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    Urination - painful

    Dysuria; Painful urination

    Painful urination describes any pain, discomfort, or burning sensation when passing urine.


    Pain may be felt right where the urine passes out of the body. Or, it may be felt inside the body, behind the pubic bone, or in the bladder or prostate.

    Pain on urination is a fairly common problem. People who have pain with urination also may have the urge to urinate more often.


    Painful urination is most often caused by an infection or inflammation somewhere in the urinary tract. For example it may be a:

    Painful urination and women and girls may be due to:

    • Changes in the vaginal tissue during menopause (atrophic vaginitis)
    • Herpes infection in the genital area
    • Irritation of the vaginal tissue caused by bubble bath, perfumes, or lotions
    • Vulvovaginitis, such as yeast or other infections of the vulva and vagina

    Other causes of painful urination include:

    • Interstitial cystitis
    • Prostate infection (prostatitis)
    • Radiation cystitis - damage to the bladder lining from radiation therapy to the pelvis area
    • Sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if:

    • There is drainage or a discharge from your penis or vagina
    • You are pregnant and are having any painful urination
    • You have painful urination that lasts for more than 1 day
    • You notice blood in your urine
    • You have a fever

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    Your health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your symptoms and medication history, such as:

    • When did the painful urination begin?
    • Does the pain occur only during urination?
    • Does the pain stop after urination?
    • Do you have back pain?
    • What other symptoms do you have?
    • Have you had a fever higher than 100 degrees F?
    • Is there drainage or discharge between urinations?
    • Is there an abnormal urine odor?
    • Are there any changes in the volume or frequency of urination?
    • Do you feel the urge to urinate?
    • Have you noticed blood in the urine?
    • Are there any rashes or itching in the genital area?
    • What medications are you taking?
    • Are you pregnant or could you be pregnant?
    • Have you had a bladder infection?
    • Do you have any allergies to any medications?
    • Have you had sexual intercourse with someone who has, or may have, gonorrhea or chlamydia?
    • Has there been a recent change in your brand of soap, detergent, or fabric softener?
    • Have you had surgery or radiation to your urinary or sexual organs?

    A urinalysis will be done. A urine culture may be ordered. If you have had a previous bladder or kidney infection, a more detailed history and physical are needed, and extra laboratory studies may be necessary. A pelvic exam and examination of vaginal fluids are necessary if a female has a vaginal discharge. Men who have discharge from the penis will need to have a urethral swab done.

    Treatment depends on what is causing the pain.


    • Female urinary tract


    • Male urinary tract


      • Female urinary tract


      • Male urinary tract


      A Closer Look

        Review Date: 10/9/2012

        Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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