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Urethral Pain: what it is and how to treat it

Urethral pain is not normal. This symptom could be a sign for an urinary tract infection and should be investigated by an urologist, who will be able to properly diagnose and treat the disease before it evolves and spreads itself to important organs — such as the kidneys.

The pain in the urethra has a name: dysuria. It usually accompanies other symptoms besides pain, like burning sensations and acute discomfort. It also provokes the difficulty of urinating.

Whenever a patient presents a case of dysuria, more often than not, an urinary tract infection is related. This disease is the most likely culprit, but there are other infirmities that may cause urethral pain.

If you’re feeling pain while urinating for more than two days, you should seek medical help.

What could cause urethral pain?

Dysuria can be a symptom for multiple disorders. It could mean that the patient has an urinary tract infection (which is less common for men than women), but it could also be a sign for other diseases. Here are the most common causes for pain in the urethra:

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

This disease happens due to the proliferation of bacteria or fungi in the organs of the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder and/or urethra).

Depending on the case, the patient will manifest, besides urethral pain, a frequent need to urinate and urinary incontinence. A darker urine and/or blood may also be observed, as well as back pain and fever, in some cases.

Men over the age of 50 years old, who are diabetic, and use specific medications, are at a higher risk for developing this condition. People with tumors and kidney stones could also experience more frequent UTIs.

Bad habits, such as holding the urine, ingesting low amounts of water, not completely emptying the bladder and practicing anal sex with no protection are also risk factors.

Good hygiene practices help avoid this disorder. Circumcised men usually have a lower chance of contracting such infections, due to the lack of excessive foreskin, which would contribute to the proliferation of the pathogens.

Kidney stones

The infamous kidney stones are one of the big causes for dysuria. This happens because the stones could obstruct the urinary tract on their way out of the kidney, which is indeed a quite painful experience.

Kidney stones are formed when urine holds excessive amounts of substances like uric acid, oxalate and calcium, which agglomerate, becoming crystals and ultimately grouping into stones.

While these stones are inside the kidneys, they usually do not cause discomfort for the patient. However, when they start to move inside their body, they can cause pain in the urinary tract, abdominal cramps, back pain, nausea, vomits, and an increased need for urinating. The patient could also experience a lower urine flow rate, burning sensations and the presence of blood in the urine.

Men are more susceptible to developing kidney stones than women, especially after they reach the age of 40 years old. Obese individuals, who have digestive tract disorders or have been submitted to surgical procedures, as well as those who present urinary tract diseases, are at a higher risk.

Ultimately, if you have ever been through this medical problem, you could potentially go through it again. To avoid this from happening, the most efficient measure is to drink between 2 to 3 liters of water daily.


Prostatitis is characterized by the inflammation and swelling of the prostate. It is usually provoked by bacteria coming from other diseases of the urinary tract, such as STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV.

When it happens suddenly, this disease can be classified as acute. Nonetheless, some men may also present a chronic case of the condition — which can compromise sperm production and male fertility.

The main symptom is the difficulty to urinate, accompanied by pain in the genital area.

The use of protection during sexual intercourse is very important to avoid this disease. Besides that, men over the age of 50 years old and those who have a history of UTIs should be extra careful.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Very common to patients older than 50 years old, BPH is the enlargement of the prostate that happens naturally throughout life. The gland, which is usually the size of a nut, could reach the dimensions of a tennis ball!

Unlike prostate cancer, the condition on its own is benign. The main problem is that it can compress the urethra, leading to the narrowing of the urinary tract and consequently favoring the emergence of infections and kidney stones.

Whenever this happens, patients feel symptoms such as: frequent and urgent urinations, difficulty to start urinating, the need to urinate during the night, a weakened or irregular stream flow, and the sensation of having a full bladder even after urinating.

Bladder cancer

Blood in urine (hematuria) is the main alert for bladder cancer. Moreover, this grave disease can also make the patient feel pain in the urinary tract and/or while urinating, an urgent need to urinate and a weakened urine flow.

This kind of cancer affects elderly men more often. It is caused by external factors, such as cigarette smoking — which is the biggest risk factor. The use of special medication and the exposure to chemical compounds found in paint, rubber and electrical equipment throughout the patient’s life, are some other risk factors.

There are a few types of bladder cancer, but the transitional cell carcinoma is responsible for 90% of these malign tumors. It has its origin in urothelial cells, which are present in the bladder, kidneys, ureters and the urethra. Because of that, the cancer can spread.

What to do if your urinary tract hurts?

The treatment for pain in the urinary tract depends on the cause of the problem, and its efficacy is related to a good medical diagnosis. Therefore, it is vital to seek an urologist if you’re feeling the first symptoms.

To identify this ailment, it is necessary to analyze, besides symptoms, the history of the patient — including previous diseases and sexual activity.

With early medical help, in most cases, patients are able to avoid severe complications, and revert the clinical condition as soon as possible.

What medicine can I take to heal the urinary tract?

Your urologist should decide the best treatment option. You should never try to self-medicate and solve the issue by yourself.

Self-medication is severely inadvisable, and the consumption of teas and special foods is not an efficient way to treat urinary tract pain. In some cases, the unsupervised use of medication and supplements can aggravate the condition.

If you are suffering from urinary tract pain, there is no reason to feel ashamed or worried. Seek medical help to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

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Dr.Paulo Egydio

Dr.Paulo Egydio

Médico PhD em Urologia pela USP, CRM 67482-SP, RQE 19514, Autor dos Princípios Geométricos (conhecido como “Técnica de Egydio”), além de outros artigos e livros cientifícos na área. Professor convidado para ministrar aulas e cirurgias ao vido, em congressos no Brasil e Exterior.

Dr. Paulo Egydio é dedicado ao tratamento da curvatura
peniana e do implante de prótese.

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