A painful burning feeling when you urinate is often a sign of a urinary tract infection (sometimes also called a bladder infection). However, painful urination can occur even if you don’t have an infection. Certain drugs, like some used in cancer chemotherapy, may inflame the bladder. Something pressing against the bladder (like an ovarian cyst) or a kidney stone stuck near the entrance to the bladder can also cause painful urination.
Painful urination can also be caused by vaginal infection or irritation. You might be sensitive to chemicals in products such as douches, vaginal lubricants, soaps, scented toilet paper or contraceptive foams or sponges. If it hurts to urinate after you’ve used these products, you’re probably sensitive to them.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Yes. Painful urination can be a symptom of a more serious problem. You should tell your doctor about your symptoms and how long you’ve had them. Tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have, such as diabetes mellitus or AIDS, because these could affect your body’s response to infection. Tell your doctor about any known abnormality in your urinary tract, or if you are or might be pregnant. Tell your doctor if you’ve had any procedures or surgeries on your urinary tract or if you were recently hospitalized (less than 1 month ago) or stayed in a nursing home.
If your doctor thinks your pain may be from vaginal inflammation, he or she may wipe the lining of your vagina with a swab to collect mucus. The mucus will be looked at under a microscope to see if it has yeast or other organisms. If your pain is from an infection in your urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder), your doctor may swab it to test for bacteria. If an infection can’t be found, your doctor may suggest other tests.
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.