Why I Feel Burning Sensation While Urinating? Ways To Resolve Painful Urination In Women

Why I Feel Burning Sensation While Urinating? Ways To Resolve Painful Urination In Women

Have you ever experienced that stinging pain while urinating? Burning or painful sensation during urination could be quite unpleasant as well as frightening for many. Unfortunately, this condition is more common in women folks than in men.

What is Painful Urination?

Burning sensation or painful urination is basically a broad term used for discomfort during urination. The clinical term for painful urination is known as dysuria. While this term is often used interchangeably for difficulty in passing urine, it is also used to describe pain during urination.

What causes painful urination in women?

Typically, this kind of burning sensation is usually a result of infection in the urinary tract. And why it occurs more in women? Well, the reason is pretty simple, women have much shorter urethra than men. That means less distance for bacteria and other organisms to move up to the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys, multiply there and cause infection.

Dysuria or painful urination mostly affects women in the age group of 20-50. The reasons can be broadly divided into two categories; infections and irritations or inflammation of the urinary tract.

1. Infections

  1. Urinary tract infections (UTI) - The primary cause of painful urination is the infection in the urinary tract. Infection can occur in any part of the urinary tract including kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. Bacterial invasion is the main reason behind most urinary tract infections. The condition occurs more commonly in pregnant women and those who use urinary catheter.
  2. Vaginal Infection - Occasionally, burning sensation while urinating also occurs due to vaginal infection such as yeast infection. Along with pain, a woman may also experience vaginal discharge and foul smell.
  3. Kidney Infection – When an infection invades the kidneys, the condition is known as pyelonephritis. It can occur either due to bladder infection or due to the entry of the bacteria into the kidneys via bloodstream. One may experience lower back pain, nausea, vomiting, chills, and fever. Pyelonephritis sometimes becomes difficult to treat and in such cases, the patient requires hospital admission.
  4. Sexually transmitted infection – STDs such as chlamydia, genital herpes, and gonorrhea can cause infection in the urinary tract. This, in turn, causes painful urination and sometimes accompanied by symptoms such as vaginal itching, blisters and abnormal vaginal discharge.

Also Read

Urinary Tract Infections - Why its More Common in Women?

2. Inflammation and irritation

Besides infection, a range of problems related to inflammation or irritation of the urinary tract can lead to painful urination in a woman. These include:

  • Irritation of the urethra due to sexual activity
  • Stones in the urinary tract
  • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome caused by inflammation of the bladder
  • Activities such as bicycling or horseback riding
  • Side effects of certain medications and supplements
  • Changes occurring due to menopause
  • Tumor in the urinary tract
  • Vaginal irritation occurring as a result of using scented soap, bubble bath, toilet paper or other such irritation causing products

Painful urination during pregnancy

Pregnancy puts a woman at risk of increased urination and this, in turn, increases the chance of urinary tract infections. The need for frequent urination is due to extra blood and fluid in the body that is excreted via kidneys. As pregnancy progresses, the baby grows larger and puts pressure on the bladder, forcing you to go to the toilet frequently.

Frequent urination is not always a sign of something is wrong with you or your baby. This is a normal pregnancy symptom, in fact, an early symptom of pregnancy. However, if you have urinary tract or bladder infection and your frequent urination is accompanied by symptoms such as painful urination, abdominal pain, fever, and backache, then it could be a cause for concern.

Diagnosis of painful urination

Your doctor would be first asking about your medical history. Then he would be conducting physical examination followed by lab tests, if necessary. To help diagnose the condition, you might be asked following questions:

  • If painful urination occurred suddenly or gradually
  • If it occurred once or several times
  • The onset of the pain during urination
  • If pain is accompanied by fever and abnormal discharge

The doctor may also ask if pain is accompanied by change in the flow of urine such as:

  • Dribbling or slow leak of urine after finishing off
  • Urinary incontinence or increased urge to urinate
  • Problem initiating flow

What does the color and odor of the urine indicate?

You would also be asked about the character of the urine such as color, blood in urine and pus in the urine.

  • Changes in the color may indicate problems with liver, kidneys, and bladder. If the urine is smoky or opaque, you might have kidney or bladder infection.
  • If the urine comes with pus, it could be a sign of urethritis, which is the infection of the urethra.
  • Painful urination with strong odor could indicate other problems such as bacterial infection and interstitial cystitis.
  • If you are experiencing blood in urine accompanied by pain, then it could indicate stones in the urinary tract or some serious medical condition such as cancer. Blood in the urine would appear brownish-red or pinkish in color rather than normal pale yellow. As frightening as it sounds, blood in urine is not normal and one should report to the doctor immediately.

Based on your answers, the doctor will then suggest further course of action including urine tests or other tests to diagnose the condition.

Treatment of painful urination

Depending on the condition, your doctor would suggest following medications:

  • For urinary tract infections, bacterial prostatitis and sexually transmitted infections, antibiotics might be recommended.
  • For irritating bladder, the doctor might give you medications to calm down symptoms. These include anticholinergic drugs such as oxybutynin and trospium to reduce contractions in the bladder causing you to release urine normally.
  • For interstitial cystitis, drugs such as pentosan polysulfate sodium (elmiron), tricyclic antidepressants, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) with codeine would be suggested.

After you start taking medication, painful urination due to bacterial infection typically improves pretty quickly. So, complete your course of medication as prescribed by the doctor to get the best possible results. However, pain related to interstitial cystitis might be a little challenging to deal with as results from the drugs might be slower. You might have to take medication for a longer time, typically 4-5 months to start feeling better.

Besides taking medicines, change in lifestyle will also help right to some extent. Stay away from using scented soaps, lotions and sprays. Also avoid spicy acidic foods and other bladder irritants such as alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners while you are undergoing treatment. As always, check with your doctor if your symptoms are accompanied with other serious symptoms disrupting your day to day living.


Ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder)


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