Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

"ammonia" type smell when breathing....

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • April 12, 2007
  • 11:06 PM

Sometimes ( there is no rhyme or reason to it ) I get a strong "ammonia" type smell when I breathe in....I can rule out household cleaners as a cause- I do not have any pets- and I do not work out or sweat excessively. I'm thinking it's time to see the doctor, but I admit I am hesitant. I'm always afraid of that "look" you get when you describe your problem and they look at you like your either crazy or your someone who is looking for attention and/or overreacting.. I may just ask him to do a mini physical on me and ask to have blood work done since it has been over a year since I have had any bloodwork. Is a "standard" bloodwork order good enough or can I/should I suggest some things I would like checked?? Any doctors out there let me know your opinions. I hate to think the worst with everything and I don't want to overreact, but I think I should go get a check up to be on the safe side. I go on the internet often and I psych myself into a panic. I have a family history of diabetes, kidney & liver issues so should I suggest some other test rather than your standard bloodwork? Any help from anyone would really be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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4 Replies:

  • may be worth getting kidneys checked out.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have also had this symptom, but only when crying very hard (due to other pain syndrome I have). A friend who is a medical laboratory scientist said that certain bacterial infections can have an ammonia type smell to them. They are the type of bacteria that grow within a liquid system - not oxygenated...sorry can't come up with the technical word for it... OOOH! I think it might be called "anerobic"? He said that certain bacteria can excrete a substance with a strong odor of ammonia, and there was testing that could be done to track it down. First, he said that a sterile swab or tissue sample was imperative, and that it needed to be done at the doctor's office. The laboratory then does a culture sensitivity to isolate any bacteria. They follow up by growing the sample in a specific medium to breakdown and identify the type of bacteria involved. This gives the doctor a target for the proper medication. It could be a deep seated sinus infection or other bacterial infection. Mine is from deep within the sinus where the sinus gets cut off from air (due to inflammation) and the bacteria grow producing the ammonia as a by-product. When I cry hard it opens the sinus and allows the flow of the mucus carrying the bacteria and the smell of ammonia is strong. Basically you might be smelling the "pee" of the bacteria. YUCK! I know, but it's worth checking out! It may require heavy antibiotics to get it under control.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • The breath may have an ammonia-like odor (also described as urine-like or "fishy") in people with chronic kidney/renal failure.That's what google came up with.. sounds like it'd be a good idea to get it checked out.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thank you both for your imput and information....it's time to call the Dr. I guess. Thanks again
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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