What Causes Stool Smells Like Ammonia

What Causes Stool Smells Like Ammonia

The presence of ammonia-smelling stool can be surprising and concerning for individuals experiencing it. This unusual odor may be caused by a variety of factors, such as bacterial infection in stool, incomplete digestion of food, and certain health conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

However, many medical practitioners are not well-versed in this topic, leading to a lack of knowledge surrounding its causes and potential treatments.

It is essential to understand the possible factors contributing to ammonia-smelling stool and to seek medical evaluation when necessary, as it could have potentially significant impacts on an individual’s overall health and wellbeing.

Bacterial infection in stool

Bacterial infection in stool is a common cause for ammonia-like smell. When harmful bacteria invade the gastrointestinal tract, they can disrupt the normal digestion process and produce ammonia as a byproduct. This unpleasant smell in stool can be an indication of bacterial overgrowth or infection, which needs to be addressed promptly. Increasing fiber intake and fluids, while avoiding unhealthy foods, can help alleviate the symptoms and combat the infection. You should add more fiber to your diet and increase your intake of fluids. Eat fresh fruits vegetables and salads. Avoid fast food and beverages.

Incomplete digestion of food

Incomplete digestion of food is another cause of ammonia-smelling stools. This occurs when the body fails to break down proteins, amines, amino acids, purines, and urea, leading to putrefaction in the gut. In turn, this condition causes the release of ammonia in the stool and disrupts natural nutrient absorption. As a consequence, malabsorption may compromise the immune system and lead to weight loss. It is essential to address this issue through proper diet and medical evaluation to restore optimal gut health.

Information verified by the iythealth.com team.


Malabsorption is a condition in which the small intestine cannot properly digest and absorb nutrients from consumed food. This can lead to various issues such as diarrhea, weight loss, and bulky, foul-smelling stools. There are several potential causes for malabsorption, including disorders that affect digestion, insufficient production of digestive enzymes, and damage to the intestinal lining. Seeking proper medical evaluation and implementing dietary changes, such as increasing fiber intake and consuming probiotics, can help improve this condition.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome’s (IBS) connection to ammonia smelling stools

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that often results in chronic abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation. It’s important to note that while IBS does not directly cause ammonia-smelling stools, it may contribute to an imbalance in the digestive process. Iincomplete digestion of food can lead to the production of ammonia in the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, IBS can exacerbate a weakened immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off bacterial infections that may also cause ammonia-smelling stools. Therefore, it is crucial to manage IBS symptoms effectively and maintain a healthy gut flora through appropriate dietary changes and probiotic use.

Lack of knowledge among medical practitioners

Despite being a common issue, the presence of ammonia-smelling stools is often overlooked or misunderstood among medical practitioners. This lack of knowledge may lead to misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment for patients experiencing this issue. Increasing awareness about ammonia-smelling stools and their possible causes will help healthcare professionals make better assessments and develop effective treatment plans for their patients. This is crucial in improving patient outcomes and overall health.

Impact of malabsorption on immunity

Malabsorption can greatly impact an individual’s immune system, leading to compromised health. In particular:

  • Nutrient deficiencies may arise due to inadequate absorption of essential nutrients, making it more challenging for the immune system to function optimally.
  • The weight loss associated with malabsorption can further weaken the immune system, as the body may not have the necessary resources to fight off infections.
  • As noted in a study on diarrhea and malabsorption, “If you are not absorbing nutrients, then your immunity will be compromised”.

Addressing malabsorption issues through dietary changes, probiotics, and medical evaluation can help improve immune function and overall health.

Increased risk of neoplastic growth in colon

An increase in fecal ammonia has been observed in patients with adenomatous polyps and colon cancer, indicating a potential link between ammonia levels and neoplastic growth in the colon. High intakes of protein can lead to higher incidences of human colonic cancer, as protein and peptide degradation by bacteria in the large bowel generates significant amounts of ammonia. This highlights the need for further research to understand the role of ammonia in the development of colon cancer and the importance of maintaining a balanced diet to reduce the risk of neoplastic growth.

What You Can Do?

Dietary changes

Dietary changes play a significant role in addressing the issue of stools smelling like ammonia. A well-balanced diet rich in fiber and fluids can help improve digestion and support a healthy gut environment. Incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads while avoiding fast foods, fatty foods, and certain beverages can significantly impact stool odor. You should add more fiber to your diet and increase your intake of fluids. Eat fresh fruits vegetables and salads. Avoid fast food and beverages. These dietary modifications can contribute to reducing ammonia-like smell in stools and promote overall gut health.

Probiotic use

The use of probiotics has been proven to be effective in managing ammonia-smelling stools. As per a study, taking a high strength, multi-strained probiotic is crucial in restoring healthy gut flora, which may help eradicate the ammonia smell. Probiotics can assist in balancing the gut microbiota, thus aiding in the management of malodors caused by bacteria-derived products, which are the most common reason for an unpleasant smell. Including probiotics in one’s diet can be a natural way to improve digestive health and reduce ammonia odors.

Visit your doctor

If the changes in the diet don’t help reduce the odor, it’s essential to see a doctor and have a stool test, blood test, and a clinical examination to determine the underlying condition. Therefore, people who experience persistent ammonia-like smells in their stool should be evaluated by a doctor to identify any underlying health problems and receive medical attention if necessary.

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