Ammonia Smelling Urine in Children

Ammonia smelling urine in children can be caused due to various reasons. One of the most common cause in children is dehydration, which in turn can be caused due to various reasons.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Healthy urine is clear to straw yellow in color and normally does not have a odor. Some of the common complaints, that one hears is cloudy, strong and/or foul-smelling urine. If cloudy urine is noticed, while urinating in the morning on waking up, then there isn't a reason to be worried about. It is often caused, as fluids were not consumed for few hours prior to urination. However, if the urine has persistent foul smell, often smells like ammonia and also the color is not clear, then the causes for foul-smelling urine will have to be looked up. Urine smelling of ammonia in children is not as uncommon as one would like to believe it to be, as there are a number of parents complaint about the same.
Causes of Ammonia Smelling Urine in Children
If the change in color of urine or the odor is temporary, then there is nothing to be really worried about. However, if it is a regular phenomena, then you will not want to neglect the condition. Having said that we will now find out why urine smells like ammonia.
When the child is dehydrated, his urine is bound to be concentrated, which leads to strong ammonia odor. If the odor is noticed, when you walk in to your child's nursery in the morning, then dehydration can be the primary cause. It is possible, that the child did not drink sufficient quantity of water before going to bed, which has caused the urine to be concentrated and ammonia smelling. You will have to keep a watch on the child and see if subsequent urination also emit strong ammonia odor. Also keep a watch on the color of the urine. Darker the color of the urine, more dehydrated the child is.
Diet of the child also has a role to play in urine smelling of ammonia. If the diet is high in protein, higher quantity of ammonia is produced, which is then excreted through urine. If a change has been made to the diet, then you may want to reconsider the change.
Urine can smell of ammonia due to certain types of drugs. There are a number of drugs, which can be responsible for the problem. You may want to talk to your child's pediatrician to know, if the drugs, that the child is on, can cause urine that smells like ammonia.
Bacterial Infection
When there is a growth of bacteria in the digestive system, a large quantities of ammonia is released, which gets excreted through the urine. Many a time a bacterial infection can cause urinary tract infection, bladder infection or kidney infection.
Maple Sugar Urine Disease
This is a genetic disease, due to which the body finds it difficult to break certain types of amino acids. This leads to releasing of ammonia into the urine. This can be a hereditary problem as well. In most cases, the child is examined for the same at birth itself.
Consumption of foods that are rich in nitrogen themselves can lead to excess ammonia in the system. Asparagus is one such culprit. The other rich sources of ammonia are soybean, casein, natural cheese, meat, eggs, etc. Therefore, you will have to keep a watch on the child's diet to check, does the problem aggravate after consumption of these foods or does the problem arise only after consumption of these foods.
Children under the age of 16 may suffer from type 1 diabetes, which is also known as juvenile diabetes. You will also have to be on the look to check, if your child urinates frequently, which is one of the other symptoms of diabetes. Urine can have ammonia smell due to increase in the levels of blood glucose, which gets eliminated through the urine.
The first measure you will have to take is to ensure that the child is not dehydrated. Reducing nitrogen rich foods from the diet, may also help in curbing the problem. However, if the problem persists, then it is advisable to consult a pediatrician, to find out the cause of the problem. Only once the cause has been ascertained, will the line of treatment be decided upon.