Monday, September 1, 2014
What is making my pee smell like ammonia?
I am a 35 y/o mother of two pre-teen girls. In the last 18-24 mo`s or so (and completely out of the blue) I have noticed that my urine has an extremely strong odor. It doesn`t matter if it`s the first pee of the day, middle of the day or before bed... it reeks of ammonia. It also varies in color from "normal" to slightly dark or practically transparent. I`d say at least 75% of the time I urinate it smells so bad in the bathroom that I spray something to hide the odor. I can even smell it on my hands after wiping and washing. Yes, I said AFTER wiping AND washing! If nothing else, it`s a great reminder to wash my hands after using the toilet. I don`t eat a lot of asparagus or take vitamins on a regular basis. I don`t drink a lot of fluids, never have, but I am not dehydrated. I have been, however, staying in a foreign country (CAN) for sometime and am unable to see a doctor for financial reasons. I was diagnosed with HPV about 4-5 yrs ago and really can`t link the two. No signifigant weight gain/loss. No abdominal pain, etc... Regardless of what I eat or drink, I have this problem. My husband is concerned and I hide how concerned I am. I have a medical background and know this is not normal. Is there something I can do to narrow it`s origin (i.e. increase fluids, cut out bread, induldge in three Hershey Kisses daily, etc) since I am unable to see a doctor and probably won`t for at least si months? HELP! My kids and husband think I am dying... almost 2 yrs of this is about all I can handle, and so can they!
Well, the good news is that you have had this for 2 years and haven't felt ill from it.A strong odor in the urine has a variety of causes. An ammonia odor is often associated with a urinary tract infection (bacterial break down of urea), concentrated urine from not drinking enough fluids, or liver problems. A Hershey Kiss a day would never hurt, but I doubt it will help pinpoint the problem.I would recommend starting out by making sure you are drinking at least 48 ounces of water a day (six 8-oz cups); this will help dilute your urine. You could also add some cranberry juice to your fluid intake (a glass a day) to kill any bacteria that may be in your urine. You can always go to a pharmacy or see a friend who has diabetes and check your blood sugar (finger stick) - fasting blood sugar should be below 110 mg/dl.If all that doesn't help, then you really do need to see a doctor to have a urine test and perhaps some blood tests done (checking your liver function).
W. Fred Miser, MD
Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University