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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

What is dysuria?

Dysuria is difficulty urinating, or pain, burning, or discomfort when you urinate. Dysuria is usually a symptom of another problem.

What causes dysuria?

The following are the most common causes of dysuria:

  • Infections, such as urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections
  • Trauma, such as bicycle injury or sexual abuse
  • Abnormal structure, such as narrowing of the urethra
  • Blockage, such as kidney stones
  • Medical conditions, such as constipation, enlarged prostate, and reactive arthritis
  • Chemicals, such as douches, spermicides, and bubble bath
  • Medicines, such as chemotherapy

What increases my risk for dysuria?

  • Dehydration
  • Loss of bladder muscle strength due to older age
  • Holding urine in your bladder for a long period of time
  • Caffeine, soda, alcohol, and citrus drinks

What other symptoms may I have with dysuria?

  • Fever
  • Cloudy, bad smelling urine
  • Urge to urinate often but urinating little
  • Back, side, or abdominal pain
  • Blood in your urine
  • Discharge that smells bad
  • Itching
  • Swelling of your genitals
  • Pain with ejaculation or bowel movement (for males)

How is dysuria diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. Tell your healthcare provider about any medicines you are taking. You may need any of the following to find the cause of your dysuria:

  • A urine test may be done to look for bacteria, blood, or pus.
  • A blood test may be done to look for signs of infection.
  • A cystoscopy allows healthcare providers to look for problems inside your bladder. A scope is put into your bladder through your urethra. The scope is a flexible tube with a light and camera on the end.
  • An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures on a monitor. An ultrasound may be done to show problems in your bladder.

How is dysuria treated?

Treatment will depend on what is causing your dysuria. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist or a nephrologist. You may need medicines to help treat a bacterial infection or help decrease bladder spasms.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I manage my dysuria?

  • Drink more liquids. Liquids help flush out bacteria that may be causing an infection. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Take sitz baths as directed. Fill a bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. You may also use a sitz bath pan that fits over a toilet. Sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a day, or as directed. The warm water can help decrease pain and swelling. 

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe back, side, or abdominal pain.
  • You have fever and shaking chills.
  • You vomit several times in a row.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms do not go away, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

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