Painful Urination in Men: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Painful urination can happen to anyone. It’s a prevalent condition that both men suffer from.

If you are experiencing any discomfort when you urinate, you may be worried that it is caused by something serious.

The good news is that pain with urination can be caused by a variety of conditions, most of which can be easily treated.

When you visit your doctor, he may refer to your painful urination as dysuria. This is the general term for painful urination, no matter the cause.

Now that we know what painful urination is let’s take a closer look at its causes, symptoms, and how it can be treated.

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What causes painful urination?

There are many different causes of painful urination. The pain may not even be coming from your urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body. It could also be originating from your bladder, kidneys, ureters, or perineum!

Urinary tract infections

The most common cause of pain with urination is a urinary tract infection (UTI). This occurs when any area of the urinary tract, including the urethra, bladder, and kidneys, becomes inflamed or infected by pathogens.

Women are more prone to contracting UTIs because their urethras are shorter than men’s. This means the bacteria do not have to travel as far to infect the bladder or kidneys, but men can also develop them. Having diabetes, an enlarged prostate, or kidney stones can increase your chances of developing a urinary tract infection.

Sexually transmitted disease

Another common reason for pain on urination is sexually transmitted infections or STIs. Chlamydia, genital herpes, and gonorrhea can all cause pain while urinating. STIs can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can also cause painful urination.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can sometimes cause pain while urinating. You may experience difficulty when you urinate as well. These hardened masses of material in the kidneys can lodge themselves in the area where urine enters the bladder. This can also cause abdominal pain.


Sometimes medications can cause side effects that include painful urination.

When these treatments irritate the bladder, the body reacts similarly to when there is a UTI and causes an overactive bladder. If you think your prescribed medication is causing your painful urination, do not stop taking the medication. Check with your doctor first to confirm that this is the cause!

Prostate disease

Painful urination in men is caused by either prostatitis or BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

Prostatitis is also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome. This is caused by inflammation of the prostate gland by either bacteria or an STI. This is a very common cause of discomfort while urinating in men and may also cause pain in the bladder, penis, and testicles.

BPH causes an enlarged prostate gland. This condition naturally occurs as men age. Since prostatitis and BPH are more common in older men, they are also the most likely to experience painful urination.

Bladder cancer

Very rarely, painful urination can be a sign of cancer. Bladder cancer is the most common type of cancer that may cause painful urination. This is likely a result of the cancer cells that are developing in the bladder and causing inflammation.

However, usually, the first sign of bladder cancer is blood in your urine. You may also develop a tumor in your urinary tract, which can cause pain and lead to trouble passing urine.

What are the symptoms of painful urination?

Painful urination can feel differently for different people. Most people describe painful urination as stinging, burning, or itching. However, any type of discomfort while you urinate is considered painful urination. This also includes pain immediately after you urinate.

Depending on what causes your painful urination, you may have other symptoms.

Common UTI symptoms include feeling like you need to urinate frequently, having foul-smelling urine that is cloudy or bloody, and pain in your back. If the infection is severe enough, you may also have a fever.

If an STI causes painful urination, this pain may be the only symptom. Occasionally, itching, burning, and abnormal discharge may be present.

Other symptoms often associated with painful urination include pain in the genitalia, difficulty urinating, producing small amounts of urine, a weak stream of urine, voiding dysfunction, pressure on your bladder, painful intercourse, redness, swelling, or itching around your genitals, and irritation.

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How can I prevent painful urination?

You can prevent painful urination in several ways! First, avoid any laundry detergent or toiletries that contain fragrances or dyes. This will significantly reduce your risk of developing irritation.

You may need to change how you dress if you suffer from frequent UTIs. Avoid wearing tight clothing and always change out of sweaty, wet underwear and clothes as soon as possible. This will keep bacteria from growing!

Next, you can make changes to your diet. Eliminate foods that can irritate your bladder.

These foods include artificial sweeteners, tomatoes, spicy foods, and citrus fruits. Both alcohol and caffeine should be avoided. Caffeine in drinks like coffee and tea can build up in your urine, making it more painful to void.

Drinking plenty of water can also help prevent painful urination because it dilutes the urine, making it less painful to pass. Staying hydrated also means that any bacteria that are in your bladder or kidneys will be flushed out. If you have chronic bladder infections, drinking cranberry juice may help prevent them!

Finally, if you are sexually active, be sure to use a condom every time you have intercourse. This is especially true if you have multiple partners. Getting tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases is also a good idea. You may not know you have an STD because many of these infections do not have cause any symptoms.

When should I see a Doctor?

You should see a doctor if your painful urination lasts for over 24 hours and also includes blood-tinged urine (which can look pink, brown, or red), pain in your side or back, or an unusual discharge from your genitalia.

If you are running a fever, have chills, nausea, vomiting, back pain, or blood in your urine, then you should see a doctor right away. These are signs of an infection, and you should be treated with antibiotics immediately.

If you have more severe symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, bone pain, or swollen feet, then see a doctor immediately as these are symptoms of bladder cancer.

How is painful urination diagnosed

Be sure to tell your doctor all of your symptoms. This will help them make the right decision about the course of treatment.

Your doctor will also want to know how long you have had your symptoms and whether they occurred suddenly or gradually. They will also want to know if you have any trouble urinating or a weak stream. They will also ask if you feel pain when you begin urinating or after.

Once they have taken your history and symptoms, your doctor will perform a physical exam. They will also take a urine sample to test for a UTI.

Your urine sample will be analyzed for both red and white blood cells and any foreign chemicals.

Your doctor will look for white blood cells in your urine to see if you have a bacterial infection. They can also take a culture of your urine to determine what bacteria is causing the infection. After they get these results, you may need further testing, or they will have a diagnosis and can prescribe medication.

Treatment options for painful urination

Antibiotics are used to treat both UTIs and STIs. They can also be used for bacterial prostatitis, in addition to alpha-blockers, a medication that relaxes the muscles around the penis, to relieve pain. You may also take over the counter pain medication to soothe any pain or inflammation.

Once your doctor prescribes medication, be sure to take all of it and follow the instructions for taking it. If you do not finish your course of antibiotics, you may not completely rid yourself of the infection, even if you feel better after a day or two!

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Painful urination is a common condition that affects both men and women. Although the condition is more prevalent in women, men should keep in mind that they are more prone to this condition as they get older.

Regular STD testing can help you prevent this condition, as well as avoiding scented toiletries and detergents. It is imperative never to ignore pain on urination. If your symptoms persist, see your doctor.

An untreated infection can lead to severe consequences and should be treated as quickly as possible. In addition to avoiding complications from an infection, your doctor can also prescribe medication that will relieve your pain quickly so you can get back to living your regular life!

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  1. Bremnor JD1, Sadovsky R.. (2002). Evaluation of dysuria in adults.. AMERICAN FAMILY PHYSICIAN. 65 (8), p1589-1596.
  2. Wrenn K. Dysuria, Frequency, and Urgency. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 181.
  3. Bueschen AJ. Flank Pain. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 182.

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