ZocdocAnswersWhy does my urine smell like ammonia though I have no bacterial infection?

Question

Why does my urine smell like ammonia though I have no bacterial infection?

I thought I had a UTI because my bladder felt irritated and my urine smelled of ammonia. I saw my OB/GYN and urinalysis showed no infection, TWICE. Should I be worried about kidney diseases or other health problems?

Answer

Your urine might smell like ammonia because ammonia is normally found in urine (uninfected urine). The ammonia smell of urine is often not noticed, and thus when you do notice it you can get alarmed. Ammonia is a by-product of protein metabolism and thus, if your diet is higher in protein right now, your urine will smell more like ammonia. Also, urine smells stronger when its more concentrated. If you are dehydrated, then your urine will smell worse. However, it is important to discuss your concern with your doctor. If you are worried that you may have something wrong with your kidneys, there are some really easy tests for that. First, you can make sure that the urine tests you already had done don't show protein in your urine. This can be a sign of kidney disease. The second thing you can do is have your primary care physician or OB/GYN order a basic metabolic panel. This is a blood test that will measure your creatinine level. If your creatinine level is between 0.5 and 1.2, then you likely have no kidney disease. Your doctor can tell you from these tests if your urine shows anything abnormal such as an abnormally high amount of protein. Your doctor will know what to do from there. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.