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Urination - painful



Painful urination describes any pain, discomfort, or burning sensation during urination.

Alternative Names

Dysuria; Painful urination

Common Causes
Home Care

Follow prescribed therapy.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if:

  • There is drainage or a discharge from your penis or vagina
  • You are pregnant and are having any painful urination
  • You have painful urination that lasts for more than 1 day
  • You notice blood in your urine
What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your symptoms and medication history, such as:

  • When did the painful urination begin?
  • Does the pain occur only during urination?
  • Does the pain stop after urination?
  • Is there back pain?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Have you had a fever higher than 100 degrees F?
  • Is there drainage or discharge between urinations?
  • Is there an abnormal urine odor?
  • Are there any changes in the volume or frequency of urination?
  • Do you have the urge to urinate?
  • Did you notice blood in the urine?
  • Are there any rashes or itching in the genital area?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Are you pregnant or could you be pregnant?
  • Has there been a previous bladder infection?
  • Do you have any allergies to any medications?
  • Have you had sexual intercourse with someone who has, or may have, gonorrhea or chlamydia?
  • Has there been a recent change in your brand of soap, detergent, or fabric softener?
  • Have you had surgery or radiation to your urinary or sexual organs?

A urinalysis will be done. A urine culture may be ordered. If you have had a previous bladder or kidney infections, a more detailed history and physical are needed, and extra laboratory studies may be necessary. A pelvic exam and examination of vaginal fluids are necessary if a female has a vaginal discharge. Men who have penile discharge will need to have a urethral swab done.

Treatment depends on what is causing the pain.



Pain on urination is a fairly common problem. It is most often caused by an infection somewhere in the urinary tract.


Review Date: 10/2/2008
Reviewed By: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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