Painful Urination – 7 Common Reasons Why It Hurts To Pee

2012-03-16 | |
Last updated: 2019-10-20

Whether it is from too many coffees, teas or super-sized soft drinks, we have little ability to argue when our bladder calls. Our attempts to put off the inevitable are countered with increasing levels of discomfort and ultimately pain until the needs of the bladder are met. When we do successfully find that sometimes elusive toilet, we experience a short feeling of relief. That is, until the next time our bladder would have us do its bidding.

While this is the “normal” discomfort and pain that we might expect every so often from our urinary system, it is by no means the only type of message that this region of the body might choose to send. The human body frequently uses pain to tell us that all is not well. When it comes to painful urination or dysuria, this is especially important. That is because dozens of different conditions can all result in different types of pain that appear when we urinate.

Pain Severity Does Not Indicate Severity Of The Problem

In addition to several different types of pain being associated with urination, the severity of the pain experienced when urinating can vary considerably. However, it it is important to realize that the severity of the pain does not necessarily relate to the severity of the condition causing the pain. Because of this, it makes sense to seek medical treatment whenever it hurts to urinate for more than a short period of time.

Often doctors will request a urine test to diagnose the problem.

What Conditions Cause Pain When Urinating?

The following are 7 common relative common reasons why it can hurt to urinate.

1. Painful Urination From Infections

By far, the leading reason that people experience pain when urinating is as a result of infection. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can involve any stretch of our internal tubing from the kidneys to the bladder to the point of exit. Such infections are usually the result of E. Coli bacterial invasion but can also involve other bacteria in some situations. Even a yeast infection can lead to pain.

Urinary Tract Infections are extremely common. The odds that a woman will develop such an infection are 50 to 60% in her lifetime. This is part of the reason that UTIs are the most common form of infection that women face. In contrast, men have only one quarter the risk faced by women. It is only among seniors that the relative risk of a urinary tract infection by gender starts to become closer because the risks increase for both men and women.

2. Prostate Inflammation Causing Urination Pain

While the previous section described how women are more prone to infections that can cause pain, over their lifetimes, men also have significant risks for developing pain when urinating. Research from the National Institutes of Health found that about 50% of men will develop infection or inflammation of the prostate gland over their lifetimes. The researchers also found that as many as 1 in 10 men are experiencing the condition, called prostatis, at any given time.

Men with the condition can experience intense pain. Yet, research from Queen’s University in 2000 indicated only 60% sought medical assistance.

3. Enlarged Prostates Make Urination Painful

Urinary pain can also appear as a result of other problems with the prostate gland. In particular, an enlarged prostate or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) can lead to painful urination. With 50% of men having an enlarged prostate at age 50 and 75% of 80-year-old men having an oversized prostate, the number of men at risk for pain from this condition is significant.

This is despite the fact that urination pain from BPH is not considered common. According to research from Massachusetts General Hospital, 2% of men who sought treatment for an enlarged prostate did so because of pain. Even though 2% may seem like a small number, when we consider the large number of men with the condition, any full percentage point of the population means a lot of people suffer and live with the pain.

4. Interstitial Cystitis And Painful Urination

In contrast to conditions of the prostate that are obviously exclusive to men, interstitial cystitis is a disorder where the vast majority of sufferers are women. The condition is yet another that can lead to painful urination symptoms. In fact, the condition is otherwise known as painful bladder syndrome. Depending on studies, as many as 1 million US residents live with this condition of often chronic pain.

The symptoms of the condition can vary considerably but have a striking resemblance to the feelings that one gets when they feel that they really have to urinate. The real difference is of the course the severity. But, a more important difference is how often symptoms appear – as many as 60 times per day for some people.

5. Pain When Urinating Because of Bladder and Kidney Stones

Aside from conditions affecting one gender more than another, other conditions such as kidney and bladder stones are a common cause of urinary pain to both men and women. Within the population, approximately 5% of people suffer from the development of such stones. Although there are many types of kidney stones, they all cause pain in the same manner.

The reason that kidney and bladder stones cause pain is because of how they leave the body. When exiting the body, these stones pass through the narrow tubing from kidney to bladder and from bladder to exit. In moving through these tubes, the stones can obstruct flow, causing pain due to pressure. They can also cause pain by scratching the walls as they pass through. Regardless of the specific cause, anyone who has experienced a kidney stone can attest to the often severe pain involved.

6. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Burning Urination

Another group of conditions with no difference in pain based on gender are some of the sexually transmitted diseases. Conditions such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes can each cause a burning feeling when urinating. As one of the most common STDs in the US, approximately 1.2 million cases of chlamydia are reported each year. Not too far behind, however, the CDC estimates 700,000 new gonorrhea cases annually. While herpes is far more common with roughly 1 in 6 adults affected, painful urination from the condition is much less common.

7. Cancers And Pain While Urinating

The last conditions to mention that can lead to painful urination are numerous types of cancer. Among them, bladder cancer, one of the top 5 to 10 most common cancers, can readily lead to painful urination and blood in the urine. So too can prostate cancer, the number two cancer killer of men. Endometrial cancer, a cancer of the womb’s or uterus’s lining, can readily lead to pain when urinating.

It is not just the most common cancers that can lead to urination pain either. Other less frequent cancers such as cancer of the vulva may lead to these same symptoms. What this all points to is the need to get checked out when it hurts to pee.


In most situations, the only discomfort that we will feel with respect to urination is when we occasionally have difficulty getting to a toilet. However, when urination does cause pain, seeking medical treatment is certainly a wise response. With dozens of possible reasons why it can hurt to pee, determining the exact reason will require some effort from a doctor. The key is to remember that the severity of the pain is not a good way of deciding whether or not to get medical treatment; even mild pain may be significant, especially if it persists.

Related Links

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Disease Information, General Health, Symptom Information

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Angel says:

    My husband says its hurt when he pees… It started yesterday. What can be the cause? Is it an infection? And how come I don’t have it?

    • admin says:

      There can be many causes for pain when urinating and many of them are not related to diseases that you “can catch”. Something as simple as a tiny kidney stone passing through the system can lead to pain when urinating. On the other hand, some diseases that you can catch may not show symptoms in everyone. The best bet is to get checked out if the symptoms have not gone away on their own.