The truth is most of us ignore how our urine looks or smells when we pee.
But there’s always that distinctive smell or color your urine may have that might cause concern. This brings us to many questions: “why does my pee smell like coffee?”
Well, it’s probably because you’re drinking too much coffee! Read on to learn more reasons why your pee has this unusual smell and tips for getting rid of it.
Reasons Why Your Pee Smells Like Coffee
Typically, urine is odorless and colorless. The waste products in our bodies, such as the digested contents from what we eat and drink and medication, among other things, give your pee a particular color and smell.
Here are a few reasons why your urine smells like coffee.
Drinking Too Much Coffee
As much as you may not want to accept it, that cup of coffee you can’t seem to stay away from is the main reason why your urine has that unusual scent.
For starters, your body can only absorb a certain amount of coffee at a time. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), your body typically metabolizes half of your coffee for 4 to 6 hours.
This means you will pee out all the other excess coffee you consumed, resulting in your urine smelling like coffee.
Coffee also contains caffeine, a diuretic component that makes you urinate frequently. So drinking too much coffee will make you pee more, dehydrating your body.
As you continue to pee, your urine becomes more concentrated with the polyphenols (one of the components in coffee), making it smell like coffee.
Caffeine also causes acute diuresis, the reduced sodium absorption into the distal and proximal tubules. As a result, more sodium will be in your bloodstream, causing your pee to smell.
Our urine contains about 1.5 liters of water, almost half of the 2 to 3 liters we consume daily. Believe it or not, your body excretes all that water whether you drink it.
So, if you do not drink enough water to substitute the amount you release through urine, your body becomes dehydrated. Dehydration can be dangerous because your body doesn’t have enough water to perform its normal functions.
As we mentioned earlier, coffee does have a diuretic effect on our bodies, causing us to pee frequently. So having too much coffee increases the risk of dehydration, causing your urine to be more concentrated, making it smell like coffee.
Eating Certain Foods
Unfortunately, coffee isn’t the only thing that makes your pee smell unusual. Several other foods may affect how your urine smell.
Usually, when these foods are broken down during digestion, they leave some smelly chemicals, such as methanethiol, that make your urine smell weird.
Let’s look at some foods that may affect your pee’s odor.
You may be wondering why asparagus makes your pee smell. The odor is mainly due to the asparagusic acid in this vegetable.
When asparagusic acid is broken down by your body’s digestive tract, it produces sulfur-containing chemicals such as S-methyl thioesters. When you urinate, these chemicals evaporate, causing you to smell that weird scent.
Onions and Garlic
Too much of these can cause your pee and sometimes your vagina to smell. When your body breaks down onions or garlic, they produce a gas called methyl mercaptan, causing your pee and vaginal discharge to have a foul smell.
Although it is uncommon, fish may also make your pee smell unusual. Usually, if your body can’t properly break down the trimethylamine compound produced by fish when digested, it can cause your pee to smell unusual.
Urinary Tract Infections
So why does my pee smell like coffee even after ruling out most of these causes? Well, it might be due to a UTI.
The most common symptom of a bladder infection or any other urinary tract infection is smelly pee. Bacteria such as Aerococcus Urinae that cause these infections may result in your pee having a foul smell.
Tips for Reducing Foul Smell in Your Pee
While it is impossible to make your urine completely odorless, you can reduce your pee from having an unpleasant smell in some ways.
Drink Enough Water
You might not be giving it too much thought, but drinking lots of water has many benefits, including reducing that strong smell in your urine.
As mentioned, our bodies excrete a lot of water daily. So, drinking enough water prevents your body from being dehydrated.
It also prevents your urine from being too concentrated with other waste products causing it to smell bad.
Limit the Intake of Foods and Drinks That May Cause Your Urine to Smell
Many foods and beverages we have mentioned, including coffee, benefit our bodies. However, consuming too much may cause your urine to smell.
Pee Immediately When You Have the Urge to Urinate
While it is recommendable to pee as soon as you feel the urge to, some situations may make that impossible. However, developing a habit of holding in your pee for too long may cause you to have a urinary tract infection.
Holding in your urine for too long may also lead to urinary retention, whereby your bladder’s muscles cannot relax, preventing you from peeing when you want to.
This behavior may also result in your bladder deteriorating, causing you to develop urinary incontinence.
Check on Your Supplement Dosage
Of course, supplements are beneficial to your body, but taking too much of them may cause your urine to smell weird.
Our bodies automatically get rid of any products it doesn’t need including nutrients. So your urine may smell bad when you take too many supplements, such as vitamin B6(pyridoxine) and vitamin B1 (thiamine).
That is why it is essential to visit a doctor to recommend the proper vitamin dosage.
It is usual for your pee to smell like coffee, especially if you have had too much beverage. However, if you notice that the smell isn’t going away, it is crucial to visit a doctor.
This is because some conditions, such as UTIs and undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, can cause your urine to have an unusual smell that you may mistake for coffee.