Dysuria is the term used to identify pain or discomfort when urinating. Although dysuria is more common in women, both men and women of any age can experience painful urination. The pain or discomfort has often been described as a mild to a moderate burning sensation in the urethra. For some, the pain can be quite severe. In most cases, symptoms usually dissipate after treatment is administered, but in some cases, this can be a sign of bigger problems. It is important to see a doctor and get properly diagnosed and treated.
What causes painful urination?
There are many causes of painful urination, some include:
Medication - Some medications like ones for blood pressure, sleeping pills, and some antidepressants can cause painful or frequent urination.
Diet - What you eat and drink can also cause painful urination. Some spicy or acidic foods, as well as carbonated drinks, caffeine and alcohol, may irritate those with sensitive bladders.
Infection, disease, or injury of the bladder - Bladder infections, yeast infections in women, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and other infections like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause painful urination.
Chemical sensitivity - Using a new laundry detergent or body wash/soap can also cause irritation and ultimately pain when urinating.
Conditions that increase urine production - Diabetes, as an example, can cause more frequent urination. And with an increased frequency, the urethra may become irritated and cause a burning sensation.
Sexual intercourse - Sometimes sexual intercourse may have caused tearing or inflammation. This could be due to a lack of lubrication. Sometimes it is a sign of something more serious, so seeking medical attention is recommended.
Bladder or kidney stones - Stones in the bladder or kidneys are a collection of material such as uric acid and calcium that build up over time and form hardened crystals. Sometimes these stones will get lodged near the area where urine enters the bladder, which can cause painful urination.
Cysts - Both men and women can experience cysts in the bladder, and women can experience cysts in the ovaries as well. These cysts can press against the bladder or ovaries, causing painful urination.
Bladder cancer - Painful urination is not necessarily a sign of bladder cancer, rather, blood in the urine is more a possible sign of such disease. It is always a good idea to see a doctor and be properly diagnosed. You should never self diagnose.
What are the symptoms of dysuria?
Depending on what’s causing the problem, you may experience:
- Pain or discomfort during urination
- A strong, sudden urge to urinate
- Difficulty urinating
- Loss of bladder control
- Unusual urine colour and/or smell
How is dysuria treated?
Occasional discomfort while urinating is not uncommon and can be experienced by anyone at any age. But if it is persistent, or if it's accompanied by other symptoms including fever, back pain, abdominal pain, abnormal discharge from the vagina or urethra, or if the pain worsens, it is important to see a doctor.
Because there are so many possible causes of dysuria, a proper diagnosis is needed. And diagnosing dysuria requires a physical examination. A physical exam, blood test and urine test will likely be ordered to determine the cause.
Once diagnosed, treatment can begin. Conventional treatment of dysuria can include:
- Oral antibiotics for bacterial infections (STDs, UTIs, bladder infections)
- Antifungal medications for vaginal yeast infections
- Pain killers in some circumstances
Can I treat dysuria naturally?
There are simple things you can do to help ease the symptoms of dysuria, or you can incorporate them into your lifestyle for prevention:
Water - Drink more water. This may seem counteractive since it will increase your need to urinate even more, but this is essential as it will help to flush out the toxins and help reduce the pain and irritation. If you are experiencing dysuria, it is recommended to drink 2-4 litres of water a day.
Probiotics - Probiotics are the good bacteria, and adding some to your diet can help fight the bad bacteria and fungi that can cause dysuria. Probiotics have also been known to counteract the negative side effects of antibiotics if you need to take them.
Ginger - Ginger is known for its antibacterial properties and therefore helps to fight infection. Raw ginger, ginger tea, or ginger supplements can help prevent dysuria as well as other infections.
Cardamom - Cardamom has natural antibacterial properties and has therefore been used for generations as a natural breath freshener. It also aids in digestion and improves circulation. It also acts as a diuretic and helps to flush out toxins and retained water.
Vitamin C - Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune boosters available, so taking a high-quality supplement and eating foods rich in it are good ways to strengthen your immune system so that you're able to fight infection more effectively.
What can I do if I am prone to urinary tract infections?
If you are prone to urinary tract infections, there are some things you can do to help prevent them:
Always stay hydrated/drink plenty of water - This is a simple way you can flush out your system of toxins and bacteria out of the bladder and urinary tract before it can settle in
Relieve yourself when you need to - Don't hold back - when nature calls, answer!
Wipe from front to back - Keeping the urethral area clean, especially after a bowel movement is very important, especially for those who are prone to infection.
Wash up before and after sex, and urinate after sex - Using a mild soap and water, wash up before sex to limit the number of bacteria that can transfer during intercourse. Afterward, urinate to wash out bacteria that may otherwise remain trapped.
Avoid irritating feminine products - Feminine washes, douche, and other products that claim to cleanse the area are often full of chemicals and can be very irritating. Simple mild soap and water is the best option.
Incorporate cranberry juice and/or supplements into your diet - Cranberries have been known to prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract, so incorporating them into your diet may help with prevention.
Rethink your birth control - Diaphragms, spermicides and spermicidal condoms can all contribute to bacterial growth, so trying something different may help cut down on infections. Talk to your doctor to explore your options.
Should I see a doctor?
You should see your doctor if you are experiencing painful urination or blood in the urine and any these other symptoms:
- Frequent urination and an urgent need to urinate
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- An abnormal vaginal or urethral discharge