Genitourinary system

Vinegar smelling urine-13 Causes, Symptoms, 4 Treatments

Vinegar smelling urine can make you worried as you get the pungent smell of urine, and you might start wondering what the hell is wrong with you. Vinegar smelling urine can be caused by many conditions. If you are aware of the conditions that make urine smell like vinegar, then you can take prompt action in terms of getting proper treatment or visiting a doctor.

Vinegar smelling urine or urine smells like vinegar causes:

vinegar smelling urine
Vinegar smelling urine
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We need adequate hydration for the body to function properly. If you don’t drink adequate water, the blood supply to the kidneys reduces resulting in concentrated vinegar smelling urine. You can also get dehydrated if you are sweating a lot due to hot weather or due to any medical disorder.

You can also get dehydrated if you have Diabetes mellitus or Diabetes insipidus resulting in excessive urination. Whatever is the causes, dehydration ultimately leads to the production of concentrated urine. This urine smells like vinegar.

Urinary tract infection:

Urinary tract infection is generally caused by bacteria like Escherichia coli or E.coli. Sometimes bacteria like Staphylococcus saprophyticus can also cause urinary tract infections in sexually active young women.

Urinary tract infections are more common in women than in men. This is because females have a shorter length of the urethra. This facilitates easy entry of the bacteria leading to infection. The symptoms of urinary tract infection or UTI are:

  • Urge to urinate more frequently
  • Burning in the urinary region while passing urine
  • Inability to pass urine completely
  • Having to rush to bathroom more often
  • Getting vinegar smelling urine or fishy smelling urine

Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland caused by bacteria in men. It is generally seen in men over the age of 40.There are many symptoms of prostatitis-like:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Back pain
  • Pain in the scrotum, testes and genital region
  • Dysuria or difficulty in passing urine
  • Foul smelling or vinegar smelling urine
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During pregnancy, there are many hormonal changes in the woman. These hormonal changes can give a different smell to the urine, due to which urine smells like vinegar. Also, pregnant women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections leading to vinegar smelling urine.


Diet plays a vital role in maintaining our health. Dietary habits also influence the color and smell of the urine. Intake of certain foods like Cabbage, Brussels sprouts can release certain compounds like sulfur, etc in the urine leading to vinegar smelling urine.


Trichomoniasis is the term used for the swelling or inflammation of the vagina in women or the vaginitis which is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It causes many symptoms apart from producing vinegar smelling urine like:

  • Blood in the urine due to bleeding from vagina (this occurs very rarely)
  • Burning sensation while urination
  • Release of yellowish-green discharge from the vagina
  • Itching or pruritus in the vagina
Bacterial vaginosis:

Bacterial vaginosis is the vaginitis or swelling of the vagina caused by a protozoan parasite called Gardnerella vaginalis. It occurs when the healthy bacteria in the vagina are destroyed due to various causes like excessive douching. The symptoms of Bacterial vaginosis are:

  • Dysuria or difficulty in passing urine
  • Itching in the vagina
  • Discharge of grayish white thin fluid from the vagina
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Vinegar smelling urine due to release of vaginal secretions while urinating
Rectovaginal fistula:

In this condition, there is a connection between the rectum and the vagina. It can occur as part of various diseases like Crohn’s disease. I this condition, the contents of the rectum like feces pass out of the vagina. These contents can also come out while passing urine from the vagina leading to vinegar smelling urine.


There are several drugs that make urine smells like vinegar. They include nutritional supplements that we take on a daily basis and also certain antibiotics. The examples of antibiotics that cause vinegar smelling urine are Ciprofloxacin that is used to treat urinary infections and Gastroenteritis, and Amoxicillin that is used commonly to treat respiratory infections and Skin infections.

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Kidney stones:

Kidney stones are generally precipitated due to dietary habits. Kidney stones are also called Nephrolithiasis. Kidney stones can form from various minerals like calcium oxalate or also from waste products in the body like uric acid.

Kidney stones produce many symptoms apart from producing vinegar smelling urine like:

  • Pain in the region beside the backbone called loin
  • The pain radiating from the loin to the folds between the thighs called groin
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Having blood in the urine making urine appear red or pink
  • Development of urinary tract infections easily

A person with Diabetes can develop vinegar smelling urine due to many reasons. A Diabetic person tends to get dehydrated easily due to passing excess urine or passing urine many times. This makes urine concentrated due to dehydration.

Also, a Diabetic person passes the excess blood sugar or glucose in the urine. This can also make urine smells like vinegar. A Diabetic person is also more prone to urinary tract infections due to excess sugar in the urine. All these factors make vinegar smelling urine very common amongst the Diabetic people.

Liver problems:

The liver is the main organ of the body which gets rid of toxins, cleanses our body, and detoxifies it. If there is any problem with the liver, we tend to develop an accumulation of toxins in the body which are released from the urine.

These toxins in the urine can make urine smells like vinegar. There are also many other symptoms of liver failure like:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Yellow colored skin
  • Yellow colored white part of the eyes
  • Dark yellow colored urine
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Mental confusion if liver failure is severe

This is a genetically inherited disorder in which a substance called phenylalanine accumulates in the blood. The symptoms of this condition are noticeable within few months after the birth. The symptoms of Phenylketonuria are:

  • Vinegar smelling urine or foul-smelling urine
  • Having small head size in comparison to peers of same age
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Mental impairment
  • Social impairment
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Vinegar smelling urine symptoms:

There are many symptoms that can be caused by conditions which cause vinegar smelling urine. They include:

  • Burning while urination
  • Urgency to rush to washroom to pass urine
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Passage of blood in the urine
  • Pain in the loin region
  • Itching in the genital region
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Fever, chills
  • Nausea, vomiting

Vinegar smelling urine Treatments:

There are many remedies that you can follow at home to get rid of vinegar smelling urine. They are:

Cranberry juice:

Drinking cranberry juice is very effective in getting rid of urinary tract infections. So, try to find cranberry juice which is natural and of a reputed brand to get rid of the urinary infection and also vinegar smelling urine.

Drinking adequate water:

Drink at least 2 liters of water every day. It can be in the form of fruit infused waters, buttermilk, soups, etc. This will help in preventing dehydration which causes vinegar smelling urine. It also helps in clearing urinary infections and also in getting rid of urinary or kidney stones.

Yogurt and honey:

Yogurt and honey are very healthy. They promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestines, in the vagina, etc which help to protect our body from various infections. In this way, we can get rid of vinegar smelling urine.

Wearing loose clothing:

Wearing tight fighting clothes promotes the growth of harmful bacteria in the genital regions which cause infections, and lead to vinegar smelling pee. So, wear loose-fitting cotton clothes and undergarments.

When to see a doctor for vinegar smelling urine:

You need to see a doctor for vinegar smelling urine if you have any of the below symptoms:

  • Having loin pain or loin pain radiating to the groin
  • Having blood in urine or red colored urine
  • Having burning while urinating
  • Having high fever with or without chills
  • Having severe nausea or vomiting
  • Having pain during sexual intercourse

You have seen all the possible causes, symptoms and treatments of vinegar smelling urine or urine smells like vinegar. Hope you find this informative.

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