Symptoms of ketone bodies in the urine

A small amount is normal Ketones, which is a compound produced by the liver, in your urine.However, when ketone levels are high, also known as ketonuriawhich could mean something more serious is going on.

Normally, your body burns sugar for energy. However, sometimes the body may need to use another energy source, such as fat. This can happen with fasting or diabetes, a group of conditions where there is too much sugar in the blood. When fat is used as an energy source, ketones are made into waste. If ketone levels are too high, they can be toxic to the body.

This article explains the signs and symptoms of ketone bodies in the urine. It will also discuss what conditions can trigger ketonuria, possible complications, and when to contact your doctor.

What are the symptoms of ketone bodies in the urine?

Symptoms of ketonuria appear only when ketone levels are high, especially above 0.6 mmol/L.

Symptoms of ketonuria include:

  • frequent urination
  • feeling very thirsty
  • feeling very tired
  • Difficulty breathing
  • nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
  • Puzzled
  • fruity scent

If you have any of these symptoms and suspect diabetes or other medical conditions, a healthcare professional may recommend that you get your ketone bodies checked with a blood or urine test.

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What conditions can cause ketone bodies in the urine?

Symptoms of ketonuria are more common in people with diabetes.With diabetes, the individual does not produce enough hormones insulin Or their body isn’t using it properly. Insulin helps your body process and store sugar for energy use. So, if you have ketone bodies in your urine, it probably means you’re not getting enough insulin.

You can have symptoms of ketonuria even if you don’t have diabetes. This can happen when:

  • prolonged vomiting or diarrhea
  • Extreme sport
  • restrictive diet
  • Eating disorders, which are a group of mental health conditions that involve an excessive focus on food, diet, body image, and/or exercise
  • Alcohol use disorder, which describes the inability to stop using alcohol despite the social, work-related, and health problems it can cause
  • pregnant
  • Infect


Many conditions can cause symptoms of ketonuria, including infections, diabetes, pregnancy, stomach problems, and other conditions.

What are the complications of ketonuria?

If you have uncontrolled diabetes, or are on a long-term fasting or restrictive diet, ketone levels may spike. High ketone levels can cause acid to build up in the blood. This is toxic to the body and can be life-threatening.In people with diabetes, this is called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Complications associated with ketoacidosis include:

  • Brain edemawhich refers to a medical emergency when the brain is swollen and not getting enough oxygen
  • sudden cardiac arrest, when the heart stops beating
  • kidney failure, when the organs that filter waste from the blood stop working properly
  • coma, which is a condition in which a person is unconscious for a long time
  • die

When should I see a healthcare professional for ketonuria?

Regardless of whether you have diabetes, contact a healthcare professional right away if you have signs of ketonuria. Your provider may order a test to check for ketones.

At the same time, you should increase your water intake and check your blood sugar to make sure your levels are under control.

Remember, if you suspect that you have diabetic ketoacidosis, you should seek immediate medical attention. This is considered an emergency.


Contact your doctor if you have any signs of ketonuria. If you have diabetic ketoacidosis, seek emergency medical care right away.


It is normal to have some ketone bodies in the urine, but high amounts of ketone bodies (also called ketonuria) can signal an underlying problem. Symptoms of ketonuria may include fruity breath, feeling very thirsty, and needing to urinate frequently.

Ketonuria can be caused by conditions such as prolonged vomiting and diarrhea, diabetes, infections, pregnancy, eating disorders, and alcohol use disorders. Keturia can lead to life-threatening complications, so be sure to contact your doctor right away if you have any signs of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are ketones bad?

    it depends on. In people with diabetes, the presence of ketones often indicates a problem, such as diabetic ketoacidosis. High levels may also indicate other conditions in people without diabetes, such as pregnancy, restrictive dieting, or infection.

  • What are the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis?

    Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:

    • feeling less alert
    • Shortness of breath
    • dehydration
    • dry mouth and skin
    • frequent urination
    • fruity scent
    • headache
    • rigid muscles
    • vomiting and stomach pain
  • Can dehydration cause ketone bodies in urine?

    Usually not. Ketone bodies occur when the body burns fat for energy. Starvation can lead to high levels of ketones, but dehydration does not.