Largely consisting of water, urine typically emanates a mild odor, however, there are times when it can emit a strong smell of ammonia, similar to the chemical scent of cleaning products.
Just as color changes in urine can tell us something about our diet, water intake, and general health, so too can the smell of urine. Read on to learn what causes urine to smell like ammonia, as well as what you can do about it, and the steps you can take to prevent it.
Why Does Urine Smell Like Ammonia?
The most common causes of urine smelling like ammonia include eating particular foods, taking certain vitamins, dehydration, urinary tract infections, kidney problems, or an issue with the liver. While most causes are harmless and easily rectified, some cases of urine smelling like ammonia are a sign of underlying health issues that require treatment.
How to Stop Urine from Smelling Like Ammonia
To stop urine from smelling like ammonia always pee when your bladder is full. Holding it in for excessive amounts of time (more than 2-3 hours) allows urine to become more concentrated and emit an unpleasant odor.
It’s also important to practice regular genital hygiene by washing daily with warm water and a clean washcloth. Emptying the bladder completely and wiping front to back after using the toilet will keep bacteria away from the urethra and help prevent UTIs.
Given that certain food and vitamin supplements, as well as UTIs, kidney issues, and liver problems, are the most common causes of urine smelling like ammonia, the following are the most effective ways to get rid of the odor associated with each and prevent it from recurring.
1. Eliminate Triggering Food & Vitamins
If you believe that food or vitamins are causing your urine to smell like ammonia, try eliminating one food or vitamin supplement at a time to find the culprit. To avoid ammonia-smelling urine in the future either cut the food or supplement out of your diet or minimize your consumption of it.
2. Prevent Dehydration
If your urine smells like ammonia and is a dark yellow or honey color the most probable cause is dehydration. Try cutting down on coffee, sugary drinks & alcohol, and drink 2-3 liters of water per day to stop your pee from smelling like ammonia in the future.
3. Stop UTIs from Recurring
To prevent recurring UTIs and the ammonia-smelling urine that accompanies them, female health experts recommend daily probiotics and a Freeze-Dried Aloe Vera Supplement with D-Mannose & Calcium.
Results from a four-year study from 2007 to 2011 proved that taking probiotics in conjunction with antibiotics to treat UTIs at home was far more successful in preventing recurrent UTIs than taking only antibiotics. In addition to rebalancing the vaginal flora after an infection, probiotics also promote gut health when taking antibiotics.
Freeze Dried Aloe Vera with D-Mannose & Calcium is also highly recommended to soothe the irritation from existing UTIs and prevent future infections from occurring. Aloe Vera works fast to reduce bladder pain, urinary frequency, urgency, and urethral burning.
D-Mannose is a type of sugar found in cranberries that prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. The addition of alkalizing calcium helps to maintain a healthy pH balance in the vagina.
Menopause & Ammonia-Smelling Urine
If you suspect menopause supplements that are rich in B-complex vitamins are causing your urine to smell like ammonia, speak with your healthcare professional about changing your supplements.
Chasteberry (Vitex) is a natural supplement capable of mimicking estrogen and tricking the body into believing that estrogen levels are adequate. Considered far safer than hormone replacement due to their ability to increase the risk of cancer, Chasteberry supplements, like these from Intimate Rose, are a natural and effective way to minimize symptoms of menopause.
Kidney & Liver Issues
Should you experience pain under the ribs, to the right or left of the spine, or in your groin area, and your urine is a light brown or tea-color, call your doctor for a consultation to have your kidneys checked.
If an ammonia odor from urine persists with a throbbing pain in the upper abdomen, make an appointment with your doctor to have your liver checked. Urine that turns orange with an accompanying smell of ammonia, and a yellowing of the skin and eyes could be a sign of liver disease.
Rehydrating, eliminating trigger foods & supplements, urinating when the need arises, and practicing good genital hygiene will help to manage harmless cases of urine smelling like ammonia. If the odor of ammonia persists, however, and is accompanied by pain or changes to the color of your urine, an underlying infection or health problem could be the cause.
In this case, it is important to schedule a consultation with your healthcare professional for medical treatment.
For more information on how to stop your urine from smelling like ammonia due to UTIs and menopause, we’ve outlined the most effective solutions above.
Healthline – Why Does My Urine Smell Like Ammonia? - https://www.healthline.com/health/urine-smells-like-ammonia
National Library of Medicine - Biochemistry, Ammonia - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541039/
Mayo Clinic – Urine Color - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urine-color/symptoms-causes/
National Library of Medicine - Urinary tract infections: Epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4457377
National Kidney Foundation – 10 Signs You May Have Kidney Disease https://www.kidney.org/news/ekidney/august14/10_Signs_You_May_Have_Kidney_Disease
Johns Hopkins Medicine - Liver: Anatomy and Functions - https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions
European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences - A promising support for acute urinary tract infections in women. https://europeanreview.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2920-2925-D-mannose-a-promising-support-for-acute-urinary-tract-infections-in-women.-A-pilot-study.pdf
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Combination of Probiotics and Antibiotics in the Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection in Children - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3883373