What Is Dysuria? - Definition, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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  • 0:00 Definition and Symptoms
  • 0:59 Causes of Dysuria
  • 2:19 Treatments for Dysuria
  • 3:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Lynee Carter
Expert Contributor
Christianlly Cena

Christianlly has taught college physics and facilitated laboratory courses. He has a master's degree in Physics and is pursuing his doctorate study.

In this lesson, you will learn about dysuria, including common symptoms, causes, and treatments. You will also discover how symptoms differ between males and females.

Dysuria Definition and Symptoms

Pain can be an annoying when you experience it every time you urinate. Since urinating is a daily activity, you might find yourself dreading bathroom visits and eventually avoiding them altogether, which can make things worse. What's being described here is known as dysuria.

This is a medical term used to describe uncomfortable or painful urination. This pain can occur before and after you urinate. Some people say they have an irritating or burning feeling in the tube where the urine comes out of the body, called the urethra. Other people have pain in their abdomen, flank, or back.

They may complain of feeling like they have to urinate several times a day (urinary frequency) or like they have to urinate immediately (urinary urgency); however, when they go to the bathroom, very little urine comes out. Men are also more likely than women to complain of taking longer to begin urinating even though they feel the urge to go (called urinary hesitancy).


Causes of Dysuria

There are several reasons a person may have dysuria. The most common cause is a form of a urinary tract infection, or UTI. When bacteria enters the body, it can quickly multiply and become very irritating to the urinary tract. This can lead to infections in the urethra, bladder, and kidney. It can even cause prostate infections in men.

One of the most common bacteria that causes UTI's is Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, which is found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Because there is a shorter distance between the urethra and the rectum in women, bacteria from the GI tract can easily get into the urinary tract. This is the reason women are more likely to have UTI's more than men.


Irritation, trauma, and obstruction to the urinary system are other issues that can lead to dysuria. A person may be sensitive to certain soaps, detergents, lotions, and perfumes that can stimulate an allergic reaction in the urethra. There are also injuries from catheter placement, lesions, or any disruption of the tissue that can cause discomfort when coming in contact with urine.

Extreme pain from medical conditions that block or reduce urine flow are seen in people with kidney, urethral, and bladder stones. Cancers of the urinary tract that produce tumors can also cause painful urination.


Treatments for Dysuria

If the doctor suspects the dysuria is from a UTI, you will be asked to provide a sample of your urine in a small cup. It will then be tested to find out the type of bacteria that is in it.

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Additional Activities

Dysuria Writing Prompts

Read each scenario below and provide a brief written answer to each question. Use the given lesson as a reference.

Prompt 1

Clarisse works as a production manager at a lens company. While at work, she suddenly felt a desire to urinate, which further escalated to an increased urinary frequency. Every time she pees, she feels a burning and stinging sensation of her urethra. This uncomfortable sensation is accompanied by extreme abdominal pain.

  1. Does Clarisse have dysuria? Prove your answer.
  2. As first aid, their company nurse gave her aspirin (an analgesic). Would this type of medication help her? Why or why not?

Prompt 2

A patient submits herself to a urologist in a nearby hospital. She presents urinary urgency, persistent abdominal bloating, and urine leakage. Through cystoscopy, her urologist identified an abnormal tract between her vagina and bladder. Her medical exam showed that she has a urinary tract infection or UTI.

  1. What causes UTI? Is this the reason why she complains of urinary urgency?

Sample Answers

Prompt 1

  1. Yes, Clarisse is experiencing dysuria. Her increased urinary frequency, the burning sensation of her urethra, and extreme abdominal pain are all indicative of dysuria.
  2. Analgesics may directly decrease the painful and burning sensation that Clarisse is feeling by numbing the urinary tract.

Prompt 2

  1. Escherichia coli bacteria that reside within the gastrointestinal tract may enter and multiply in the urinary tract, which may cause an infection known as UTI. Yes, dysuria (urinary pain and urgency) is a complication caused by UTI.

Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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