Do Steroids Make Your Pee Smell? All You Need To Know

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: July 12, 2023
Do Steroids Make Your Pee Smell

Steroids, a class of synthetic drugs designed to mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body, are widely used in medicine for their anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing properties.

They can be beneficial for treating a variety of conditions, from asthma and arthritis to severe allergies and skin conditions. However, like all medications, steroids can have an impact on the body’s normal functions and processes.

One often overlooked aspect of medication use is its potential impact on bodily functions, such as digestion, metabolism, and excretion.

Given that our bodies process and eliminate these drugs, it’s not surprising that they may influence the characteristics of our bodily outputs, including the smell of our urine. In this article, we will explore the potential connection between steroid use and changes in urine odor.

Understanding Steroids

Steroids, also known as corticosteroids, are synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of hormones your body naturally produces in your adrenal glands. They are often used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. Steroids can be classified into two primary types: glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids.

Glucocorticoids, such as prednisone and cortisone, are often used to combat inflammation in the body. They’re used to treat conditions like asthma, arthritis, lupus, allergies, and many other inflammatory diseases.

Mineralocorticoids, like fludrocortisone, are used to regulate the balance of salt and water in the body. They’re typically used for patients with diseases like Addison’s disease or other adrenal gland disorders.

Common uses of steroids include treatment for autoimmune diseases, inflammatory conditions, and certain types of cancer. They’re also used to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients.

The Science of Urine Smell

The concentration and make-up of chemicals excreted from the body primarily determine urine odor. Typically, urine has a slight ammonia-like smell due to the presence of urea, a waste product that’s excreted in the urine. However, various factors can influence the smell of urine, making it stronger or different than usual.

The most common cause of strong-smelling urine is dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, urine becomes more concentrated, leading to a stronger ammonia smell. Consuming certain foods, such as asparagus or coffee, can also make urine smell stronger or different.

Other causes of smelly urine include certain medications, vitamin B6 supplements, and some underlying health conditions. For example, sweet-smelling urine can be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes, while a urinary tract infection (UTI) can give urine an unpleasant odor.

It’s important to note that occasional changes in urine smell are usually not a cause for concern. However, if the change is persistent, accompanied by other symptoms, or causing distress, it may be a good idea to seek medical advice.

Steroids and Urine Smell

There have been several studies exploring the relationship between steroids and the odor of urine. For instance, a study published in ScienceDirect suggests that certain types of steroids, specifically 16-unsaturated C19 steroids, may have an intense smell source.

Another study in Springer found that a specific steroid, 5α-androst-16-en-3-one, which is present in human saliva, can contribute to a urine-like smell source.

In a different study featured in Bioscientifica, it was noted that certain steroids stored and concentrated in the salivary glands can produce an unpleasant smell reminiscent of a stale urine source.

Further research from ScienceDirect also indicates that the metabolism of certain sulfate steroids can lead to the formation of a ‘urine-smelling’ steroid source.

While these studies suggest a possible connection between the use of certain steroids and changes in urine odor, more research is needed to fully understand this relationship. It’s also important to remember that many factors can influence urine smell, including diet, hydration levels, and other medications.

Other Factors That Can Impact Urine Smell

While steroids may potentially impact the smell of urine, they are far from being the only factor. Several other elements can have a significant influence on the odor of your urine.

  • Dietary Factors: Certain foods and drinks can dramatically alter the smell of urine. For example, asparagus is notorious for causing a strong, sulfur-like urine odor. Coffee can also give urine a distinctive smell, as can certain spices and strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions.
  • Hydration Levels: The amount of water you drink can significantly affect how your urine smells. When you’re well-hydrated, your urine is more diluted, which usually leads to a less noticeable odor. On the other hand, if you’re dehydrated, your urine can become highly concentrated and may have a stronger ammonia-like smell.
  • Other Medications or Substances: Besides steroids, various other medications, and substances can change the smell of urine. For instance, some antibiotics can cause changes in urine odor. Vitamin B6 supplements are known to give urine a strong, almost neon color and a distinct smell. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or a urinary tract infection, can also lead to changes in urine odor.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While a change in urine odor can sometimes be related to harmless factors like diet or minor dehydration, there are instances when it could indicate a more serious health issue.

If the change in urine odor is accompanied by other symptoms such as discomfort or pain during urination, a frequent urge to urinate, fever, abdominal pain, cloudy or dark-colored urine, or blood in urine, these could indicate a urinary tract infection or kidney disease.

A sweet or fruity urine odor could be a sign of diabetes. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly.

Steroids are potent medications with potential side effects. If you’re using steroids and notice a persistent change in urine odor (or any other unusual symptoms), it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider. They can help determine if the change is a side effect of the medication or possibly a sign of an underlying health issue.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe and get any persistent changes or symptoms checked out by a healthcare professional.


Steroids, specifically corticosteroids, are synthetic drugs widely used in medicine for their anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing properties. Despite their benefits, they can have a substantial impact on the body’s normal functions and processes, including potentially altering the smell of urine.

While specific types of steroids may contribute to changes in urine odor, it’s essential to remember that many other factors can also influence this, such as diet, hydration levels, other medications, and certain health conditions. Persistent changes in urine odor, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, could indicate a more serious health issue and should prompt medical consultation.

Understanding the potential impact of steroids on bodily functions is vital for anyone using these medications. As with any medication, steroids should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional who can monitor for side effects and adjust treatment as necessary.

In conclusion, while steroids can potentially change the smell of urine, more research is needed to fully understand this relationship. In the meantime, any persistent changes in urine smell or other unusual symptoms while using steroids should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.