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It’s not always true that your sweat will have an odor, but sometimes your sweat may have an ammonia-like odor. The reasons could be your diet, exercise, or dehydration. Below we’ll list a few causes why your sweat may smell like ammonia and how to eliminate this problem.

Why does your sweat have an odor?


The food you eat can be one of the main reasons why your sweat smells like ammonia. Eating a diet full of proteins but short on carbs like poultry, meat, eggs, and soy, can make your body produce ammonia that leaves your body through sweat.

Your body needs the energy to work, and for that, it breaks down carbs into glucose. If there’s a shortage of carbohydrates, the body digests protein by converting it into amino acids, producing ammonia. Your body gets rid of this ammonia through sweating and urination, which may have a specific odor.

Solution: Try changing your diet and adding more carbs to your daily meals.

Drinking less water

If your body is short on water, your sweat will smell like ammonia.

Ammonia leaves your body through urine and sweat for which your body needs to be hydrated. Shortage of water means your body will contain concentrated ammonia, and when it’s released, it will leave behind a strong odor.

Solution: Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day, especially on hot days.


Stress may also cause a person to sweat, but this is usually thicker and has high concentrations of lipids and proteins. When this sweat type combines with the bacteria on your skin, it can produce a foul odor.

Solution: Make necessary changes to reduce the level of stress. Try to figure out what makes you stressed out and how you can avoid the occurrences. Indulging in exercise, talking to loved ones, seeking help from a therapist, making up your favorite foods, or asking a co-worker to help manage the workload are some ways to reduce stress.


Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, periods, or menopause can cause different chemical reactions in your body. When a woman reaches menopause, the estrogen levels decrease, causing sweating. If the sweat combines with bacteria on the skin, it can produce bad odor.

Solution: Try to change clothes frequently to keep the skin bacteria-free; that can combine with sweat and cause a smell. Use deodorant to cover up the smell of ammonia, or try antiperspirants.

Other Causes

If you experience too much sweat, the bacteria on your skin can mix with sweat and produce an odor that resembles ammonia.

Some other factors that may cause a person to have a smelly sweat include:

  • Meat consumption
  • Spices and seasonings
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Trichomycosis

See your doctor

No matter what is causing your sweat to smell like ammonia, the primary care physicians at Family Diagnostic Clinic can run necessary tests to diagnose the underlying cause and provide a treatment plan based on your individual needs. Schedule an appointment today with us by calling 281-351-6800.

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