Has Anyone Ever Had a Child Whose Sweat Smelled like Urine, or Ammonia?

Updated on May 10, 2011
L.P. asks from Caspian, MI
9 answers

I have a 4 year old boy who will sometimes wake up with a sweaty pajama top that smells like urine or ammonia. We have taken him to the doctor, and labs were run with no solid answer as to why this is happening.He is a poor eater. He will only crave sugary food and juice. He says he is hungry, but eats only a few bites and then is done. I am really needing answers as his growth is being hindered.THanks!

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answers from Louisville on

Sounds like he might not be getting enough fluids - something besides just juice! Any idea how much he drinks in a day?

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answers from Dayton on

It really sounds to me like dehydration (and maybe some overheating overnight mixed in). I would cut out the sugary food and juice, too. Sugar tends to be "water grabby" and dehydrate you more. Give him water and 1-2 servings of milk per day. If this wreaks havoc on his bowel movements, give him one serving of watered down juice and have the rest be water. Typically, sweat contains the same components as urine, just in smaller quantities - diluted enough that it usually doesn't smell like urine at all. So my guess is either that he's sweating for heat reasons and he's dehydrated enough that his sweat is too concentrated and that's why you're smelling it OR that he's so dehydrated that his body is trying to flush out the uric acid and other waste products that usually come out in pee by forcing it out through his pores. Does he seem flushed or overheated when he wakes up? Either way, I would check how frequently he's peeing and the color/quantity of his pee. When you're well hydrated, urine should have very little color. I would definitely push water (juice and sugary drinks do not hydrate as well as water) until he had pale and plentiful urine for a week or more.

A 4 year old typically doesn't have a big appetite. Growth and development slow way down after the first year or two of life. Offer him a SMALL portion of a healthy variety and when he's done, let him be done If he wants more, give him more of the same foods. No in-between meal sugary treats. If he wants a snack at an appropriate snack time, give him a healthy variety of foods at the table for his snack. I typically make sure there's at least something at the table that my son normally likes (apple slices, lima beans, a slice of bread with butter, a cheese stick) that I'm ok with being most or all of what he eats. Then if he doesn't eat it's because he's not hungry, not because there's nothing available that he knows he likes. He's more willing to try new foods if he's had something he likes and he knows he doesn't HAVE to eat something new in order to eat this meal.

Oh, and I might also check for diabetes/blood sugar if you haven't done that already. Some signs of diabetes include drinking a lot, peeing a lot, and craving sugar. It's just another thing that might be causing problems and sound somewhat likely from the description.

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answers from Columbus on

Hi L.,
I don't have any solid answers for you, but I would recommend seeing an endocrinologist, see if your family doctor will refer you if your insurance requires a referral. There are various metabolic imbalances that could cause this. You can find a lot of information by just doing an internet search, but definitely don't give up on getting a doctor to help you find the answers. Good luck to you and your sweet boy!

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answers from San Diego on

Stop giving him sugary food and juice. He doesn't eat everything on his plate then save it for when he is hungry. Also give him water, no more juice. Has he been tested for diabtes? Just a question since that is all that he eats is sugar. I would get the cook book by Jessica Seinfeld and give him healthier foods. Yes his diet has something to do with it, go see a nutritionist, and get him started on a healthier diet. Exercise him more as well the more exercise he gets the hungrier his appetite and the more he will eat.

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answers from Topeka on

I'm sorry but why do you continue to give him what he wants??He is a poor eater that began early in life if it continues it will only get worse efferct his growth,his weight,all his vital organs he can have adult illnesses beginnnig in his childhood I wouldn't want that for my children.Toss out all the juices sugary filled empty calorie foods & begin buying good wholesome foods that aren't already packaged add fruits & veggies.Have you been told to change his diet?I'm not trying to make you feel like a bad parent but a child doesn't dictate what they want to eat espcially if it is junk.A plate of food to a 4 yr old is to much give him a portion size that equals to a deck of cards with protein,fruit,vegetable with water or milk,if he eats that & is still hungry give a little more
Is he just peeing the bed & laying in it all night & that is causing him to smell?Has he been checked for a UTI?

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answers from Memphis on

I'm with Angela-- I'd try to see an endocrinologist. If you can't get to one, try a regular internist. Did your pediatrician say to follow up if the problem persists? I wouldn't cut them completely out of the loop. If they said to come back after 4-6 weeks or something, I'd do that.



answers from Minneapolis on

does he still wear a diaper or pull up at night or is he night trained? my almost 4 year old is not night trained yet and wears a diaper or pull up and has a very strong smell in the morning to, but its only in the morning. once we get the diaper off and underwear on he does not smell anymore. does he smell during the day when he is playing and sweating or just at night? my son also smells when he eats pickles. very wierd, but im not to concerned. he is a healthy eater and seems to be just fine. I would say try getting better food in him. at 4 he should not be eating sugary foods all the time. that could be the problem itself. give more water and vegetables, and protien, and fresh fruit. that will help a lot.


answers from Provo on

I'm not sure about the urine thing, but my nephew who is also 4 will only take a few bites as well. He's is doing just fine. They know when they are hungry or not. As long as he is not losing weight or acting lethargic, he should be fine. He'll eat when he's hungry. Just keep offering healthy foods instead of sugar and all will be well.



answers from Cleveland on

You may want to try children's ensure or whatever is simliar for children. You can ix it with a lot of things to create a milkshake. You really need to get the sugar out of your house. No juice. Try some sugarless popsicles or make some of your own. Initially it will be difficult to change his diet but if you stick with it he will begin to choose whatever you offer him.