Liver Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Smell of ammonia

Dear Sir,

I'm not sure if this is the best forum, but it seems the closest fit.  I'm a 30 year old British guy, 5'11", 175lbs.  At the moment I'm working overseas, and likely to be doing so for at least the next 6 months.

For a few weeks now I've been noticing wafts of what I can only describe as the smell of Ammonia.  I cant be sure where the smell is coming from - it's quite obvious if I breath in really deep through my nose a few times.  I dont think it;s in my sweat as I run 6k three times a week and my running clothes dont smell all, so I'm assuming the smell is either from my breath, or actually in my sinuses.

From research, it would seem that one explanation for ammonua breath would be pretty severe liver trouble.  I last had mine checked just over one year ago, via routine bloods, with the following results:-

HB 162 (132-175)
Plat 265 (150-450)
WBC 8.4 (4.1-10.9)
Neut Gran 6.2 (2-7.5)
Sodium 139 (135-145)
Potasium 4.3 (3.5-4.5)
Urea 3.0 (3.1-5.0)
Creatine 80 (62-115)
Total Protein 76 (60-78)
Albumin 5.0 (3.5-5.0)
Total Bilirubin 12 (2-17)
ALP 61 (45-155)
ALT 34 (10-55)
AST 25 (10-55)
GGT 59 (0-64)

Over the course of the past year I have drank alcohol, probably more than recommended but not to great excess.  Probably 2/3 beers a day through the week and maybe 2 bottles of wine over the course of a weekend (maybe more at Xmas and holidays, less when work is busy).  I'm negative for Hep B/C.

My question is, based around the above, and the fact that I'm otherwise extremely fit and healthy (regular runner, occasional weight training, swimming), is it reasonable that cirrhosis could sneak up on me in a year, and if so would the liver's loss of ability to process ammonia be an early sign, or is this usually encountered with later disease?

Respectfully yours Sir,

3 Responses
517301 tn?1229801385
thankfully the liver tests are entirely normal.  i highly doubt that you have any liver problem whatsoever.  i am unsure what the odor is.  people with chronic liver disease with cirrhosis have a sweet smell called fetor hepaticus. i do not think that is what you have.
Avatar universal
I was so hoping there was an answer here.  I started smelling the same thing a couple of weeks ago.  I eat very healthy too, don't drink, don't smoke and I'm the only one who smells it.   I even smelled ME to make sure it wasn't my sweat or something else I've heard other complain of.  It's not, but I cannot get that ammonia smell out of my nose.

If we can't figure out WHAT it is, has anyone figured out how to mask it or something?  I'm about to go insane, it's strong and awful smelling.
I am generally in good health also. First time I smelled this was after a long walk. Apparently, it is an indication that we are burning protein as fuel for energy possibly due to lack of carbs in our diet. The smell comes from nitrogen, which is a protein component. Now, I smell it even early in the morning. Soo annoying
12458039 tn?1425393261
Hi, have you by any chance figured out what the problem was? I'm suffering of the same annoying bleach/ammonia smell in my nose. Reading about liver/kidney failure and brain tumors on google.. doesn't exactly help... Please tell me you figured it out.
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