Dysuria is the medical condition in which the individual experiences pain or discomfort at the time of urinating. The condition is often described as a burning sensation. This disease can affect both males and females. On an estimation, there are more than 10 million cases of Dysuria each year. It is most commonly caused because of bacterial infections of the urinary tract.
Causes of Dysuria
Common conditions in which the patient observes pain while urinating include:
Lower urinary tract infection (cystitis or bladder infection) — Dysuria is the most common symptom of bladder infection or cystitis. Cystitis is a very common condition among women aged from 20 to 50. Such an infection often occurs when the bacteria enter the urethra, the opening from where the urine comes out. Such infections enter the urethra generally during sexual intercourse. Bacteria can also enter the urethra in cases when women or girls wipe with toilet tissue in the wrong way, from back to front. Once the bacteria enter a female’s urethra, it just has a small distance to travel to reach the bladder. In case of men over years of age, a bladder infection is commonly associated with an enlarged prostate or prostate infection.
Upper urinary tract infection (pyelonephritis or kidney infection) — In this condition, the kidney usually gets infected because a bacteria that may have traveled to the kidney from an infection in the bladder. Pyelonephritis is a more common condition among women than in men. Kidney infections occur more in the following cases:
- In case of men with an enlarged prostate
- In case of people suffering from diabetes
- In case of people with abnormal bladder functioning
- In case of people having persistent kidney stones
- In case of children with an abnormal backflow of urine from the bladder back to the kidneys. this condition is called vesicoureteral reflux. It can also occur in case there is an obstruction linked to abnormal development of the urinary tract.
Urethritis — Urethritis is the swelling or inflammation of the urethra. It is usually caused due to sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia and gonorrhea. The condition can also be caused by contact with any irritating chemical like antiseptics, bubble bath chemicals or any spermicides. It can also be caused by irritation from any object like a tube inserted for the purpose to drain the urine.
Vaginitis — Vaginitis is the inflammation or swelling of the female’s vagina. The condition can be caused because of an allergic reaction or an irritating chemical like spermicide or bath soap. The condition can also occur due to a low level of estrogen after menopause, or any object like a tampon that was not removed in time. Vaginitis can also be caused by various infections such as :
- Bacterial Vaginosis
The symptoms of Dysuria depend on the type of infection and the cause of the disease. In certain cases, there may be other symptoms apart from pain when urinating. Other symptoms of the disease include:
- Lower urinary tract infection or Cystitis — In this case, other symptoms include frequent peeing, frequent urge to urinate, loss of control over the bladder, severe pain in the lower front of the abdomen near the bladder, cloudy urine with a strong odor or blood in the urine.
- Upper urinary tract infection or Pyelonephritis —In this case, other symptoms are a pain in the upper back, high fever, and chills, nausea, vomiting, cloudy urine, frequent urge to urinate and peeing frequently.
- Urethritis — There is discharge from the urethra and redness near the opening of the urethra. The patient has a frequent urge to urinate and has abnormal vaginal discharge. Partners of people suffering from urethritis that is a cause of a sexually transmitted disease will often experience similar symptoms.
- Vaginitis — The female experiences pain, irritation or itching in the vagina and has a sore and has an abnormal or foul-smelling vaginal discharge. The patient has cloudy urine with a foul-smelling odor and has pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
Diagnosis of the Condition
Many people experience random or occasional episodes of mild discomfort when they start urinating. Generally, this is caused due to irritation and needs no medical supervision or treatment. However, it is suggested that one should consult their health care professional or doctor if pain while urinating does not go away on its own or lasts longer. Such pain may also get more severe. The doctor will first ask about the symptoms and personal, sanitation and sexual habits of the individual.
During the physical examination, the doctor checks for any tenderness over the kidneys. The doctor then examines the genitals of the patient. In the case of women experiencing such symptoms, the examination may also include a pelvic exam. For men who are suspected to have prostate problems, the diagnosis may further include a digital rectal exam. Upon examination of the patient, if the doctor thinks the patient has a simple bladder infection, it can be confirmed confirm with a urine test in the doctor’s clinic or the hospital itself. To check for urethritis and vaginitis, a swab is taken of the infected area and sent for testing.
If the doctor suspects of the presence of a kidney infection, a urine sample is taken and is then sent to a laboratory to identify and check for the species of bacteria present. If the patient has a fever or feels ill, a blood sample may also be taken and sent to the laboratory to check for any bacteria in the blood. If the patient has dysuria and a has had unprotected sex, especially with multiple partners, the doctor may strongly suggest tests to look for any type of Sexually Transmitted Diseases including Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, Syphilis and HIV.
The time period for which dysuria lasts varies as per individual but basically depends on the cause of the condition. Most people suffering from infections of the urinary tract get relief from the treatment in a few days. In cases where identifying the cause of the disease or condition is more difficult, symptoms may last longer and it may take a little longer for the treatment to give relief.
There are several causes of dysuria. In order to help prevent dysuria caused due to cystitis or pyelonephritis, the patient is suggested to drink several glasses of water each day in order to flush out the urinary tract. To prevent this condition, women should wipe with toilet paper from front to back after a bowel movement. Also, females should urinate and clean right after sexual intercourse to flush out any bacteria that may have entered away from the urethra. Such measures help prevent any bacteria from entering and moving up into the bladder.
To prevent dysuria which is caused by irritation, females should keep the genitals and intimate area fresh, clean and dry. Females should maintain proper hygiene and make sure to change tampons and sanitary napkins regularly and avoid the use of any irritating soaps, vaginal washes or sprays and should strictly say no to douching. To keep away the problem of irritation in young girls, do not take frequent bubble baths and make sure to wash and dry the intimate areas gently and thoroughly after going in the sand. To help prevent dysuria caused in case of sexually transmitted diseases, have safe sex and take precautions such as always use of condoms, especially in case of multiple sexual partners. Condoms can be avoided, at times, in case of only one steady sexual partner.
Treatment of dysuria varies, basically depending on the cause of the disease:
Cystitis and pyelonephritis — Such infections which are usually caused due to any bacteria can be cured with oral antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. Depending on the condition of the patient and extent of the disease, antibiotics may also be given directly into the vein for a severe case of pyelonephritis with symptoms of high fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.
Urethritis — This condition can be treated with antibiotics. The type of antibiotic given to the patient depends completely on the type of infection that causes the disease.
Vaginitis — Trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis can be treated with prescribed antibiotics. Yeast infections can be treated with prescribed antifungal medications. The antifungal drugs may be given as a pill which is to be taken by mouth or as a suppository or cream which has to be inserted into the vagina.
If the patient is sexually active and is being treated for dysuria caused due to a sexually transmitted disease, the sex partner is also suggested to get a check-up and treatment, if required.