Dysuria (Painful Urination)

Urinary Infections

Aug 18, 2020


One of the most mundane everyday activities is going to the bathroom. Everyone does it, every single day. At home, at work, while out shopping, it’s so commonplace, that it’s easy to overlook how great it is to do so without any issues. But, if you’ve suddenly started noticing a painful or burning sensation every time you urinate, you may be wondering what’s causing it. Why is it happening? What’s the best form of treatment? And, how do you know it’s time to go to an emergency room.

What is dysuria?

Dysuria is the medical term for painful urination. It is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Some individuals do not necessarily feel pain, but they are aware that something may be wrong, due to discomfort or a burning sensation every time they urinate. Symptoms of dysuria could vary in how long they last, depending on what’s causing it.

Causes of Dysuria

There are many reasons why a person may be experiencing painful or uncomfortable urination. Some are easier to diagnose than others. The most common ones include:

  • Urinary tract infections (cystitis)
  • Kidney infections (pyelonephritis)
  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Vaginitis
  • Prostatitis
  • Yeast infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases — gonorrhea, herpes, or chlamydia
  • Certain medications
  • Certain personal care products

Symptoms of Dysuria

Painful, burning, or otherwise uncomfortable urination isn’t the only telltale sign of dysuria. Other symptoms depend on the condition that’s causing them. The most common ones include:

Cystitis (Urinary Tract Infection)

If this is the ailment that’s causing your dysuria, you’ll also typically experience a frequent and intense urge to urinate, abdominal pain, cloudy urine, strong-smelling urine, loss of bladder control, and sometimes, blood in the urine.

Pyelonephritis (Kidney Infection)

This is an infection of the upper urinary tract. Other symptoms include a high fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, a frequent and intense urge to urinate, and in some cases, back pain.


This is an inflammation of the vagina. Additional symptoms include pain, itching, light vaginal bleeding, and/or unusual vaginal discharge. The condition is more common in postmenopausal women.


This is an inflammation of the prostate — the gland that produces semen, located right below the bladder. Additional signs include flu-like symptoms, difficulty urinating, pain of the penis or testicles, and/or cloudy urine.

Yeast Infections

Also known as candidiasis, this is a fungal infection of the vagina that causes irritation and intense itching of the vulva. Another common sign is a thick, white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The symptoms of STDs can vary depending on the type of disease. However, in addition to painful or burning urination, you may experience pain or discomfort during sex, painful or swollen genitalia, unusual discharge, and/or bumps, rashes, or sores in the genitals, anus, thighs, or mouth.

Treatment for Dysuria

Treatment for dysuria will depend on the underlying condition that’s causing it. Typically, it includes staying hydrated throughout the day and taking antibiotics. It may also include topical ointments or over-the-counter medications. However, if you’ve never experienced this feeling before and you know it’s not a mild UTI or yeast infection — or whenever you’re in doubt — seek medical attention. Doing so will help prevent complications, such as urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.

When to go to the ER for Dysuria

Seek immediate emergency medical care if, in addition to a painful or burning urination, you are experiencing a fever, abdominal or back pain, or an abnormal discharge from the vagina or urethra. Failing to seek treatment could result in complications and sometimes death if the infection spreads.

How to Prevent Dysuria

There are several things you can do to prevent dysuria. These include:

  • If you’re a woman, wipe front to back after bowel movements.
  • Urinate as soon as possible after sexual intercourse.
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Avoid irritating soaps, laundry detergents, and personal care products.
  • Drink several glasses of water a day — this will flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one believe you may have dysuria, let us help you. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.