What is Dysuria | Everything You Need to Know About

June 02,2021 |
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Dysuria is a medical term that’s used to describe painful urination. It is often equated to a burning sensation and is most often associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs). While everyone can experience dysuria from time to time, women are disproportionately affected. This is due to basic anatomical differences between men and women. Dysuria tends to be felt most prominently in the urethra or surrounding areas and can vary in intensity depending on urine concentration and several other factors. To help you better understand when it’s time to see a doctor, here’s everything you need to know about dysuria.

Common Causes of Dysuria

One thing to understand is that dysuria itself is not a diagnosis or condition. Rather, it’s a symptom of an underlying problem. There are several different things that can cause dysuria, and, in some cases, the cause can be unknown. Some of the more common causes of dysuria include inflammation, irritation, and infection.

  1. Inflammation

    When your bladder or urethra becomes inflamed, it’s often due to some type of irritation or infection. Commonly, inflammation that’s not caused by infection is due to stones present in the urinary tract, urethral irritation from sexual activity, interstitial cystitis, vaginal changes, activities that can irritate the genital area like horseback riding or bicycling, vaginal sensitivity, medicinal side effects, tumors, or treatment plans for a different condition. Finding the underlying cause of inflammation is important in appropriately treating dysuria and avoiding further problems.

  2. Urinary Tract Infection

    More commonly, dysuria is caused by some sort of infection that can create inflammation in the bladder and urethra. One of the leading causes of dysuria is urinary tract infections (UTIs). They can occur throughout your urinary tract and result in a range of unpleasant symptoms like cloudy or foul-smelling urine, pain, and feeling like you need to pass urine frequently. To reduce your chances of developing a UTI, make sure to maintain good hygiene and urinate both before and after sex. If you experience chronic UTIs, talk to your doctor about preventative measures or medication.

  3. Sexually Transmitted Infections

    You may also experience dysuria if you have a yeast infection or a sexually transmitted infection. Dysuria is commonly associated with STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes. You may or may not experience other symptoms from these infections, so the proper testing is required to better understand how to treat your condition. An STI affecting women called trichomoniasis can lead to a vaginal infection (vaginitis) that produces symptoms of dysuria. 

  4. Prostate Infection

    In men, one of the most prevalent causes of dysuria is a prostate infection. This can be the result of a simple bacterial infection. Prostatitis often presents itself with other symptoms in addition to dysuria such as pain in the bladder, testicles, and penis, difficulty ejaculating, frequent urination, nocturia, and difficulty urinating.

  5. Kidney Stones

    Kidney stones are created from the buildup of minerals that turn into hardened stones of varying sizes. These stones are painful to pass, but once done the pain usually subsides. In some instances, kidney stones can become lodged at the intersection where urine enters the bladder. This causes dysuria when you use the bathroom. The symptoms of kidney stones are fairly apparent and if you have trouble passing them, see your doctor for further treatment options. You can also try some remedies to alleviate kidney pain at home. 

  6. Ovarian Cysts

    Ovarian cysts create an external pressure from the ovaries on the bladder, which results in dysuria. Ovarian cysts can be dangerous and lead to infertility, so getting the proper treatment is essential. If you have ovarian cysts, you’ll also experience sporadic or unusual vaginal bleeding, pain in the pelvic region, dull aching in the lower back, and painful periods. See your doctor if you think you may have ovarian cysts or other reproductive issues.

  7. Interstitial Cystitis

    Interstitial cystitis is a condition that results in the chronic irritation of your bladder. It’s also referred to as painful bladder syndrome and lasts 6 weeks or more despite the presence of no infection. Diagnosing interstitial cystitis is essential to the proper treatment and management. See your urologist if you think you may be experiencing any urologic condition that causes dysuria.

  8. Chemical Sensitivity

    Our bodies can be sensitive and sometimes, harsh chemicals cause irritation or inflammation. This can lead to dysuria. If you begin to experience painful urination and are using new products like soaps, scented toilet paper or tampons, lubricants, or contraceptives, discontinue use immediately and monitor your symptoms. If they go away, then your dysuria was likely caused by chemical sensitivity. If they don’t see your doctor for further testing.

  9. Medication

Medications can have a wide array of side effects, some of them being dysuria. If you’ve just started a new medication or have recently changed your dosage and begin to experience painful urination, talk to your doctor. There may be an alternative medication that won’t produce dysuria available for you to try.

If you think you have any kind of infection, or are experiencing symptoms of dysuria, see your doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Dysuria Risk Factors

Both men and women can experience dysuria, but it is far more common in women. This is due to the association of painful urination and UTIs, which affect women more often than men thanks to anatomical differences in the genitals and urinary tract system.

You will also be at a higher risk for experiencing dysuria if you’re pregnant. Both men and women with diabetes experience dysuria at higher rates than those without diabetes. Finally, if you have any type of bladder disease, risk for dysuria increases.

How to Prevent Dysuria

Since the most common cause of dysuria is a UTI, the same preventative measures apply. If you’re a woman, make sure you wipe from front to back and try to urinate both before and after sex to clear the urethra of any residual bacteria. If you wear pads, change them when they’re soiled and always practice good hygiene. It’s also important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. The more often you urinate throughout the day, the more your urethra will be flushed of bad bacteria. If you’re experiencing chronic dysuria or UTIs, talk to your doctor about other measures you can take. If you’re prone to kidney stones, make some lifestyle changes to help prevent their development.

How Dysuria is Diagnosed

Since dysuria itself isn’t technically a diagnosis, you’ll need to undergo testing to better identify what is causing the painful urination. If you notice any of the above symptoms of dysuria, make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor or urologist. Some of the underlying causes are mild and can be treated easily, but other causes can be severe and, in some instances, life threatening.

For the proper diagnosis, your doctor will discuss your medical history and any current symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also need to discuss past medical conditions and any immunodeficiency disorders. Screening for STIs is done to rule out easily treatable causes of dysuria along with a urinalysis test for UTI causing bacteria. Oftentimes, a pregnancy test is administered for women. These are easily performed tests and explain a direct underlying cause. If they are not the cause behind painful urination, further testing may be done to look for more serious conditions. A lack of infection present means that you may be facing something chronic or more complicated.

Treating Dysuria

Treatment for dysuria depends on the underlying cause. In most cases, a simple antibiotic can be taken to clear up the infection, reduce inflammation, and relieve painful urination. If your dysuria is caused by some type of irritation or sensitivity, your doctor will have you avoid the potential source to monitor symptoms. If you have a more severe underlying condition, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan such as in the case of bladder or prostate conditions.

While waiting for your treatment to alleviate your discomfort, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water and wear lose fitting clothing. If the pain is too severe, talk to your doctor about medications to help address painful urination while the other treatments take effect.

Regardless of your urological conditions, getting the proper supplies in a timely, discretionary manner can help make your life easier. Byram Healthcare has a range of urology related products to help you manage your conditions and live a happier, healthier life.