Why Does Your Sweat Smell Like Ammonia?

Does the room fill with a pungent odor after you work out or on an extremely hot day? Well, it might be your sweat causing this issue. Although it is supposed to be odorless, the presence of components like bacteria can produce a distinct whiff. Let’s take a look at why your sweat might smell like ammonia and what you can do to change that.

Reasons Why Sweat Smells Pungent Like Ammonia

There are multiple reasons why this might be happening. Some of the common ones are:

  • Diet: It is common for food to have an effect on your bodily secretions like saliva and sweat. For example if you eat foods that are generally high in protein, your sweat will smell like ammonia. On the other hand, your body produces ammonia after converting proteins into amino acids, releasing it in your sweat making it smell.
  • Exercise: If one regularly engages in a rigorous exercise regime, more ammonia is released in their sweat. However, in such a case, the odor is pungent during exercise and shortly stops after.
  • Dehydration: If you do not keep up with adequate levels of hydration, a more pungent odor of ammonia is found in your sweat. In this situation, there is less water to dilute the ammonia present naturally.
  • Hyperhidrosis: This condition makes one sweat excessively (more than normal) with increased odor due to bacterial activity on the skin.
  • Kidney disease: Your kidneys remove urea from the body and this function is impaired when it is struck with a disease. When the body cannot get rid of the excess urea from there, it is released in your sweat.

5 Ways to Eliminate Ammonia Smell From Your Sweat

Now that you know why your sweat smells pungent like ammonia, let’s discuss ways how we can tackle this situation.

Dietary Adjustments

  1. Adequate Hydration
    You must keep up with adequate levels of water intake. This is perhaps the simplest and most effective way to deal with sweat that smells as bad as ammonia. More water flushes toxins out of the body keeping it cool. Reduction of ammonia concentration in your sweat helps a great deal in dealing with this issue.
  2. Increase Carbohydrates
    Since high-protein diets increase ammonia that comes out through sweat, making it smell pungent, how about combating it with carbs? They are a valuable source of energy, allowing your body to utilize protein better.

    Lifestyle Modifications

  3. Maintain Good Hygiene
    Shower every day using antibacterial soap. Try to focus more on those areas which are more prone to sweating such as armpits. Hair in the armpits increases the chances of accumulating sweat making you smell bad like ammonia. Shaving allows for better sweat evaporation and lessens bacterial growth.
  4. Choose Breathable Clothing
    Always select loose-fitting, breathable clothing of natural fibres like cotton in hot and humid weather. The choice of clothing is crucial since it allows sweat to evaporate more rapidly, reducing bacterial growth and odor.
  5. Use of Deodorants and Antiperspirants
    Both help in odor control. Deodorants mask bad odor with fragrances. On the other hand, antiperspirants temporarily reduce sweating.

Addressing Medical Conditions

There are times when the problem of ammonia-like smell from your sweat stems from a medical condition. If that is the case, lifestyle changes alone cannot do the job. You must consult your doctor and treat the root cause of your problem.

Questions About Why Does Your Sweat Smell Like Ammonia??

Closing Note

Adequate hydration, an increase in carbohydrate use and good hygiene practices can effectively manage the ammonia like smell from your sweat. If you are also suffering from a similar problem, ask for professional help for accurate diagnosis and treatment plans.
If you have more questions, we urge you to contact our expert, Dr. Rajesh Maheshwari, MD, at Main Street Urgent Care for help at (209) 825-5155.


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