If peeing is painful, you need to know this

Painful urination should not be ignored. Here’s what you need to know.

Why peeing might be painful

There’s nothing fun about discomfort, pain or burning while urinating. But it occurs more frequently than you might expect and it can be a sign of an infection or other health problem.

The pain may be experienced when urine passes out of the body, as well as through the body, such as in the bladder, prostate or behind the pubic bone.

Who experiences it?
Both men and women experience painful urination, otherwise called dysuria. In women, dysuria is often caused by urinary tract infections. In men, it can be a symptom of urethritis and certain prostate conditions.

What causes it?
Painful urination can be caused by several conditions, but the most common is a urinary tract infection (UTI). The urinary tract comprises the kidneys, bladder and urethra. The urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body, can become infected. This happens when bacteria builds up in the tract as a result of waste not being removed or the bladder not being emptied correctly. As a result, swelling and irritation from the infection can make urination painful.

Other causes of painful urination can include:

  • Medicines – some medicines, such as those used in cancer chemotherapy, can inflame the bladder
  • Pressure on the bladder – a kidney stone or ovarian cyst that becomes stuck near the entrance to the bladder and puts pressure on it can cause dysuria
  • Sensitivity to chemicals in products – where possible, its best to avoid using soap around the genitals, douches, vaginal lubricants and scented toilet paper. Contraceptive foams and sponges may also contain chemical that cause irritation.
  • Sexually transmitted infections – painful urination can be a symptom of gonorrhoea, chlamydia or herpes
  • Vaginal infection or irritation
  • Prostate infection.


How to fix it
Dysuria can sometimes go away on its own. In other cases it can signal a problem that requires medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms along with painful urination, you should see a doctor:

  • cloudy or overly-smelly urine
  • pain that lasts longer than one day
  • pain in your back or side
  • discharge from your vagina or penis
  • blood in the urine.

Your doctor will be able to examine you and conduct tests to find out the cause of your painful urination. A urinalysis, which checks the urine for infection, is the common test for UTIs.

Your doctor may also recommend an ultrasound of your kidneys or bladder, which can help find kidney stones and other medical issues.

What to say to your doctor
Talking about painful urination can be a difficult subject, even with your doctor. It’s important to know that she or he deals with cases like this every day, so try to be as open as possible and describe to your doctor:

  • your symptoms and how long you’ve had them
  • any medical conditions you have (i.e. diabetes)
  • any surgeries or procedures you’ve had in your abdominal area
  • any abnormalities in your urinary tract
  • whether you were recently hospitalised (less than one month ago) or stayed in a nursing home.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you understand your health better. Questions to ask your doctor may include:

  • what is causing my pain?
  • it is a UTI or another infection?
  • what treatment is available?
  • are there any side-effects to the treatment?
  • how long does it take for my symptoms to go away?


Are you quick to head to your doctor when something is amiss? Or are you a ‘head-in-sand’ types who puts it off for far too long?


    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    19th Oct 2018
    At the first sign of UTI, I take a Hiprex tablet for a few days to a week. I keep them on hand for this reason. They are expensive over the counter, but you can get them on prescription. I had a shocker of a UTI when overseas some years ago, from not drinking enough (bottled) water, I was told by the doc, so I don't want one like that again!
    19th Oct 2018
    You obviously go to the doctor. Early bladder cancer can be detected in a sample of urine.
    Traces of blood too small to be detected by naked eye, can show up in urine testing.
    Old Geezer
    19th Oct 2018
    Vit B complex will help too. Just take one tablet when you feel the symptoms. Specialist years ago told me this. Just not drinking enough water or fluids can cause it.
    19th Oct 2018
    Drinking too much of the wrong thing, too much meat and dairy and eggs, and toxins in your body from your body products and home cleaning products all contribute. A wholefood plant based diet with lots of clean filtered tap water, coconut water, herbal teas and fresh fruit and veg along with getting rid of chemicals in the home will save your from this very uncomfortable problem. Some medications also contribute to this problem too.
    19th Oct 2018
    Please stop anti meat scaremongering
    Everyone needs a healthy portion of meat in their diet everyday along with some vegetables nuts and fruit
    19th Oct 2018
    I am not anti meat scaremongering, plant based does not mean no meat. I merely said too much meat not none.
    19th Oct 2018
    Also there is no proof that everyone needs a healthy portion of meat, I have survived and thrived without it for 36 years. I look and feel younger than other's my age. My mother grew up in a time when meat was a side dish and not the main part of a plate, this is what is causing a lot of disease, especially if you eat no fibre with meat, there is no fibre in meat.
    19th Oct 2018
    I eat plenty of meat and I look and feel healthier than those 20 years younger than me
    19th Oct 2018
    The only symptoms I had when I had a urinary tract infection was tiredness, then later in the day vomitting and very high temperature. I had none of the normal symptoms.

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