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What causes a burning sensation when urinating or dysuria? 

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There are some things in life that we tend to ignore unless we find something bothersome about them. For instance, urine. When was the last time you thought of something like urination? Our guess: when you felt pain or discomfort like burning sensation when urinating. 

Most of us can relate to the burning sensation after urinating. However common, it is a serious health concern that we must not ignore. In this article, Dr Shalabh Agrawal, the best urologist in Gurgaon, talks about the reason for pain during and after urination. 

What is dysuria or a burning sensation when urinating?

Dysuria is a urological health concern in which a person feels burning and pain when urinating. Most people experience pain and burning after urination at the opening of the urethra (the tube that carries urine for removal from the body). 

The intensity or severity of painful urination is different for everyone. However, the burning sensation after urinating is often described as a sharp sting. 

The discomfort caused by dysuria is often a sign of some other underlying condition. It is often considered a symptom rather than a condition in itself. 

What are the symptoms of dysuria?

Painful urination is a symptom itself. It is common for several health conditions. It is, thus, necessary to learn about associated symptoms for proper diagnosis. 

Most of the times, burning sensation when urinating has additional symptoms accompanying it. These symptoms include:

  • Change of urine colour
  • Blood in the urine 
  • Foul smelly urine 
  • Cloudy urine 
  • Increased urge to urinate

Severe symptoms may also be attached when one experiences painful urination. These are:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Pain in the lower back, pelvic floor and/or abdomen
  • Persistent nausea
  • Night sweats 
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pain at the side of the groin 
  • Swelling or redness of the skin

What causes pain when urinating?

Dysuria occurs when the urinary tract suffers from inflammation, injury or infections. There is a wide range of conditions that cause pain during urination by harming the urinary system. 

Some of the most common reasons behind what causes pain when urinating are:

  1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs): UTIs are at the top of the list of dysuria causes. A urinary tract infection happens when stool bacteria enters the urinary tract and spreads to the organs such as bladder, urethra, ureters or more. A person suffering from UTI generally experiences pain and burning after urination, backache, fever and nausea. Dysuria, however, is not restricted to UTIs. 
  2. Sexually transmitted infections:  Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhoea can impact the uterus and ovaries. You can also expect to see abnormal vaginal discharge, pain in the pelvic area and fever if you have caught STIs. 
  3. Vaginitis: Another reason for pain during and after urination is an infection of the vagina. The inner walls of the vagina become inflamed and irritated in this infection. A woman feels painful urination when the stream of urine touches the damaged walls. Foul smelly, abnormal discharge and itching are other symptoms associated with vaginitis. 
  4. Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome): It is a highly prevalent bladder problem. In this condition, a person experiences chronic pain and pressure in the bladder. A person suffering from painful bladder syndrome feels a stinging pain and burning after urination. Dysuria can be felt right after the bladder is emptied. Other common symptoms of this condition include pelvic pain, urgency and frequent need to urinate. 

Pain during and after urination is also felt by other urological and gynaecological issues. Other dysuria causes include: 

  • Presence of stones in the urinary tract
  • Transition to menopause
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Activities that may hurt the pelvic floor such as horseback riding
  • Use of cosmetic products on the vagina
  • Development of tumour in one of the urinary tract organs

What are the complications of painful urination?

A burning sensation when urinating is an indicator of some other health condition. If this symptom is ignored, you cannot get proper treatment for the root cause. 

Pain during urination can lead to various complications such as chronic pain, sepsis (a blood infection), infertility and spread of numerous other infections. 

When to seek medical help for dysuria?

You should immediately seek medical intervention if dysuria persists for a long time. If you have an underlying health condition while experiencing burning and pain when urinating, you should consult your urologist or gynaecologist at the earliest. 

If you experience an abnormal discharge from your penis or vagina, you should not take that lightly. 

You can book a consultation simply based on feeling a burning sensation after urinating. 

How do doctors diagnose burning sensations when urinating?

Your healthcare provider will do preliminary investigations to find the cause of painful urination. He/she will discuss your personal medical history and symptoms. It is helpful to track symptoms if the burning and pain when urinating has lasted for a long time. 

Your urologist or gynaecologist will perform some basic diagnostic tests. You can expect to have blood tests, urine tests, ultrasound scans and X-rays. You may be indicated for additional tests depending upon your overall health.

The diagnosis is drawn to figure out the dysuria causes. 

What is the treatment for pain during and after urination?

The treatment module is dependent upon the reason behind dysuria. The accuracy of the diagnosis can help your doctor decide which treatment method to offer. 

You should discuss any underlying medical condition (even pregnancy) with your doctor. Make sure to inform your doctor about the types of medicines you would be presently taking (if any). If you have had a history of recurrent urinary tract infections, your healthcare provider may use a distinct way to treat you for optimum results. 

In case of infections, your health care provider will prescribe relevant antibiotics as the first line of remedy. You may also be recommended to practice healthy lifestyle changes such as drinking more water and eating a well-balanced diet. 

You should avoid drinking caffeine while you are suffering from dysuria as caffeine products can further irritate the urinary tract. 

The concluding note

It is highly normal to feel a burning sensation when urinating once in a while. If you continue to experience painful urination along with other symptoms, then you should seek clinical care. 

You can book an appointment with Dr Shalabh Agrawal, a senior urologist at the CK Birla Hospital, to learn more about the health of the urinary tract.  


Ques: How can I prevent the burning sensation when urinating?

Ans: You can prevent burning sensation when urinating (dysuria) by drinking plenty of water, increasing your intake of Vitamin C and passing urine whenever the need arises. 

Ques: What complications can arise if I don’t address dysuria?

Ans: Untreated dysuria can further cause chronic pain, sepsis (a blood infection), infertility and spread of numerous other infections. 

Ques: When should I seek medical help for burning sensation when urinating?

Ans: You should consult a medical expert if you see blood in the urine or have a high-grade fever along with persistent painful urination. 

Ques: How can I avoid UTI?

Ans: You can avoid UTI by staying hydrated, restricting your consumption of caffeine, maintaining hygiene and completely emptying your bladder every time you pass urine. 

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