Painful urination



What is painful urination?

Painful urination (Dysuria) is a symptom of pain, discomfort, or burning when urinating. This pain may originate in the bladder, urethra, or perineum. The urethra is the tube that carries urine outside of your body. In men, the area between the scrotum and the anus is known as the perineum. In women, the perineum is the area between the anus and the opening of the vagina.

How common is painful urination?

Painful urination is very popular. It is more common in women than in men. In men, it is more common in older men than younger men.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of painful urination?

Based on the cause of dysuria, there may be other symptoms in addition to pain when urinating. Symptoms can include:

  • Lower urinary tract infection (cystitis) — Frequent urination, an intense urge to urinate, loss of bladder control, pain in the lower front portion of the abdomen (near the bladder), cloudy urine that may have a strong odor, bloody urine
  • Upper urinary tract infection (pyelonephritis) — Pain in the upper back, high fever with shaking chills, nausea and vomiting, cloudy urine, frequent urination, an intense urge to urinate
  • Urethritis — A discharge from the urethra, redness around the opening of the urethra, frequent urination, vaginal discharge. Partners of people with urethritis that comes from a sexually transmitted disease often will not have any symptoms.
  • Vaginitis — Pain, soreness or itching in the vagina, an abnormal or foul-smelling vaginal discharge or odor, pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes painful urination?

There are a great number of conditions can cause painful urination. In women, the most common cause of painful urination is a urinary tract infection. In men, urethritis and certain prostate conditions are the most frequent causes of painful urination.

Common medical conditions and external causes of painful urination include:

  • Bladder stones
  • Chlamydia
  • Cystitis (bladder infection)
  • Drugs, such as those used in cancer treatment, that have bladder irritation as a side effect
  • Genital herpes
  • Forgotten (retained) tampon
  • Having a recent urinary tract procedure performed, including use of urologic instruments for testing or treatment
  • Kidney infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostatitis (infection or inflammation of the prostate)
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Soaps, perfumes and other personal care products
  • Urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra)
  • Urethritis (infection of the urethra)
  • Salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes)
  • Vaginitis (vaginal infection)
  • Yeast infection (vaginal)

Risk factors

What increases my risk for painful urination?

These are some common risk factors can cause painful dysuria:

  • Having more than one sex partner.
  • Having sex with an infected partner
  • Eating highly acidic foods
  • Drinking a lot of coffee, alcohol, etc.

Diagnosis &treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is painful urination diagnosed?

Firstly, your health-care professional will review your history, your overall health and previous episodes of dysuria. Information about the frequency of urination and sexual and social history will often be included. The extent of the physical examination will depend to some extent on the history information. The test will usually include an abdominal checking and often an examination of the external genitalia and a gynecologic examination for women.

A urine sample will be obtained. In the office, a dipstick test of the urine can often be done and give further clues to the cause of the dysuria. These dipstick tests can indicate the presence of bacteria and blood (both common in patients with an urinary tract infection). The sample then is sent to the laboratory where it is examined under the microscope (to confirm the presence of blood or white blood cells). A culture of the urine is performed to see if bacteria grow (both confirming a bacterial infection as well as identifying the exact bacteria causing the infection).

How is painful urination treated?

The treatment of painful urination depends on its cause:

  • Cystitis and pyelonephritis — These infections, usually caused by bacteria, can be cured with antibiotics taken by mouth. Antibiotics may be given into a vein (intravenously) for severe pyelonephritis with high fever, shaking chills and vomiting.
  • Urethritis — Urethritis is treated with antibiotics. The type of antibiotic used depends on which infection causes the urethritis.
  • Vaginitis — Trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis are treated with antibiotics. Yeast infections are treated with antifungal drugs, either as a pill by mouth or as a suppository or cream inserted into the vagina.

If you are sexually active and are being treated for dysuria caused by a sexually transmitted disease, your sex partners must be treated as well.

Lifestyle changes &home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage painful urination?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with this condition:

  • There are changes you can make to your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms. Steer clear of scented laundry detergents and toiletries to reduce your risk of irritation. Use condoms during sexual activity to keep yourself safe. Modify your diet to eliminate food and drinks that irritate the bladder.
  • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that there’s some evidence to suggest certain foods are more likely to irritate your bladder. Some irritants to avoid include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, and artificial sweeteners.
  • You should also avoid highly acidic foods to help your bladder heal. Try to stick with a bland diet for several weeks while you are receiving medical treatment.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: December 18, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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