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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What could cause my stool to smell very strongly of ammonia?

    I am a 47 yr female. For the past 14 months I have had excessive gas, chest pain, constipation and weight loss. I have been diagnosed by a Gastroenterologist as having IBS brought on by a H.Pylori infection (since treated). He has never heard of ammonia smelling stool and has no answer as to it's cause. I have had a breath test for Small Bowel Bacteria and the test was negative.
    Thank you.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 280


    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    This really is a bit of a puzzle. Irritable Bowel Syndrome should not lead to an ammonia smelling stool. Chest Pain, excessive gas and constipation can be explained by IBS. Have you managed to control or eradicate any of these symptoms?

    There are few possibilities for such ammonia like smell of stool. It should not be ignored and you should be evaluated by doctor.

    The common causes are-
    1. Bacterial overgrowth in intestines.
    2. Chronic kidney disease.
    3. Liver related disease.

    The most common cause is bacterial infection in stool.
    You should add more fibre to your diet, and increase your intake of fluids. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. Avoid fast food and beverages. You can evaluate if the smell goes away. Avoid chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. .Avoid beans, cabbage, and carbonated beverages.

    If dietary changes don’t help, then you should see your doctor who will do a stool test, blood tests and clinically examine you to find the cause.

  • 215


    Lyn Christian


    As a Naturopath and Nutritionist I am passionate about the promotion of health using functional foods to correct nutrient imbalances.All health conditions need to be … View Profile

    I agree with Arlene that IBS doesn’t usually cause ammonia-smelling stools.
    Ammonia is usually produced in the gastrointestinal tract from the breakdown of proteins (amines, amino acids, purines and urea). Incomplete digestion of food can lead to putrefaction in the gut which causes ammonia-smelling stools. If you are not absorbing nutrients then your immunity will be compromised. This malabsorption may explain the weight loss.
    Triple therapy antibiotics for the H.Pylori infection will have dramatically altered your gut flora. Taking a high strength multi-strained  Probiotic is crucial in restoring your healthy gut flora and may eradicate the ammonia smell.
     Ask your GP to check for Coeliac Disease and fructose/lactose malabsorption.

  • 141


    Margaret Collins

    HealthShare Member

    I don't see a date for your post, so I  am not sure how old this is ...


    I was just last week told by my doctor that my recent blood test showed liver disease, and now I am currently waiting on results for extended blood tests ...

    I just recalled having had an ammonia 'episode' last September ... very strong, very obvious, and from the stool ...  I had been taking a Lysine supplement for about 10 days, trying it out for it's anti-inflammatory effect, but I stopped everything with the ammonia ..

    I have since read that lysine CAN cause liver damage and elevated cholestrol, so I am wondering now whether this was the cause of the ammonia ... I haven't had a chance to check this with my doctor yet.


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