Why Does My Pee Smell like Popcorn: 5 Major Causes

A lot of people whose urine smell like popcorn are wondering the cause and thus are asking ”Why Does My Pee Smell like Popcorn”?

Urine always smells mild, but some factors cause it to have a different odor than usual. A person may be concerned if their urine smells like popcorn. Moreover, this can occur for several reasons, most of which are no cause of concern.


The common causes why does my pee smell like popcorn include diabetes, pregnancy, and a diet high in protein. Someone may worry if their urine smells like popcorn, but this is not uncommon, and in most cases, the odor change is temporary.

However, if the unusual smell continues, it is worth seeing a doctor to know the underlying cause. Urine consists mainly of water. When it looks or smells different than usual, this is due to the cause that waste products that come from the body. Therefore, the look and smell of urine can tell doctors a lot about a person’s health.

Common Reasons Why Urine Smells Like Popcorn Include:


A person with diabetes may have a very high level of ketones in their bloodstream. When the body excretes these in the urine, they can make the urine smell like popcorn. A high level of ketones in the urine or blood occurs when a person enters ketosis.

The body will produce ketones when it does not have much sugar or glucose for fuel. This might  when a person is fasting or overnight. Having a small number of ketones in the bloodstream is normal, especially for people who do.  exercise a lot or do other activities that build the body.

However, if a person with diabetes does not control their condition, something dangerous high level of ketones can build in their blood. This life threatening metabolic state is called ketoacidosis, and it requires a very quick medical check-up.

For some people, it is the first sign that they have diabetes. In some  cases, people with ketoacidosis have sweet, strong-smelling urine. Ketoacidosis can develop within 24 hours of having consistently high blood glucose levels, called hyperglycemia.

It always possible to measure urinary ketones using ketone strips, which are available in pharmacy.
Additional signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis include:

  • Dehydration excessive, unquenchable thirst sweet-smelling, or “fruity,” breath.
  • Increased urination.
  • Confusion and disorientation.
  • Vomiting.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Hyperventilating breathing, which is deep, labored breathing.
  • Fainting.

Ketoacidosis needs a medical attention, so if anyone suspects this condition, they should see their doctor immediately. Other than diabetes, the most common causes of ketoacidosis are  and chronic, excessive alcohol use and starvation.



Another possible way to know ketosis is by eating a lot of protein. When a person eats a lot of protein in place of carbohydrates, their body uses protein and stored fat for energy instead of using carbohydrates as it would usually do.

As a result, the ketone level in the blood will balance. When these ketones leave the body in the urine, the urine may smell sweet or similar to popcorn.


When it’s pregnancy time, the smell of urine may change for a few reasons, including:

Altered Sense of Smell: As a person’s sense of smell changes slightly during pregnancy, everyday scents may smell different than usual.

Hormonal Changes: During the early stages of pregnancy, increased levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) circulate in the blood, which do cause urine to smell different or more strongly.


Research carry out says that in the United States, pregnant people over the age of 20 years develop a form of temporary diabetes known as gestational diabetes. Ketoacidosis is a serious but it’s rare complication in those with gestational diabetes.


When a person is dehydrated, the body excretes less water in the urine. As a result of this, the urine is more concentrated, stronger smelling than usual. When this waste products in urine have a popcorn smell, the urine may also smell like popcorn once it is more concentrated.

Aside from strong-smelling urine, additional symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dizziness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Weakness.
  • Reduced urination.
  • Headache.
  • Exhaustion.


People usually do not need to worry if their urine smells a bit different than usual for a day or two.
However, if they notice that their urine smells sweet, like smell of popcorn, for several days, they should speak with a doctor to know the underlying cause.

People who have diabetes or are pregnant should talk with a doctor about any changes in the smell of their urine, especially if it is strong and sweet smelling.


Popcorn-scented urine do  occurs as a result of dietary factors or dehydration and is no cause for concern. However, if the smell lasts longer more than  few days, with diet or fluid intake unlikely to be the cause, it is best to see your  doctor. Pregnant people and those with diabetes or other symptoms of diabetes should speak with a doctor if they notice the smell.