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Wellness Center

Strong Odor in Urine

01/21/2011

Question:

I am 73 years old and about a month ago I noticed a strong ammonia odor in my urine. My bladder has dropped and I wonder if that has anything to do with the odor. Also I drink 2 cans regular Pepsi every day and very little water. As of yesterday I am not drinking any Pepsi and more water. Hopefully this will make a difference. I am also concerned this odor may be sign of a liver problem or diabetes. I had my urine checked May, 2010 and no noticeable problem.

Answer:

There are a number of reasons why you might develop an ammonia odor to your urine. Perhaps the most common reason is due to not drinking enough water and becoming dehydrated. Ideally, you should be drinking at least 8 cups of water each day -- enough water so that your urine is clear and not yellow. 

Another possible reason for an ammonia odor is bacteria in the urine. If, after increasing your water intake, you still have the odor, it would be wise to see your family physician to have a repeat urine test, and if normal, blood work to assess your liver and kidney function.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University