Dysuria is when you have pain during urination. It is often described as a burning feeling. Learn more about this problem and how it can be treated.

Outline of human torso showing front view of urinary tract.
Painful urination (dysuria) is often caused by a problem in the urinary tract.

What causes dysuria?

Possible causes include:

  • Infection with a bacteria or virus such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a sexually transmitted infection (STI)

  • Sensitivity or allergy to chemicals such as those found in lotions and other products

  • Prostate or bladder problems

  • Radiation therapy to the pelvic area

How is dysuria diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you. He or she will ask about your symptoms and health. After talking with you and doing a physical exam, your healthcare provider may know what is causing your dysuria. You will often have to give a urine sample. Tests of your urine (urinalysis) are done. A urinalysis may include:

  • Looking at the urine sample (visual exam)

  • Checking for substances (chemical exam)

  • Looking at a small amount of the urine under a microscope (microscopic exam)

Some parts of the urinalysis may be done in the provider's office and some in a lab. The urine sample may also be checked for bacteria and yeast (urine culture). Your healthcare provider will tell you more about these tests if they are needed.

How is dysuria treated?

Treatment depends on the cause. If you have a bacterial infection, you may need antibiotics. You may be given medicines to make it easier for you to urinate and help ease pain. Your healthcare provider can tell you more about your treatment options. If not treated, symptoms may get worse.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call the healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of  100.4° F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • No improvement after 3 days of treatment

  • Trouble urinating because of pain

  • New or increased discharge from the vagina or penis

  • Rash or joint pain

  • Increased back or belly pain

  • Enlarged painful lymph nodes (lumps) in the groin

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