Painful urination, which is also known as dysuria, is a common condition that affects both males and females. This condition is mostly as a result of an infection present within the urinary tract.

The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, the ureter, the urinary bladder, and the urethra. The common culprit of dysuria is a bladder infection or an infection that can be found within the urethra.

Although dysuria is commonly attributed to urinary tract infections, however, urinary tract infections are not the only causes of a painful urination. Another common cause is sexually transmitted diseases, which may include gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and so on.

Patients who have complained of painful urination(dysuria) have shown signs and symptoms of having a burning sensation while urinating, feeling the need always to urinate, although more often than not, it is painful.

Causes of dysuria

Dysuria is often caused by urinary tract infections, also known as UTIs. When either the kidneys, the ureter, the bladder, or the urethra has a form of infection within it, it can lead to one having intense pains while urinating.

Generally, infections such as cystitis(which is as a result of an infection of the bladder, which leads to inflammation of the bladder tissues), pyelonephritis( which is caused as a result of infection within the kidneys which causes inflammation of the renal tissues) etc have been seen to be the common causes of dysuria.

There are significant causes of dysuria which includes;

1. Lower urinary tract infections

Lower urinary tract infections include diseases such as cystitis, which is otherwise known as bladder infections. This infection is common among women within the age bracket of 20-50 years.

Generally, this infection often starts when bacteria enter the urethral opening where urine comes on. Bacteria gets to enter into this opening during sexual intercourse.

One of the major ways by which bacteria can enter this opening is when women are trying to clean themselves up, especially after urination or defecation.

Women often make the mistake of cleaning themselves up by using a tissue to wipe from back to front, thereby transferring bacteria from the anal opening at the back to the urethral opening at the front.

Once bacteria enter the urethra, it is almost impossible to stop it from entering the bladder, and this is because the urethra is only a short distance to the bladder (3-4cm), especially in females.

However, lower urinary tract infections also affect males. For males who are above the age of 50, a bladder infection or cystitis is often associated with a prostate infection, which causes prostatitis. One of the symptoms of prostatitis is a visibly enlarged prostate.

2. Upper Urinary Tract infections

Upper Urinary Tract infections often refer to infections that mostly affect the kidneys. A kidney can get affected when bacteria travels from the urinary bladder up unto the kidneys through the ureter.

The kidneys are connected to the bladder by a pair of ureters. Hence, once there is an infection present within the bladders, that infection can enter the kidneys by swimming up through the ureter.

Once kidney infections occur, it will cause painful urination, and this condition is known as pylenonephrititis.

3. Adenovirus

This kind of infection is a common infection that is often mistaken for urinary tract infections. This infection hardly presents any sort of symptom.

Adenovirus has been seen to be the source of other diseases such as bladder infections, diarrhea, encephalitis, and so on.

The signs and symptoms of this infection are primarily dependent on the kind of virus that is causing it.

4. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is an infection that mostly plagues women. This infection is often gotten via sexual intercourse, and women are mainly at the receiving end of this infection.

Chlamydia often causes diseases such as urethritis, which eventually will lead to the inflammation of the urethra.

5. Vaginitis

Vaginitis occurs when the tissue walls of the vagina become inflamed. Vagina infection often occurs due to the presence of a harmful allergic reaction to a particular foreign substance. In most cases, these foreign substances are chemicals.

When you introduce chemical agents such as soaps, scented oils, spermicide, and so on into the vagina, you tend to upset the chemical balance within the vagina, and this will cause irritation of the vagina walls leading to an inflammation which will in turn cause dysuria to occur.

Also, a low level of estrogen, which is often triggered by menopause, as well as foreign objects such as tampons that had been left for an extended period within the vagina walls, can causes irritations of the vagina wall which will, in turn, lead to dysuria.

Symptoms of dysuria

The most common symptom of dysuria is painful urination. However, this isn’t the only symptom one could experience. Other signs that have been recorded to be associated with dysuria include:

1. Fever

Fever is often caused when there is an infection within the body system. Once a person has dysuria, the most likely symptom to accompany it is the fever.

2. A stronger-smelling or foul-smelling urine

When your urine begins to have a strong smell, then you should know that it is time for you to visit your doctor as it could be a sign of dysuria.

3. Cloudy or bloody urine

Another symptom of dysuria that one should take note of is hematuria(characterized by blood in the urine) or when your urine becomes dark and cloudy.

4. Increased urge to urinate frequently

When you always have an increased urge to pee all the time, even though it feels excruciating, it is time to visit your doctor, as this could be a sign of dysuria.

5. Mild pains

There are times when you are urinating, but you aren’t experiencing severe pains; instead, you feel slight pains. Whenever you experience this, you should visit your doctor as urination isn’t expected to be painful.

6. Itching

This is mostly noticed just immediately after urinating. This symptom is mainly seen when dysuria is caused as a result of a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia.

7. Burning

Burning is also a sign that one has dysuria, which was caused as a result of sexually transmitted diseases.

8. Sores and blisters

When you notice that you have begun to have painful sores and blisters just around your vagina or penis, then you should know that this is a classic sign of genital, herpes which is often accompanied by dysuria.

9. Flank pains

When you experience pains at your sides or your back while urinating, it may be a classic sign of dysuria.


When experiencing dysuria, you must meet your doctor or physician for treatment.