What Causes the Pain While Urinating?

Experiencing pain or burning while you urinate is an indication that something is wrong and you need to have it checked out by a doctor immediately. The main cause of pain during urination is a urinary tract infection, but there are other causes that can lead to pain, burning or discomfort when you pee. While dysuria, which is the medical term for painful urination, can be common in some women and men, usually older men, it is still cause for concern.

Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?

If you are wondering why it hurts when you pee, paying attention to any other symptoms you have can help you determine the cause for your dysuria. However, it is important to see a medical professional for a more accurate diagnosis. Medical conditions that can use pain or burning during urination include:

1.     Urinary Tract Infections

One of the most common causes of pain during urination is having a urinary tract infection or UTI. An infection can occur along any part of the urinary tract, which includes:

  • Kidneys
  • Bladder
  • Ureters - the tubes that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder
  • Urethra - the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body

UTIs are usually caused by bacteria that get into the urinary tract through the urethra. Along with pain, burning or discomfort during urination, some of the other symptoms of a UTI include:

  • A fever
  • Foul or strong smelling urine
  • Urine that is cloudy or bloody
  • Increased frequency or urge to urinate

2.     Cystitis (Bladder Inflammation)

Cystitis is the inflammation of the bladder and it is the most common type of UTI, especially in women. Mild cases usually resolve themselves in a few days, but for people who frequently get cystitis, they may need to have regular treatments for it. If symptoms do not improve, you should seek medical advice as cystitis can lead to a more serious kidney infection.

The symptoms for this condition are the same as most UTIs and can also include feeling unwell, sick, achy and tired.A form of cystitis called interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, isn't caused by an infection and it causes long-term pain in the pelvic region and problems with urination. Along with painful urination, the symptoms include:

  • Intense pelvic pain, usually below the belly button
  • Strong, sudden urges to pee
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Waking up several times during the night to urinate

3.     Vaginal Infections

If you are a woman and are wondering why does it hurt when I pee, then you may have a vaginal infection. One of the most common vaginal infections is yeast infections and along with causing discomfort when you urinate, you may also notice a vaginal discharge that is white or yellow in color and an odor. A yeast infection will also cause itching, but itching or irritation of your vagina may not be caused by an infection.

4.     Irritation

Some women will experience irritation around their genitals if they use products like soaps, lotions or bubble bath liquids that irritate the tissues around their vagina. Dyes in laundry detergents, toilet tissue paper and other toiletry products can also cause irritation and lead to pain or burning during urination.

5.     Sexually Transmitted Infections

One of the symptoms for some sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, is painful urination. If it hurts when you pee and you are sexually active, especially if you do not wear protection, you should be tested for:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital Herpes

Other symptoms that indicate STIs as the cause of discomfort during urination include itching, burning, abnormal discharge and blisters or sores for genital herpes.

6.     Kidney Stones

While some of the other causes of dysuria lead to mild discomfort or pain, having kidney stones can cause more severe pain when you try to urinate. Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits that form in the kidneys or they may form when urine becomes concentrated, which allows minerals to crystallize and stick together. Kidney stones can affect any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the bladder.

Passing kidney stones can be very painful, so that is why it may hurt when you are trying to urinate. Along with urination, kidney stones can cause pain in the back and along your side below the ribs, pain can spread from the abdomen to the groin and come in waves and it can fluctuate in intensity. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Cloudy or urine that smells foul
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent need to urinate
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Peeing in only small amounts
  • Fever and chills if an infection is present.

7.     Prostatitis (Inflamed Prostate)

Prostatitis occurs in men when their prostate is infected or is inflamed without an infection present. This condition can incur due to a bacterial infection, but that only occurs in about 5% to 10% of all prostatitis cases. There are three types of prostatitis:

  • Chronic bacterial prostatitis
  • Acute bacterial prostatitis
  • Chronic pelvic pain syndrome or nonbacterial prostatitis

The exact cause of prostatitis is unknown, but it can be caused by an abnormal urinary tract, inserting a medical instrument like a catheter to drain urine, or an enlarged prostate. Painful urination, difficulty in urinating, fever and chills, or an increased urge to pee or urinating more frequently, pain when ejaculating, pain in back and buttocks, are some of the symptoms of this condition.

Treatments for Painful Urination

After finding out the answer to “why does it hurt when I pee?”, the most frequent treatment for painful urination caused by a bacterial infection is a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs, bacterial causes of prostatitis and treatable STIs like gonorrhea. Your doctor may also write a prescription to treat your irritated bladder.

Once you start taking the antibiotics, painful urination due to bacterial infections usually improves quickly. As long as you follow the instructions for taking the antibiotics, you will fully recover from your condition. Treating interstitial cystitis can be more difficult as antibiotics won't work for this condition. The drugs usually prescribed are:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Pentosan Polysulate Sodium
  • Acetaminophen with Codeine

These medications sometimes have to be taken for up to four months before you will start feeling better.

Lifestyle Changes for Painful Urination

Changing some of your habits can help prevent causes of painful urination. You can drink more water to help flush out your urinary tract and drink cranberry juice to avoid UTIs. In addition, when you have sex, you should always wear a condom to keep from getting a STI. Don't use or buy products that irritate your genitals and change your diet to eliminate foods and drinks that can irritate your bladder.

If you are wondering why it hurts when you pee, seek medical advice for discomfort and pain when you urinate. Your doctor will diagnose your problem, usually by doing a urinalysis, and prescribe the appropriate medications to treat your condition and clear it up quickly.

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