The term “dysuria” means pain or burning while urinating. What can be the causes of its presence, and who to turn to?

Dysuria: The Traits of Pain upon Urination

Dysuria is a symptom that the patient may experience on multiple occasions. Pain can appear either upon urination, during the passage along the urethra, and/or even more simply when the bladder is full.

 The organs affected by dysuria are several:

  • Urethra – the channel that joins the bladder and allows urine to flow out of the body;
  • Bladder;
  • Prostate (in men).

Patients who experience burning and pain during urination may have:

  • A bladder and/or lower urinary tract infection;
  • An irritative urge, possibly related to the possible presence of bladder lesions;
  • A bladder emptying problem due to an obstructing prostatic hypertrophy resulting in obstruction of urine outflow along the urethra.

Why does one feel pain during urination?

Dysuria in women is a widespread disorder and can be due to “lower urinary tract” infections. We thus speak of urinary tract infections, mainly referring to bacterial colonization in the bladder, such as cystitis, and in the urethra, such as urethritis. The urethra is much shorter in women than in men, and the intestinal dysbiosis that is more present in the female sex facilitates the entry of bacteria, which can ascend into the bladder and multiply.

Therefore, women tend to be more affected by this symptom than men. Many bacteria that cause urinary infections – such as E. coli – regularly live in the intestines, but if they migrate into the urinary tract, they can become aggressive.

In men, dysuria is often related to benign prostatic hypertrophy, a widespread condition resulting in obstruction and difficulty emptying the bladder.

In cases of prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate, dysuria may be indicative of the condition.

Lastly, burning and pain upon urination may reveal some sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, which are often further associated with the emission of urethral discharge. These symptoms may also occur when small lithiasis fragments are expelled or in the case of the onset of pyelonephritis (infection of the kidneys). In this case, the symptom is often associated with hip pain and high fever.

What to Do in Case of Pain Upon Urination?

To treat the symptoms, knowing the cause of pain is essential. You should always consult your doctor first, who will also check for other signs that are often related to urinary tract infection or prostatitis, such as:

  • Increased body temperature;
  • Macroscopic hematuria (the presence of blood in the urine);
  • Pelvic-perineal pain.

The physician may use tests such as urine culture with possible antibiogram, urinalysis, ultrasound of the urinary tract – to be performed with a full bladder – and possibly urinary cytology on three specimens. After the consultation, the most appropriate treatment will be determined.

If a bladder lesion is present, endoscopic resection surgery will be required; if, on the other hand, there is obstruction from benign prostatic hypertrophy, the main option is always to prescribe a medical therapy to resolve the dysuria (the surgical option comes only after the failure of medical therapy). In case of urinary tract infection, antibiotic therapy will be prescribed depending on the antibiogram, which will help determine which treatment is most effective against the germ responsible for the infection.