What Causes Pain When Urinating?

Older man sitting on the couch, looks to be in pain

Pain during urination is called dysuria. The pain may also be described as a burning sensation. What causes pain when urinating? Several medical conditions can produce painful urination in men and women. Typically, doctors can determine the cause, but not always.

Pain After Urination Causes for Women

Because of differences in male and female anatomy, there are different causes for pain when urinating. Pain after urination causes for women include:

Bladder infection

Also called cystitis, this is an infection of the bladder lining. It causes painful urination as well as tenderness in the pelvic and bladder regions.  

Vaginal infection

Infection in the vagina or vulva can cause irritation that results in painful urination.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTIs are very common and can involve any part of the urinary system — kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. 

Inflammation of the bladder or urethra

Inflammation can be caused by an infection as well as by having sex or using soaps, scented toilet paper, douches, spermicides, or contraceptive sponges. 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and others can cause painful urination in women. 


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Painful Urination Causes in Men

There are multiple potential causes of painful urination in men, including:

Urinary tract infection

UTIs are much more common in women, but men can get them, too. 

Infections outside the urinary tract

Infections like diverticulosis and diverticulitis can cause painful urination in men. 

Cancer

Certain types of cancer can make it painful for men to urinate.

Prostate disease

Painful urination in men can be the result of prostate disease, which includes inflammation of the prostate (or prostatitis), benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH (a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate), and prostate cancer.

Medication side effects

Some medications or treatments have painful urination as one of their side effects. For example,  cancer chemotherapy drugs or radiation treatments in the pelvic area can produce inflammation in the bladder and painful urination.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and others can cause painful urination in men. 

How Do You Get Rid of Pain After Peeing?

The first step in eliminating painful urination is determining whether you have an infection or some other condition that’s causing the pain and, if so, getting proper treatment. If you frequently develop UTIs, your doctor can help determine the cause and prevent them if possible.

If the pain’s being caused by inflammation produced by an irritant (vaginal sprays in women, for example), the solution is to stop using that substance. 

And proper hydration can help reduce pain when you urinate in some instances. Drinking two or three liters of water a day is recommended. 

When to See a Doctor About Painful Urination

In some cases, pain when urinating is temporary and resolves on its own. However, it’s important to talk with your doctor if you have pain when you urinate and:

  • You’re pregnant
  • The pain is persistent
  • The pain is accompanied by a fever
  • Painful urination is accompanied by abdominal pain
  • Your urine has a strong or different odor
  • Your urine is cloudy or has blood in it
  • You have discharge from your vagina or penis
  • You pass a bladder or kidney stone

You can find a Baptist Health doctor using our online provider directory


Next Steps and Useful Resources

Find a Provider
Why Do I Keep Getting UTIs?
How to Pass a Kidney Stone
What Causes an Overactive Bladder?

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