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Painful urination (dysuria)

Definition

Painful urination (dysuria) is discomfort or burning with urination, usually felt in the tube that carries urine out of your bladder (urethra) or the area surrounding your genitals (perineum).

Causes

A number of conditions can cause painful urination (dysuria). In women, urinary tract infections are a common cause of painful urination. In men, urethritis and certain prostate conditions are frequent causes of painful urination.

Medical conditions and external factors that can cause painful urination include:

  • Bladder stones
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Cystitis (bladder infection)
  • Drugs, such as those used in cancer treatment, that have bladder irritation as a side effect
  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Having a recent urinary tract procedure performed, including use of urologic instruments for testing or treatment
  • Kidney infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostatitis (infection or inflammation of the prostate)
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Soaps, perfumes and other personal care products
  • Urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra)
  • Urethritis (infection of the urethra)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Vaginitis (vaginal infection)
  • Yeast infection (vaginal)

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor or make an appointment if:

  • Your painful urination persists
  • You have drainage or discharge from your penis or vagina
  • Your urine is foul-smelling or cloudy, or you see blood in your urine
  • You have a fever
  • You have back pain or pain in your side (flank pain)
  • You pass a kidney or bladder (urinary tract) stone

If you're pregnant, tell your doctor about any pain you have when you urinate.

Last updated: September 8th, 2017

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