Ammonia Smelling Discharge: Causes, Meaning in Early Pregnancy & Treatment

Not all vaginal discharges are known to have strong odors. But, there are certain changes that may start taking place in your body and end up causing an ammonia smelling vaginal fluid.

This can happen after period and in early pregnancy and can be very embarrassing. It is easy for people to think you smell urine when the problem is entirely something else.

The first step to getting rid of the fould urine-like odor is to identify the causes and fix them.

So, what are the causes the strong ammonia’s pungent smell in vaginal discharge.

What causes ammonia smelling vaginal discharge during pregnancy
What causes ammonia smelling vaginal discharge during pregnancy?
  • In mose cases, the reason is just something going on with your bodily changes, such as menopause, periods, and the methods used in cleaning undergarments.

Some of the symptoms that are associated with this condition include: strong smelling vaginal odor, a whitish and clumpy discharge, vaginal itchiness and dryness, and a greenish or brownish discharge between your periods.

What does it mean?

What is the meaning of a vaginal discharge with an ammonia odor? As many health professionals will inform you, the vagina is one of the most acidic parts of the body. As such, the odor may probably have been caused by the concentration of urine drops on your underwear.

It is therefore recommended that you consider using a panty-liner with your underwear—preferably a panty liner that is scentless.

Additionally, stay away from the normal toilet soap, instead opting for the non-scented wipes. You should keep in mind that soaping your vagina on a regular basis has been known to remove the good bacteria, and this may lead to a vaginal infection.


An ammonia smelling discharge mainly occurs when there is a bacterial imbalance in the vaginal region. The bacterial imbalance then leads to the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis. Additional factors that have been known to cause this discomfort include:

  1. Taking a diet that is rich in nitrogen
  2. Concentrated urine
  3. Excessive sweating in the bikini area.

Traditionally, the vagina is known to house a number of good bacteria, whose main role is to ensure that there is an acidic pH in the vagina. This pH helps prevent the onset of various vaginal disorders e.g. infections.

However, when this pH balance gets disturbed, it leads to the creation of an infection prone zone. In some cases, you will find that the infection is accompanied by a foul odor.

For many women, this foul vaginal discharge tends to be very disconcerting. This then leads to the onset of embarrassment, especially when in public places because many people tend to quickly link the ammonia odor from the bikini area with poor hygiene practices.

It is, however, important to remember that poor hygiene is not always the cause of the foul ammonia odor. Here are the major causes you should look out for:

1. Bacterial vaginosis

It is one of the leading causes that plague the female reproductive system. In case you notice that your discharge is watery, gray or white and comes with a fish-like smell, then there are chances that you could have contracted this infection.

Apart from the fish odor, bacterial vaginosis can also be accompanied by:

Until now, the primary cause of bacterial vaginosis is yet to be determined. However, many doctors believe that the condition comes about when there is a bacterial imbalance in the vagina. The good bacteria in the vaginal region should always outnumber bad bacteria.

When this bad bacterium takes over, it converts nitrogen into various ammonia compounds, and this is what causes this foul ammonia smelling in your discharge.

You should note that you cannot get the condition from engaging in sexual intercourse, from using a public swimming pool or a public restroom. But, it is possible for you to get bacterial vaginosis from engaging in sex with a new partner.

Here’s how you can prevent contracting bacterial vaginosis:

  1. Avoid engaging in sexual intercourse with various partners
  2. Do not engage in unprotected sexual intercourse
  3. Stay away from the intrauterine devices
  4. Do not smoke
  5. Do not use perfumed soaps or vaginal deodorants
  6. Avoid douching your vagina

2. Some foods

Do you know that your dietary constituents may also cause the appearance of the foul ammonia smell? Well, it is a proven fact! The foods you eat could be the reason why you are experiencing a foul odor down there.

Many people mistake the odor to be coming from the vaginal discharge, but in actual fact, you will find that it is brought about by the foul odor in the urine—as it contains lots of urea and ammonia, which then ends up trickling to your undergarments.

Foods that have been known to contain lots of nitrogen and may cause an ammonia-like smell in your discharge include:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs, meat, and other high-protein foods are also known to come with large amounts of nitrogen, which then leads to the excretion of excess urea and ammonia.

