Dysuria (Painful Urination)

What is Dysuria (Painful Urination)?

Dysuria is the sensation of pain, burning, or discomfort on urination. The pain may be in the lower part of the abdomen, along the length of the penis in males or at the urethral opening in females. It is a symptom which can be due to many different conditions. 


Causes of Dysuria (Painful Urination)

The most common cause of acute dysuria is infection, especially cystitis (infection of the bladder). Other infectious causes include urethritis (infection of the urinary tube) and vaginitis (infection of the vaginal canal). Infections of the prostate may also cause dysuria. These can be due to sexually transmitted infections (STI) or non-STI infections. 

Non-infectious causes can include a foreign body in the urinary tract, certain medication use, urinary tube anatomic abnormalities, trauma, and bladder pain syndrome. Certain autoimmune and psychogenic conditions can cause dysuria as well. 

Dysuria may be accompanied by other symptoms including urinary frequency and urgency, vaginal or penile discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, foul-smelling or blood stained urine, fever and swollen groin lymph nodes.  


Evaluation

The doctor will usually start off with taking a history and performing a physical examination. Crucially, the doctor will also order up some urine tests to be done. These tests can usually tell us the exact organism that is causing the infection. Depending on what the doctor might suspect, other investigations such as radiological investigations (x-rays, ultrasounds or CT scans) and blood tests may be done. If necessary, a urologist may do a scope of the bladder (cystoscopy) as well.


Treatment for Painful Urination

Most of the time, the reason is usually due to a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. For bacterial infections, antibiotics are given to kill off the infection. The type and duration of antibiotics depends on the type of bacteria. Antibiotics in the form of an injection may be given as well. 

If the cause of dysuria is due to a STI, it is imperative that we ensure the bacteria is eliminated completely, and that your sexual partners are tested and treated as well. It is also recommended to screen for other STIs. 

Other symptomatic treatment for dysuria can include medications to ease the discomfort on urination or the other symptoms like urinary frequency and urgency. While these medications do not clear the bacteria by itself, when used in conjunction with the antibiotics, they can provide much needed relief for symptoms that can otherwise be very uncomfortable.

If you do experience dysuria, do not hesitate and seek medical attention and treatment early.

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