Before you panic, take a breath. Ammonia smelling discharge does not mean that you are turning into a cleaning product or are about to die from some mysterious illness. There are many potential reasons why you could have a vagina that smells like ammonia, and most of the causes are fairly easy to treat. One of the most common causes of an ammonia-like scent is bacterial vaginosis. Other potential causes include a nitrogen-rich diet, concentrated urine and excessive sweating.
Normally, your vagina is home to a blend of good and bad bacteria. As long as your body has the right pH level, these bacteria maintain a healthy balance and your vagina remains healthy. When your pH level is off, then some bacteria can begin to grow rapidly. This can also make an infection more likely to happen. When you do have an infection, you may notice an ammonia-like smell from your vagina. While you may feel embarrassed, this is actually quite normal. Your smelly discharge is not caused by bad hygiene. Your diet, pH balance, hormonal levels and other factors are more likely causes of this unusual scent.
Bacterial Vaginosis and a Vagina That Smells Like Ammonia
One of the most common reasons for a foul vaginal odor is bacterial vaginosis. This condition happens when certain bacterial become overgrown in the vagina. It can cause your discharge to look watery and gray or white. It can also cause itching, burning, pain and a fishy smell. This is happens whenever the bad bacteria in your vagina outnumber the good bacteria. It is not from a swimming pool, sex or a public toilet, although it is more common after you have a new sexual partner or multiple partners.
To prevent bacterial vaginosis from happening, avoid having unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners. Avoid douching or using vaginal deodorants or perfumes. In some cases, bacterial vaginosis will clear up on its own when your vagina’s pH level returns to normal. If it does not, there are antibiotics that can treat it. Wearing a pad or panty liner during the day can help reduce the ammonia-like odor that it causes. This condition is also common during pregnant, but pregnant women should make sure to get treatment for it since it may lead to complications.
During menopause, your body goes through a series of hormonal changes. Your ovaries are normally responsible for creating progesterone and estrogen. During menopause, they stop performing this function. Common menopausal symptoms include urinary leakage, hot flashes and mood swings. An ammonia-like odor is also another possible symptom.
If you do not drink enough water, it can also cause your urine to become extremely concentrated. This can cause your urine to smell like ammonia, and your ammonia scent may be from your urine and not your vaginal discharge. Bacteria can turn chemicals that are present in the urine naturally into an ammonia-like scent. A urinary tract infection can also cause a similar odor.
A nitrogen-rich diet can cause a foul odor. If you suddenly switch to a vegetarian diet, it can cause the scent of your discharge to change. Nitrogen-rich foods include asparagus, broccoli and similar vegetables. Oxalates in asparagus can give your urine a fishy odor. In addition, high-protein foods like eggs and meat have a lot of nitrogen that can cause extra ammonia to be excreted in your urine. Eating a lot of meat or vegetables can all cause your urine to change scent. In addition, some of the ammonia-scent can be excreted in your sweat, and you do have sweat glands in your genital area.
If diet is the cause of your ammonia scent, then try to remove an item from your diet and see if it changes your scent. You still need to consume protein and vegetables though, so make sure that you do not make changes that are too drastic. If the changed scent is due to bacteria growth, adding yogurt to your diet may also help.
Pregnancy is another time when your body goes through frequent hormonal changes. Women often develop conditions like bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections during pregnancy. These can cause an ammonia-like scent. While your body may be able to handle the infection on its own, it is important for you to go to the doctor. An infection during your pregnancy can cause complications, so you need to make sure that you are treated for the condition by your doctor before it can cause any problems.
There are sweat glands located around your vagina that function like the ones in your armpits or feet. It is completely natural to sweat in this area, but your sweat can sometimes cause unusual odors. If you are wearing tight clothes or underwear, it can cause you to sweat more than normal. The bacteria can grow in this region since the tight clothes prevent the skin from dying all the way. If sweat is the problem, try wearing looser clothing and make sure to shower regularly. Wearing a panty liner can also help absorb the sweat and prevent bacteria from feeding on it.
Bleaching your underwear may make them look cleaner, but it is not doing your body any favors. When bleach combines with sweat from your genital area, it can cause an ammonia-like scent to form. Since it is in the same region, you may think that this scent is coming from your vaginal discharge. In reality, it could be forming due to your bleached panties and sweat. The easiest way to solve this problem is to switch to a milder liquid detergent and skip out on the bleach.
When you do not drink enough water, your urine becomes more concentrated. This can cause ammonia, bacteria and other chemicals to be in a higher concentration than normal. As a result, your urine has an ammonia-like scent. Sexually transmitted diseases can also cause your urine to have an unusual scent. In addition, failing to empty your bladder completely can cause ammonia to generate within the residual urine. Drinking plenty of water and making sure to empty your bladder completely can help solve these problems. If you have a sexually transmitted disease, seek treatment and the scent should go away.