3. Menopause

As a woman, when you enter your menopause phase, your body will start to experience a number of changes. During this phase, your ovaries will cease producing the progesterone and estrogen hormones. Some of the symptoms that you are likely to experience during the menopause phase are:

  1. Urinary leakage
  2. Mood swings
  3. Hot flashes
  4. Ammonia-like discharge

The main cause of this odor during the menopause phase is primarily due to the fact that many women do not take in enough water.

Failure to consume enough water then causes the formation of highly concentrated urine, leading to the pungent odor.

4. Pregnancy

What causes a urine-like smell during pregnancy? There are lots of women who start complaining about a foul ammonia smelling vaginal discharge when they are in various stages of pregnancy. When pregnant, this discharge may be brought about by bacterial vaginosis or the presence of concentrated urine.

In the case of bacterial vaginosis, the woman needs to make sure that it gets treated, as it may lead to the emergence of various pregnancy-related complications that may include:

  1. A preterm delivery
  2. Birth defects
  3. An ectopic pregnancy
  4. Low weight issues during birth

5. Excessive sweating

Sweating occurs mostly in the armpits, but it is a natural phenomenon to sweat in your private areas. So how does excessive sweating in the bikini area cause an unpleasant urine odor?

According to WebMD, your vulva is made up of several sweat glands, and as well all know, any part of the body that has sweat glands is likely to have an unpleasant odor coming from it. The reason for this being that the waste products from the body get excreted through sweating.

6. Using bleach to wash your panties

Many women assume that using bleach to rinse their panties is a great idea, but in reality it is not. The use of bleach when washing or rinsing the panties may lead to the emergence of the foul ammonia smell. Given that your genital areas contain sweat, it means that you are bound to sweat every once in a while.

Once this sweat starts combining with the bleach in your underwear, it will lead to the formation of the ammonia smell. In many cases, women assume that the smell is coming from their vaginas, while it is, in fact, coming from their underwear’s.

In early pregnancy

Even though it is not something that many people would like to think about, it is a proven fact that many women will experience a slight amount of discharge during the first few weeks of pregnancy. The increased levels of hormones in the body will encourage an increase in vaginal secretions after conception has occurred. This may be the first symptom that you notice.

In many cases, the discharge is watery, though there are instances where you could notice an ammonia smelling discharge that could range in colors from white to golden. In case you notice pink or red discharge, this is most likely going to be blood that has been caused by implantation bleeding, and in some cases it could be spotting during pregnancy.

  • In the case of women who normally experience regular vaginal discharge, they are likely to note an increase in the amounts of the vaginal discharge.
  • Normally, this discharge tends to have a mild smell and is milky in nature.
  • If you come across a vaginal discharge with a bad smell e.g. the ammonia or fish smelling discharge, or vaginal discharge that is greenish, yellow, thick, cloudy or frothy, ensure that you visit your physician, as this could be a sign that you have a vaginal infection.

Additional red flags that you need to be on the lookout for, particularly when pregnant are:

  • Soreness
  • Itching
  • Vaginal pain

After period

In most cases, a woman will experience a vaginal discharge within two weeks after she has had her period. For cases where the odor is neutral, there is usually no cause for alarm.

But, for the smelly discharge lasting for more than a week or two, it is recommended you seek immediate medical help to determine what is causing the problem. So why does it occur after periods?

Why do i have an ammonia smelling discharge
Causes – in summary.

Women experiencing an ammonia smelling discharge after their periods will normally have a discharge that is grayish in color.

Often, the discharge is grey, but there are instances when it can be whitish. Bacterial vaginosis is the primary cause of this type of excretion.

If the excretion is accompanied by a burning sensation in the vaginal area, then it may have been caused by chlamydia infection. In the case of chlamydia, there is a need to seek medical help, as earlier detection ensures that measures are taken to ensure that you don’t become infertile.

