Painful Urination

Painful sensations during urination including burning sharp pain are common symptoms of urinary system diseases. Women are more often affected as the problem may be associated with gynecological diseases.


Urinary tract infections

This is the most common cause of painful urination. In addition to burning sensations frequent urination occurs. Women are more often affected by urinary tract infections due to short urethra. Bacteria can easily enter urinary tract during sexual intercourse and recurrent urinary tract infections often accompany sex with a new partner. By recurring urinary tract infections it is not unreasonable to check patient’s blood sugar level, because infections are more common in patients with diabetes. By males painful urination is present by prostate infection. This is less common but very unpleasant condition accompanied by high fever.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)

Painful urination is usually associated with gonorrhea. Besides pain, there is also purulent discharge, often in the morning. Burning during urination is sometime present in chlamydia infections. It should be noted that these STDs manifest more by men. By women they are often asymptomatic, but can cause chronic gynecological disorders including sterility.

Gynecological disorders

Gynecological infections (like vaginal fungal infection) can mimic symptoms of urinary tract infections.

Tumor diseases

Tumors of urinary bladder and prostate cancer can cause discomfort when urinating, but that happens in later stages. These tumors are for a long time asymptomatic or rather manifest with blood in the urine.

Urinary stones

If a urinary stone obstructs urethra, there will be pain and burning sensations by urinating.

Narrowing of the urethra

Congenital or acquired (often after injuries and operations) narrowing of urethra may be associated with unpleasant sensations during urination.

Diagnostic approach

Problems fall mainly within the competence of urologists or gynecologists. Urinalysis is very important; it allows determining presence of bacteria. Microbiological examination of urine serves to determining bacteria group and its antibiotic sensitivity. When there are chronic problems in older people, especially when accompanied with blood in urine, it is advisable to use some imaging or endoscopic method such as abdominal ultrasound and cystoscopy. Young women may undergo a gynecological examination.


Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Since the most common cause is a urinary tract infection, the best therapeutic measure is fluid intake and antibiotics. Urological tea products and cranberry supplements are also very popular.

Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources