Have you noticed that your sweat smells like ammonia? Sometimes, changes in the way your sweat smells can signal changes in your body. If you notice a change in the odor of your sweat, it could be a symptom of a potential health condition.
This article will explore why your body sweats and what it means for your sweat to smell like ammonia. Next, we will talk about the treatment options available for this condition.
Why Do We Sweat?
Your body naturally produces sweat to cool itself down when it is too hot. It also serves to moisturize the skin. Produced by sweat glands that open up at the skin’s surface, sweat is primarily water and salt (sodium chloride) and contains small amounts of minerals such as potassium and calcium. Critically, however, sweat also contains small amounts of urea and ammonia. Consequently, you might sometimes find that your sweat smells like ammonia.
There are sweat glands all over your body that produce the majority of your sweat; it is, however, odorless on its own. Special sweat glands called apocrine glands, present on areas including the face, underarms, and chest, release sweat rich in fats and sugars. The bacteria on your skin feed on these nutrients and produce substances that can cause your sweat to smell.
It is normal for a certain amount of ammonia to be present in your sweat. This is because it is a byproduct of amino acid production from protein in your diet. However, ammonia can have a pungent odor that may concern you. This is especially if it’s only recently that you have noticed the smell.
Why Your Sweat Smells Like Ammonia
Your sweat can smell like ammonia for several reasons, such as the following:
- Exercise. Research suggests an increased amount of ammonia in sweat in individuals who engage in intense exercise. However, you might find that the odor is most pungent during exercise or shortly after you stop exercising.
- Diet. People with high protein diets may find that their sweat smells more strongly of ammonia. As mentioned earlier, the body produces ammonia in the process of converting proteins into amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles and tissues. Your body releases this ammonia in your sweat, which can cause it to smell.
- Hydration. If you are dehydrated, you might notice a more pungent odor of ammonia in your sweat, as there is less water to dilute the naturally present ammonia.
- Hyperhidrosis. Some people may have this condition, causing them to sweat excessively. This sweat can smell due to increased bacterial activity on the skin.
- Kidney disease. One of the kidneys’ functions is to remove urea from the body. This ability is impaired by kidney disease, which many factors may cause. The body tries to get rid of the excess urea by releasing it in your sweat. Naturally, this can produce an odor.
Treatment and Conclusion
A qualified dermatologist can help you treat sweat that smells like ammonia. However, you can try implementing changes to your diet, such as consuming more carbohydrates and tracking and eliminating the foods causing your sweat to smell more. Drinking more water and staying hydrated is also effective at making sweat less odorous. If you still notice a smell, though, it’s best to contact a dermatologist who can help. Several treatments, such as microwave thermolysis and prescription-strength antiperspirants, can make life easier.
This post is brought to you by Care Dermatology. We’re proud to offer the best dermatology in Florida, and our experts are always here to help you with your skin concerns. If you have any questions, please call one of our offices, and we’ll be happy to help.