It is a proven fact that a smelly vaginal discharge can cause a lot of discomfort and embarrassment if you are affected. When you find that you are experiencing this kind of discharge:

  • Start looking for a viable treatment option
  • In some cases, you may wait it out to see whether the odor will disappear on its own

Often, the discharge together with the odor will go away on its own, though there are cases that are accompanied by complications. Severe cases that are neglected may lead to the emergence of long-term complications that may include infertility and other severe cases such as ectopic pregnancies.

Today, specialists have been able to group the causes of ammonia discharge after period into two main categories:

Poor personal hygiene

Bad bathing habits have been seen to contribute to the development of this condition. Doctors have been referring to it as a matter of cleanliness, and not necessarily biology. Women who take regular baths, and who make use of high-quality soaps and non-scented products are not often bothered by this condition.

Sexual activity

It is a cause that is yet to be proven. But, there is a general thought among many medical professionals that women who are sexually active are likely to be affected by this symptom. This has been attributed to infections and the presence of bacteria in the women’s vaginal regions.

How to prevent vaginal odors after menstruation

If you have dealt with smelly vaginal discharges after your periods in the past, you will find these preventive tips handy. They include:

  1. Bath on a regular basis, and ensure that your trim your pubic hairs regularly. Vaginal douching as mentioned earlier may also lead to the development of these smells. As such, you should ensure that you do not overdo it. Additionally, consider using non-irritating products
  2. For your own safety, ensure you change your tampons and pads regularly as well
  3. If suffering from any type of vaginal infection, make sure to stay away from tight pants and underwear. Wearing clothes that are not tight will make it possible for your vagina to breathe more freely, thus preventing vaginal irritation
  4. Cotton panties are the best for your everyday use, as they make it impossible for infections to be spread
  5. After intercourse, make sure to urinate, as this will allow the elimination of the bad bacteria present in and around the vaginal region. Failure to eliminate this bad bacterium means that it may start to move up your bladder, and it could lead to the development of vaginal infections, as well as tiny microbes, which may lead to further complications.

Treatment and remedies

The following are effective home remedies that you can use to treat ammonia smell in the vagina. They are extremely easy to use, and most of them can be found in many homes.

1. White vinegar

White vinegar is a natural odor remover that comes in handy in dispelling the proteins that cause the vaginal odor.

  • All you need to do is take approximately 100g of salt, and 150ml of white vinegar and combine them in your bath water.

It assists in the restoration of your vaginal pH levels, thereby limiting the development of the female odor-causing bacteria.

Alternatively, you can also use apple cider vinegar in place of white vinegar. It works in the same way as the white vinegar as it assists in counteracting the unpleasant ammonia odor, thanks to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. To assist you in balancing the acidity of your vagina, consider using the apple cider vinegar at least two times a day when bathing.

2. Garlic remedy

This is a natural antibiotic, which has for many years been used in treating smelly vaginal discharges, as well as in curing vaginal infections. To use garlic, you can use it in your dishes, or choose to consume raw garlic each day.

3. Baking powder

This is a common ingredient in many houses, and which comes in handy for women who are looking to treat ammonia smelly vaginal discharge. Here’s how to use garlic to get rid of the ammonia smell in vaginal discharge.

  1. Combine 15g of this powder in a single cup of hot water. You will need to drink this solution on a daily basis
  2. Alternatively, take 150g of baking powder and place it in your bath water. Proceed to soak your body in the bath water for about twenty minutes, before wiping your body using a soft towel

Apart from being an effective deodorizer, baking powder is also highly effective in dealing with inflammation in your body.

4. Natural yogurt

Struggling to find an effective home remedy for dealing with a smelly vaginal discharge? Consider eating more natural yogurt. Many women are yet to learn of the real efficacy of this delicacy. For it to work, you have to choose yogurt that is not flavored, and which needs to be organic.

Non-sugary and non-flavored yogurt helps in restoring the pH levels of your vagina while getting rid of the foul smelling discharge that is obviously bothering you.

When to see your doctor

Apart from the home remedies discussed above, you will find that there are women who turn to antifungals and antibiotics in the event that their smelly discharges have been caused by serious vaginal infections.

For such meds, one will need to get a prescription from a physician, as self-medicating may lead to the emergence of more serious complications.