Medical quality assurance by Dr. Albrecht Nonnenmacher, MD at December 10, 2015

The average person needs to urinate between six and eight time per day, and this natural process is crucial in ridding the body of toxins and other contaminants. However, those who suffer with the painful effects of dysuria often find themselves dreading those six to eight occurrences. Whether you've been experiencing this symptom for a long period or just a couple of days, it's important to stay informed and understand the right course of action to take.


Definition & Facts

Dysuria is the feeling of pain or discomfort experienced while urinating. It impacts millions across the country, and women are typically at a higher risk of its development. The painful feeling is a symptom, and there are number of underlying conditions that could be the cause.

There are a number of home remedies that claim to offer relief, but they often simply mask the problem. If you experience painful or burning urination that doesn't dissipate after a couple of days, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get to the root cause of the problem.


Dysuria in itself is not a disease. Rather, it's only a symptom of a potentially larger problem. It's typical for the root cause of painful urination to be a urinary tract infection. These types of infections can root themselves in various areas of the urinary system including the bladder, kidneys and urethra.

Whether the problem is determined to be cystic, pyelonephritis, or urethritis, there are antibiotics on the market proven effective at overcoming them. While UTIs are the most common cause of dysuria, there are a variety of others that could be to blame. For starters, a burning sensation is often indicative of the presence of a sexually transmitted disease. Other potential issues include:

  • Trauma resulting from an injury to the genital area through sexual activity or the misuse of a catheter
  • Abrasion on the genitals that is irritated through the contact of urine
  • Frequent use of products in the genital area such as douches or tampons
  • Nerve problems that can make it difficult to completely empty the bladder

When to see a doctor

In some circumstances, dysuria will simply fade away on its own. Money can be tight, and we often find ourselves avoiding medical care. However, ignoring painful urination can be more costly in the long run or even dangerous as the underlying cause may be something more serious than a simple UTI. It's good practice to always see your doctor when experiencing pain or a burning sensation when urinating.

However, there are even more serious signs to beware of that should increase the urgency. For starters, if you develop a fever, it's important to schedule an appointment quickly as this is the body's way of fighting a larger problem. Other signs it's time to visit the doctor include:

These symptoms all indicate the possibility of a harmful infection. When not treated, it can enter the bloodstream and cause you to become very ill.

Treatment & Therapy

There are a variety of treatment and therapy options you and your doctor may choose to pursue, and they all depend on the unique circumstances of your dysuria. During your initial consultation, your doctor will start by asking you a number of preliminary questions to help narrow down the possibilities.

You will also likely have to provide a urine sample to be analyzed for a more accurate diagnosis. This is typically all it takes to determine the root cause of dysuria. However, if this fails to reveal the problem, there's a good chance there's a more sinister root cause such as cancer. In this event, your doctor will need to administer further testing. Some of the possible testing methods they may need to do administer include:

In rare circumstances, the cause of dysuria may be beyond the capability of your urologist to reveal. In this case, they may need to refer you to a specialist who practices in a very particular area. They are often able to better understand the specific symptoms impacting a particular region of the urinary system. Once the problem has been identified, there are a number of medication options. Some of these include:

The good news is that most of these medications are available over-the-counter, so you don't have to use a prescription to receive it. However, it's still a good idea to get checked out by your doctor first. With so many products on the market, you want to make sure you purchase the one that will yield the right results.

Prevention & Prophylaxis

The best way to fight dysuria is to prevent it from manifesting in the first place. There are measures you can take to reduce your chances of developing these painful symptoms. For starters, to limit the chance of developing a UTI you should drink plenty of fluids including cranberry juice, wipe from front to back, urinate soon after sexual intercourse, and cease the use of irritating feminine products.

It's also recommended that, if sexually active, you use protection as well as receive regular testing to prevent the development and exacerbation of sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, always ensure you're able to urinate before the discomfort of a full bladder is allowed to set in. If you work somewhere where this could be a problem, speak with your human resources manager to see what kind of accommodations can be made for you to protect your health.

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