Strong Ammonia-like smell only in last few drops of urine spicy food

Patient

Q: Hello -

A couple of years ago I started eating spicy food - very spicy food. At times I would add a spoonful of chili powder to my food. Over the months I started noticing a strong burning sensation while peeing right after eating the spicy food. This burning sensation would last tempararily and would go away until I ate hot and spicy food again. After going through this really unpleasant experience for nearly 2 years, I have stopped eating spicy food now - it has been almost a week that I haven't had any spicy food and hence the burning sensation down there. However, I have noticed over the past week that the *last few drops* of my urine stream have a very strong ammonia like smell. I am completely perplexed as 99% of my urine stream smells perfectly normal but the last few drops (especially if I cough or just try to empty the bladder) have ammonia-like smell. My question is do you know what might be causing this? Secondly, is it common to get urethral / bladder infections by this long term consumption of overly spicy food? Please advice, and thank you in advance for your counsel and support.

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. It is very unlikely that the consumption of spicy food will cause urinary/bladder infections. Furthermore, ammonia smell in the urine could be indicative of several different types of illnesses. A diet high in protein. kidney problems, urinary tract infections, urinary stasis (holing urine for too long), to name a few are all causes for this type of finding. Based on your description, it does not seem that the consumption of spicy food could be the only cause of this. We recommend that you have your doctor examine you and perform a urine test to determine if you have any infections, or any other illness that could be causing this problem. Lastly, if spicy food is causing you so much discomfort it would therefore be wise to avoid consuming it in the future.

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Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: Dear Doctor, Thank you so much for your counsel. I took your advice and have scheduled a visit with an urologist. Meanwhile I just wanted to ask you a couple of follow questions.

1. Since I stopped eating spicy food the burning sensation has gone away completely. As a matter of fact, the ammonia like smell in the last few drops of urine seems to have subsided a lot but it is still there. In your opinion what might cause ammonia smell only to last few drops of urine when rest of the urine stream looks and smells just fine?

2. Would this have something to do with me not clearling my bladder properly?This is because when I think about since past few years I have developed a tendency to pee in hurry. Could it be causing this?

3. Lastly I am uncircumcised not sure if that matters as I clean under the foreskin every day, and there is no foul smell under the foreskin whatsoever..

Please advise. Thanks.

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