Ammonia Smell in Nose

The smell of ammonia in the nose is caused to various reasons. . phantosmia, parosmia, sinusitis and certain liver and kidney diseases.. The formation of ammonia is due to hydrogen and nitrogen known as NH3. This means one atom of nitrogen and three atoms of hydrogen; this makes ammonia a weak asset or base which gives the bad smell.

The main cause of creation of ammonia is urine and sweat. A normal person goes to urinate for four to seven times a day. A person peeing lesser than three times a day must drink plenty of water for normal and clean urination. Amino acids in body are used as energy for the body and if this amino acid is not converted to energy then it will emit an ammonia-like smell.

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There may be various reasons for ammonia smell in nose. On a broad-based level, these are the causes-


Some people sweat excessively although the sweat itself does not have any smell on its own. It is only when perspiration sweat reacts with the bacteria in the body, it gives an unpleasant odor.. To combat such type of smell, hygiene should be maintained by taking daily bath, changing undergarments with fresh ones and wearing loose and cotton clothes. Change of eating habits such as avoiding fatty and junk food can curb the ammonia smell. In spite of all such precautions if you get an ammonia smell in your nose, you may need to take medical advice.


Sinusitis is mostly caused due to common cold, allergic rhinitis or shifting of nasal cavity. It may be also caused due to running nose or shifted nose. If inflammation continues for more than four weeks to eight weeks, then it is called as chronic sinusitis. If this persists for several occasions in a year, then it is known as recurrent sinusitis.

The treatment of sinusitis can be done through steam inhalation. Sudafed is a decongestant that can treat nasal and sinus problems. Another way to cure it is by nasal drop and spray. This are usually prescribe for 14 days. The doctors may also prescribe antibiotics. The pain around the nose can be cured by a warm compressor.

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Some people imagine bad or unpleasant odors, giving rise to a phenomenon called phantom smells. These patients smell odor unusually and reject the taste of food and meals based on this perception. The phenomenon can occur in both the nostrils where as some may experience with single nostril. This does not remain with the person for pretty long time and vanishes on the passage of time. So, treatment is not really warranted. But if it is prolonged for a long time, then some treatments can be taken. The treatment can be done by washing the nostril passage by saline solution. This blocks the smell signals to go to brain. Nasal spray can be used as another treatment. Anesthetics can also be used to numb the nerves of nostrils. Steroid spray can also be taken. Anticonvulsants and sedatives may help some of the patients.


When the brain cannot decide the good or bad smell then it is called parosmia. This is also called as Troposmia. The patients suffering, associates any eatable with burning chemical or ammonic smell. The parosmia is caused due to epilepsy, Parkinson disease or by head trauma or by infection in upper respiratory tract.

However there is no such cure for this. But chronic patients suffering from this may be prescribed levo-dopamine.

Liver diseases

If there is a liver problem, it can manifest in the form of ammonia smell in the nose. Such patients with liver disorder have symptoms such as itchiness, dark colored urine, nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms are long time tiredness, pain associated with swelling in abdomen region, yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice), pale colored stool, decreased appetite and swollen legs and ankles.

In extreme cases, liver transplant can be done. But it is important to make changes in the lifestyle. Excessive consumption of alcohol should be reduced and healthy practices for weight loss should be undertaken.

Kidney diseases

Kidney plays an important role to regulate the blood pressure. Many kidney diseases cause nausea, vomiting tendency, swollen ankles, insomnia, ammonia smell and shortness of breath. The proper treatment should be done to cure kidney diseases lest it can cause kidney failure.

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