Painful urination

Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, July 21, 2017

Painful urination, also referred to as dysuria, is the discomfort or burning sensation that occurs when urinating. This is usually felt in the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your bladder.

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What does painful urination feel like?

Painful urination is typically described by as a “burning” sensation that can be felt during urination. It can be caused by infectious and noninfectious conditions. It can also be accompanied by other symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as frequent urination or blood in the urine, and it can occur after intercourse in women when infection is present.

Can painful urination be a symptom of an STD?

Yes. Painful urination frequently is associated with a bacterial urinary tract infection; however, STDs can also be the cause. Getting tested regularly for STDs is the best way to stay up-to-date on your sexual health. If you are having unprotected sex or sex with a new partner, STD testing may be the right decision for you.

Most patients don't know that painful urination can be a symptom of chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are curable with antibiotics if detected and treated early. As long as it’s treated in the early stages, long-term risks associated with chlamydia and gonorrhea are minimal.

Untreated STDs can cause long term health problems for patients, so it’s important to get tested if you believe you’re at risk.

Before you can discuss treatment options with a doctor, you need to get tested.

What else could be causing pain during urination?

Outside of sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections, there are a number of conditions that could be causing you to experience pain and discomfort when you pee.

  • Bladder stones
  • Cystitis, or a bladder infection
  • Kidney infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Drug side effects
  • Cancers of the kidney, bladder, prostate, vagina, vulva or penis
  • Urethral stricture, the narrowing of the urethra
  • Urethritis, an infection of the urethra
  • Interstitial cystitis, a chronic and painful bladder condition
  • Vulvovaginitis, an inflammation of the vagina that can result in discharge, itching, and pain
  • BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), age-associated prostate gland enlargement that can cause urination difficulty
  • Catheter placement
  • Honeymoon cystitis, a burning sensation when peeing as well as the frequent urge to go to the bathroom
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