Why does my urine smell like ammonia?

23.11.2018

Most of the time, this occurrence is nothing to cause alarm. There are times, however, where ammonia-smelling urine indicates a health problem.

By Marco Raber, Consultant Urologist at Emirates Hospital, Dubai

Urine does not usually have a strong odor to it. However, occasionally, it will have a pungent smell of ammonia. One explanation for an ammonia odor is high amounts of waste in the urine. But certain foods, dehydration, and infections are also possible.

Urine is the body's liquid waste. It is made by the kidneys, which filters toxins out of the blood. It contains water, salt, urea, and uric acid. Urea is expelled in the form of sweat through the body, while uric acid is the result of urine metabolism.

Changes to urine smell and color offer insight into a person's health, diet, and lifestyle choices. These choices may contribute to an ammonia smell, but they are not the only causes.

If ammonia-smelling urine occurs every once in a while, it is rarely a reason for concern. However, if ammonia odor is accompanied by pain or symptoms of infection, including fever, it is time to see a doctor.