Why does urine smell like ammonia

Ideally, in addition to being clear in texture with perhaps a light yellow tinge to it (it may not even be visible), human urine should not smell offensive either. Furthermore, urine of a healthy human being should not have any strong odors whatsoever. Urine which smells particularly sweet, pungent or like chemicals is a sign of some sort of anomaly in the person’s system. Among these smells, the strong smell of ammonia in urine indicates the compound’s presence in an abnormally large quantity within the body. Now, this could be brought on by a number of reasons and they are discussed in details below.

Possible Reasons

1. Diet — Since urine that smells like ammonia indicates that the person has a good deal of the compound in his/her system, that excess ammonia is often a side-effect of consuming foods that later contribute to the accumulation. Foods such as meat, egg, asparagus, soya and other protein-rich edibles are acted upon by the digestive bacteria that live in our bowel and that process creates a lot of ammonia from these nitrogenous compounds. The excess ammonia is thus expelled out of our system while we urinate, which of course, makes urine smell like ammonia. It should not continue for long though and once the excess ammonia is expelled out, the smell should go away as well.

2. Infections and diseases -– The most common form of infections which affect the urinary system and can make urine smell like ammonia are urinary tract infections (UTI), bladder infections or even kidney infections. While these are fairly common in both men and women, it is a bit more common among women due to their physiological arrangement, which puts their vagina, anus and urethra very close to each other. Sexually transmitted infections can also affect the urine in a way so as to give it that typical pungent odor, characteristic of ammonia.

3. Stagnation of urine –- It is an improper practice to hold one’s urine until the bladder becomes full with urinary deposits; nonetheless, many have the habit of doing so and among other things, the smell of ammonia in the ensuing urine is one of the effects of such practice. Even if the bladder is not emptied entirely of urine during the process of urination, the same can happen because urine begins to stagnate and its ammonia content keeps on increasing in the bladder if it is not expelled out in time.

4. Medicine -– Medication can change the color, texture and odor of one’s urine and it’s not that uncommon either. Vitamins, food supplements and even certain prescribed drugs can make urine smell like ammonia. Generally, this is not a reason to worry, especially if your doctor is aware of the situation.

5. Dehydration –- Dehydration increases the concentration of urine as the kidneys try to save water and fluids by stopping these from leaving the dehydrated body via urination. The lack of water increases the concentration of the dissolved ammonia (along with the other contents like urea and salts) in urine and thus we become aware of the chemical compound’s notorious smell. Dehydrated urine which smells like ammonia is particularly common in case of pregnant women and athletes.