smelling urine is often one of the first signs of diabetes or high blood sugar. Fruity-smelling urine can have a number of different causes, so it's important to talk to your doctor if you notice this symptom.
A water deprivation test involves not drinking any liquid for several hours to see how your body responds. If you have diabetes insipidus, you'll continue to pee large amounts of watery (dilute), light-colored urine when normally you'd only pee a small amount of concentrated, dark yellow urine.What does ketones in urine mean? ›
If your cells can't get enough glucose, your body breaks down fat for energy instead. This produces an acid called ketones, which can build up in your blood and urine. Having some ketones in your urine is normal. But high ketone levels in urine may be a sign that your body is too acidic.What are the warning signs of kidney infection? ›
- A burning feeling or pain when urinating.
- Having to urinate often.
- A strong, lasting urge to urinate.
- Back, side or groin pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pus or blood in the urine.
- Pain in the back or flank, typically on one side only.
- Lower abdominal pain.
- Blood in the urine.
- Constant need to urinate.
- Difficulty voiding.
- Painful urination.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Fever, chills, or sweating.
When your kidneys have more severe damage and you have high levels of protein in your urine, you may start to notice symptoms such as: Foamy, frothy or bubbly urine.What are the symptoms of high blood sugar? ›
- increased thirst and a dry mouth.
- needing to pee frequently.
- blurred vision.
- unintentional weight loss.
- recurrent infections, such as thrush, bladder infections (cystitis) and skin infections.
As a result, the ketone level in the blood will rise. When these ketones leave the body in the urine, the urine may smell sweet or similar to popcorn.What does diabetic urine smell like? ›
What Does Diabetic Urine Smell Like? One warning sign of diabetes or high blood sugar is urine that smells sweet or fruity. The sweetness comes from sugar in your urine and is a sign your body is trying to get rid of extra sugar in your blood.Why does urine smell like alcohol? ›
That's because, like coffee, alcohol is a diuretic that makes the bacteria in urine more concentrated as you pee more and become dehydrated. It also has its own odor profile that creates that familiar beer-pee smell. "Alcohol ferments and causes the odor of the urine to be like rotting greens," Dr. Gupta says.
One of the ketones, acetone (a chemical found in nail polish), can cause your breath to smell like nail polish. When ketones rise to unsafe levels, your chances for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) increase. Symptoms of DKA include: a sweet and fruity odor on your breath.