What is painful urination?

Painful Urination
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Painful urination in children: Overview

Burning pain with urination is called dysuria (say "dis-YOO-ree-uh"). It may be a 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. Your child may also feel pain if the urethra gets irritated or infected. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Soaps, bubble bath, or items that are put in the urethra can cause irritation.

Girls may have painful urination because of irritation or infection of the vagina.

Your child may need tests to find out what's causing the pain. The treatment for the pain depends on the cause.

Painful urination (dysuria)

Burning pain with urination is the most common symptom of a urinary tract problem. As bacteria or viruses grow in the bladder, the bladder wall becomes inflamed, causing pain when the bladder fills and empties.

Burning pain (dysuria) can also occur if the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body (urethra) becomes irritated or infected. The urethra can also be irritated by soaps, perfumes, or foreign bodies in the urethra. Sometimes painful urination is not caused by an infection, and the cause may be hard to find.

Kidney stones can cause pain with urination when they pass through the urethra. Treatment for painful urination depends on the cause.

How can you care for painful urination in children?

  • Give your child extra fluids to drink for the next day or two.
  • Avoid giving your child fizzy drinks or drinks with caffeine. They can irritate the bladder.
  • Help your child to gently wash his or her genitals.
  • If your child is a girl, teach her to wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom.
  • To help avoid irritation, have your child avoid lotions and bubble baths.

Painful urination in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse symptoms of a urinary problem. These may include:
    • Pain or burning when urinating, which continues after treatment.
    • A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
    • Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
    • Blood in the urine.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.