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Coffee & Health

Why Does My Pee Smell Like Coffee?

Waste products in the blood are filtered out by the kidneys and disposed of from the body in the form of urine. The waste products give your pee its distinctive color and smell.

Generally, what you drink or eat can affect the color and smell of urine. Coffee is among the drinks that affect the smell of urine. Also, the smell can be a result of pregnancy, certain medical conditions, and some medications.


pee smelling like coffee.


In this article, you’ll learn why your urine smells like coffee and other causes that can make your pee smell like coffee. We’ll also discuss how to prevent urine from smelling like coffee.


What Causes Urine to Smell like Coffee?

If your pee is smelling like coffee, the most likely cause is that you’re drinking excessive coffee. Coffee is made up of several essential compounds.

Polyphenols are some of the most beneficial compounds in coffee. Polyphenols include hydroxycinnamic acids, which give coffee its unique health benefits and smell.

Once the body system breaks down polyphenols, they become metabolites, which are a form of waste products. Some of these waste products are disposed of from the body in urine. It’s these metabolites that cause your pee to have a coffee smell.

Also, coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic compound. Thus, drinking coffee can cause more frequent urination due to the diuretic effect of caffeine.

In case you drink excessive coffee, you may experience dehydration. Once dehydrated, you’ll pass highly concentrated urine. Consequently, the odor of metabolites in highly concentrated urine becomes more noticeable.


Is It a Health Concern If Urine Smells Like Coffee?

Although a coffee smell in your urine may be harmless, it’s often a sign of consuming excessive coffee. Additionally, it may be a sign of dehydration due to excessive caffeine.

However, if you’re finding it difficult to sleep, consider reducing your coffee intake. Also, avoid drinking coffee about 6 hours before going to bed. Besides the coffee smell in urine, drinking excessive coffee can also cause symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Excitement
  • Increased heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness

A caffeine overdose can have adverse effects. Seek emergency medical treatment in case you experience these symptoms soon after taking coffee:

  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Convulsions


How to Prevent Your Pee from Smelling Like Coffee

One of the easiest ways of preventing the coffee smell in your urine is to reduce your coffee intake. However, this may not be easy, especially if you’re addicted to caffeine. Regardless, you can switch to coffee alternatives such as black or green tea as they contain a lower amount of caffeine than coffee.

Also, if you must drink coffee, ensure you do it moderately and drink enough water daily. Water will keep you hydrated such that your urine will be less concentrated, hence a reduced coffee smell. Also, you can increase water and reduce coffee when brewing to get a brew with less caffeine.

Also, try to wait about an hour after waking up before drinking coffee. The body produces a hormone known as cortisol when waking up. The hormone assists you to wake up.

Thus, you’ll find that your body needs less caffeine to wake up by allowing the process of cortisol release to happen naturally after waking up instead of rushing to drink coffee. That way, your reliance on coffee to wake up will reduce.


Can Your Urine Smell After Taking Decaf Coffee?

Although decaf coffee contains a low amount of caffeine, it can also make your urine smell. The only advantage of drinking decaf coffee is that it doesn’t have diuretic effects like caffeinated coffee.

Thus, you won’t pee as frequently when taking decaf coffee. However, decaf coffee also contains ingredients that make urine smell.


Can Urine Smell Like Coffee Even Without Drinking Coffee?

Besides excessive coffee intake, certain medical conditions can cause urine to smell. The smell may be mistaken for excessive consumption of coffee, yet it might be a result of a serious medical condition. Medical conditions that can cause a coffee-like smell in urine include:

  1. Bladder fistula

If your bladder has a defect or is injured, it may get infested by bacteria from the intestines. The bacteria will cause infections in your bladder. As a result, you’ll pass urine with an odd smell.

  1. Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTI results from bacterial infection. As a result, your urine will have a very strong odor. Also, UTI can cause more frequent urination combined with a burning sensation when urinating.

  1. Liver disease

Liver disease may cause a strong smell in your urine. Also, it can be a sign of diabetes.

  1. Phenylketonuria

Phenylketonuria is a genetic medical condition that makes it quite hard for the body to break down phenylalanine, which is an amino acid. As a result, a by-product of phenylalanine that’s known as phenylacetic acid gives off a musty smell in sweat and urine.


Why Does Urine Smell Like Coffee during Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body of a woman produces a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). The hormone causes an intense odor in urine. Also, the hormone intensifies the sense of smell such that a pregnant woman is more likely to notice the smell in urine.

Getting dehydrated while pregnant can cause a buildup of uric acid in pregnant women. As a result, the urine will have a strong odor. Thus, pregnant women are encouraged to drink sufficient water to prevent dehydration.


How Can You Determine the Cause of Coffee Smell in Urine?

It’s important to know the cause of the coffee smell in your urine, especially if you haven’t drunk coffee or you’re not pregnant.

Your doctor can conduct various tests such as scans, imaging, urine analysis, and cystoscopy. These tests will assist to check for any infection or medical condition.


Final Thoughts

You may be worried if you notice that your urine smells like coffee. If you’ve just drunk coffee, then you may not have to worry as it might be the cause.

In this case, reduce your coffee consumption to about 4 cups of coffee per day, which is equivalent to 400 mg of caffeine. Also, stay hydrated by drinking water to neutralize the effects of coffee.

However, if you haven’t drunk coffee recently or you’re not pregnant but your urine smells, seek medical attention to determine whether the smell is a result of a medical condition.


Also read: Why Does Coffee Make You Pee?