Painful Urination (Dysuria): Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Burning pain with urination (dysuria) is a common symptom of a urinary tract infection or other urinary problems. The bladder may become inflamed. This can cause pain when the bladder fills and empties. You may also feel pain if the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body (urethra) gets irritated or infected.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) also may cause pain when you urinate.

Sometimes the pain can be caused by things other than an infection. The urethra can be irritated by soaps, perfumes, or foreign objects in the urethra. Kidney stones can cause pain when they pass through the urethra.

The cause may be hard to find. You may need tests. Treatment for painful urination depends on the cause.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Drink extra water for the next day or two. This will help make the urine less concentrated. (If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.)
  • Avoid drinks that are carbonated or have caffeine. They can irritate the bladder.
  • Urinate often. Try to empty your bladder each time.

For women:

  • Urinate right after you have sex.
  • After going to the bathroom, wipe from front to back.
  • Avoid douches, bubble baths, and feminine hygiene sprays. And avoid other feminine hygiene products that have deodorants.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new symptoms, such as fever, nausea, or vomiting.
  • You have new or worse symptoms of a urinary problem. For example:
    • You have blood or pus in your urine.
    • You have chills or body aches.
    • It hurts worse to urinate.
    • You have groin or belly pain.
    • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage (the flank area).

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.