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Infections. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the leading causes of painful urination. Infections can occur in any part of the urinary tract, including:
Ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder)
Urethra (tube from the bladder that carries urine out of the body)
Urinary tract infections are most often caused by bacteria that get into the urinary tract through the urethra.
Factors that can increase your chance of developing a UTI include:
Being a woman
Having a urinary catheter in place
Besides painful urination, other symptoms of UTI include:
Foul or stronger-smelling urine
Cloudy or bloody urine
Increased urinary frequency or urge to urinate
Sometimes painful urination can be related to a vaginal infection, such as a yeast infection. With vaginal infections, you may also expect changes in vaginal discharge and odor.
Sexually transmitted infections can also cause painful urination. These include:
Besides painful urination, these sexually transmitted infections can also cause symptoms such as:
Blisters or sores for genital herpes
Inflammation and irritation. A range of problems can lead to inflammation or irritation of the urinary tract or genital area, leading to the symptom of painful urination. Besides infections, other reasons that area may be irritated or inflamed include:
Stones in the urinary tract
Irritation of the urethra from sexual activity
Interstitial cystitis, a condition caused by bladder inflammation
Vaginal changes related to menopause
Activities such as horseback riding or bicycling
Vaginal sensitivity or irritation related to use of scented soaps or bubble bath, toilet paper, or other products such as douches or spermicides
Side effects from certain medications, supplements, and treatments
Tumor in the urinary tract
Seeing a Doctor for Dysuria
After a history and physical exam, your doctor may request lab tests to help diagnose the cause of your dysuria symptoms. Then you can begin targeted treatment.
To help determine the cause, the doctor may ask whether your painful urination:
Started suddenly or gradually
Occurred once or many times
Is felt at the onset of urination
The doctor may also ask if your painful urination is accompanied by symptoms such as:
The doctor may also want to know if the painful urination is accompanied by changes in urine flow, such as:
Difficulty initiating flow
Increased frequency or need to urinate
And you may also be asked by your doctor if there are changes in urine character along with painful urination. These include changes in urine such as:
Blood in urine
Pus in urine
Answers to these questions will give your doctor clues to the cause. You will likely need a urine test or other tests to confirm a diagnosis.