What are the causes of painful urination?

Written by jennifer s. wright
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What are the causes of painful urination?
Contact your doctor if urinating causes you pain. (CamiloTorres/iStock/Getty Images)

Painful urination can be a symptom of several infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, prostatitis, urinary tract infection (UTI) and vaginitis. Most of these infections can be easily treated by your physician with certain antibiotics. To prevent complications from a prolonged infection, contact your GP for further guidance and possible treatment if you experience painful urination.


Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) of the genitals that may not have any symptoms, especially at the beginning of the infection. Signs and symptoms of chlamydia can include lower abdominal pain, painful urination, discharge from the vagina or penis, testicular pain in men and painful intercourse for women.


Gonorrhoea is an STD that affects the throat, rectum and the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder (urethra) of women and men. Gonorrhoea can also infect the cervix in a woman. Signs and symptoms will vary depending on the location infected.

Symptoms of gonorrhoea infecting a man's urethra include swelling or pain in one testicle, painful urination and a puslike discharge from the tip of the penis. Signs of gonorrhoea infection in a woman's cervix or urethra can include painful urination, increased vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding between periods.


Prostatitis is an infection of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a male organ that is beneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra. Signs and symptoms of prostatitis can include pain or burning with urination, painful ejaculations, difficulty urinating, discomfort or pain in the penis or testicles, frequent urination, urgent need to urinate, pain between the rectum and penis and pain in the groin, abdomen or lower back. Additional symptoms can include chills, nausea, vomiting and high fever.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be an infection in any part of your urinary system, which consists of the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys. Signs and symptoms of a UTI can include blood in the urine, cloudy urine, foul-smelling urine, frequent urination of small amounts, consistently strong urge to urinate and a burning or painful sensation with urination.

If the infection is in your kidneys (acute pyelonephritis) additional side effects can include nausea, vomiting, high fever, chills and upper back or side pain. If the infection affects your bladder (cystitis), side effects can also include pelvic pressure, low-grade fever and lower abdominal discomfort.


Vaginitis is a vaginal infection. The four most common types of vaginitis are bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, trichomoniasis and atrophic vaginitis. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an alteration in the balance of vaginal bacteria. Yeast infections are caused by a fungus. Trichomoniasis is an STD caused by a parasite. Atrophic vaginitis is due to the natural changes in the vagina after menopause, which causes thinner and drier vaginal tissue that can lead to pain, burning or itching.

Symptoms of vaginitis can include painful urination, painful intercourse, vaginal irritation or itching, light vaginal bleeding and a change in the amount, odour or colour of discharge from your vagina. Bacterial vaginosis can also cause a greyish-white discharge with a fishlike odour. Yeast infections can additionally cause a thick, white discharge resembling cottage cheese. Another symptom of trichomoniasis may be a greenish-yellow discharge that may appear frothy.

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