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Valarie, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1228
Experience:  36+ yrs exprience medical, surgical, wound/skin care, nutrition, geriatrics, rehab, management
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What causes your urine to smell like ammonia?

Resolved Question:

I have had an ammonia smell in my urine for about 6 months now. It's really strong when I wake up in the morning and the color is dark but the smell and color go away as I drink fluids throughout the day. I also have fairly consistent mild lower back pain. I'v read that it could be kidney related but the doctors here are horrible (I live in the middle of nowhere) and I don't want to travel 3 hours to a decent doctor if it's not necessary. I also take acidophilous because I had bacterial vaginosis several months ago and read that it can sometimes cause an ammonia smell? I've noticed the smell is particularly strong the morning after a night of drinking a couple glasses of wine. Do I need to go to the doctor or could it be something in my diet that I can change to see if the conditions improve?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Robert Fernando replied 6 years ago.
Welcome to
Ammonia smell of urine is due to these causes-
-bacterial infection in the urinary tract UTI,
-Consumption of red meat or high protein foods.
Most likely in your case, this is due to bacterial vaginosis. This is also responsible for the dull pain in abdomen..
A course of antibiotics need to be given to you for the management of bacterial infection of vagina. You need to be given- Metronidazole (Flagyl).
Also do get urine test done.
In your case, the cause for ammonia smelly urine is Bacterial vaginosis.
Good luck and take care
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I had bacterial vaginosis several months ago and it went away after a course of Flagyl. I do not have any of the symptoms that I had when I had bacterial vaginosis. I really don't think that's what it is.
Expert:  Robert Fernando replied 6 years ago.

If bacterial Vagainosis is ruled out, then the cause for ammonia smell in urine can be due to - underlying urinary tract infection. Infections of the urinary tract are considerably more common in women with over half of all women experiencing at least one urinary tract infection during their lifetime.

Eating these food , can cause ammonia smell urine- proteins, meats, eggs, and the like, as well as a few vegetables like asparagus. Eating lots of these will definitely bring a strong smell of ammonia to your urine.

Also having such smell from long time, you need to get Kidney function test and also liver function test done.

Good luck and take care

Expert:  Valarie replied 6 years ago.

Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer with your question, and welcome.

Your urine being dark and having an odor of ammonia, especially in the morning and after drinking wine the night before is an indication that you are not getting enough fluids.

You might try increasing your fluid intake during the day. The more water (rather than other beverages) the better. Also, when you drink wine, alternate a glass of water with a glass of wine. Or, drink a large glass of water before going to bed. This may cause you to get up during the night to go to the bathroom, but its better than being dehydrated.

If this does not take care of the problem, you should see your doctor for an exam and some tests.

Valarie, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1228
Experience: 36+ yrs exprience medical, surgical, wound/skin care, nutrition, geriatrics, rehab, management
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