Perspiration Smells Like Ammonia
All people smell when they don’t bathe often enough. The interesting thing is that sweat doesn’t smell when it first reaches your skin rather the smell comes only after bacteria or fungi on the skin’s surface break down the fat in sweat to form chemicals that smell. Most sweat glands produce sweat that contains no fat, but the sweat glands around the breasts, genitals and armpits produce sweat that contains fat. Most people prevent body odor by washing these areas frequently to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin’s surface. However, sometimes this alone doesn’t work.
The vast majority of people can prevent body odor by:
1) Bathing frequently, sometimes more than once a day;
2) Changing underwear and socks daily, because underclothes hold all the dead sking and residue that bacteria love;
3) Using deodorants/anti perspirants that contain low levels of bacteria-killing metals such as aluminum, zinc or zirconium; and
4) Using powder under the armpits and groin to keep the skin dry, which prevents bacteria from growing.
If you do all of these things and still have an odor, something is wrong and you should consult a proper physician. The most common cause of unusual body odor is a skin infection. An ammonia odor is caused by infection with Helicobacter, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, or by eating too much protein if your liver can’t break it down fast enough. Ask your physician to draw a blood test for helicobacter. If it is positive, you can be cured with a normal course of antibiotics. If it is negative, you may need to eat less meat, fish, chicken and dairy products to give your liver time to break down the substances. When you take in more protein than your body can use immediately, your body strips ammonia from protein to make you smell like ammonia.
A fishy odor is caused by taking choline supplements, by a hereditary condition called trimethylaminuria that requires avoiding fish and other dietary sources of choline, or by a vaginal infection caused by a bacteria called Gardnerella. People who have damaged livers can also develop body odor that smells like fish. Damage to the liver can destroy the chemical that breaks down choline. When in doubt, check with you doctor!