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Painful urination (dysuria)


Painful urination is trouble or burning while passing urine. This is often felt in the tube that carries urine out of the bladder or around the genitals. In women, it's often caused by urinary tract infections. In men, it's often caused by urethritis and prostate problems. If you're pregnant, or if painful urination doesn't go away and has other symptoms, make a medical appointment.


Painful urination in women is often caused by urinary tract infections. In men, it's frequently caused by urethritis and prostate problems. Other common causes of painful urination include sexually transmitted infections, genital herpes, bladder and kidney stones, and soaps, perfumes, and other personal care products that irritate.

Medical conditions and other factors that can cause painful urination include:

  • Bladder stones
  • Cervicitis
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Cystitis (irritation of the bladder)
  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Having a recent urinary tract procedure done, including any that used urologic tools for testing or treatment
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Kidney infection (also called pyelonephritis)
  • Kidney stones (Hard buildups of minerals and salt that form inside the kidneys.)
  • Medicines, such as those used in cancer treatment, that can irritate the bladder as a side effect
  • Prostatitis (Infection or inflammation of the prostate.)
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Soaps, perfumes and other personal care products
  • Urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra)
  • Urethritis (infection of the urethra)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Vaginitis
  • Yeast infection (vaginal)

When to see a doctor

Make a medical appointment for:

  • Painful urination that doesn't go away.
  • Fluid coming from the penis or vagina.
  • Urine that smells bad, is cloudy or has blood in it.
  • Fever.
  • Back pain or pain in the side, also called flank pain.
  • Passing a stone from the kidney or bladder, also called urinary tract.

Pregnant people should tell a member of their health care team about any pain they have while passing urine.

Content Last Updated: 11-Oct-2023
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