URINARY TRACT INFECTION: HELP! I FEEL PAIN WHEN I URINATE!

urinary tract infection

Image Credit: womenshealthmag.com

Question: Doc, I feel pain every time I urinate. It is very painful. It burns like fire! I noticed I also feel like urinating again not long after I finish urinating. Please help me — what is wrong with me? What can I do? [Paraphrased]

ASK DR. ‘MALIK

Sorry for what you are going through. Painful urination is one of the most common (if not the most common) complaint people give to doctors worldwide! You are not alone! Sorry!

Painful urination has many causes. It is, however, most commonly caused by infection of the urinary tract — the path in which urine is transported from the kidney to outside the body. That is called urinary tract infection. It is usually a bacterial infection; even though, sometimes, rarely, viruses and fungi cause it. And it is more common in females (because their urethra is shorter and more “exposed”)

What are other causes of painful urination?

Irritation — especially of the urethra (called urethritis) from sexual intercourse, bicycling, horse-riding, douching, scented soaps, scented toilet papers, condoms, kidney stones, cancers, and so on.

Infection — sexually transmitted infection (like gonorrhea and chlamydia infections), Yeast infection (with vaginal pain, discharge and odor), prostate infection, and so on.

It will require asking you other questions and doing some tests for us to know the particular disease condition that you have. But, I will assume, for now, that you have urinary tract infection. Because, it is most likely — from the symptoms you told me.

Let’s talk about it!

Causes and risk factors: what are the causes of Urinary Tract Infection?

You may already know them! Now, let’s list the common causes (and risk factors), quickly:

  • Sex: Somehow, bacteria from the colon (and anus) find their way to the urethra during sexual intercourse and cause this infection! This doesn’t make it a sexually-transmitted infection! Please, note that!
  • Poor toilet hygiene: People that wipe themselves from back to front after defecating are more likely to have urinary tract infection. They simply transfer the bacteria from the anus to the urethra and vagina.
  • Female gender: Because the urethra of ladies is shorter than men’s, ladies are more likely to have urinary tract infection.
  • Condoms: While condoms reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infection, they could increase the risk of urinary tract infection due to increased friction during sexual intercourse!

There are several other causes. I won’t bother you! Let’s stop here!

Signs and symptoms: How do I know I have Urinary Tract Infection?

You mustn’t have all the symptoms. In fact, most times, you only have few — maybe, only one!

  • Apart from pain — burning pain — during urination (and, sometimes, burning feeling in the urethra even when not urinating)
  • Lower abdominal pain or supra-pubic pain
  • Fever and chills
  • Frequent urination or urge to urine (or both) — with little amount of urine passed,
  • Blood or pus in urine
  • Coke-colored or tea-colored or cloudy urine
  • Urine with strong odor
  • Flank pain (pain on both sides of waist and upper back)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Pelvic pain (in ladies) and rectal pain (in men)

Treatment: How is urinary tract infection treated?

It is advisable not to treat this at home and on your own! Please contact your doctor — who will ask you some questions, examine you physically, do urine tests (and possibly, other tests) before treating you.

Urinary tract infection should be treated properly and as soon as possible because it could lead to terrible consequences! It could affect the kidneys. It could cause miscarriages in pregnant women. And so on.

Generally, urinary tract infection is treated with antibiotics (to kill the organism causing it) and analgesics (to help relieve the pain)

Who are prone to (and more likely) to have urinary tract infections?

The following people are likely to have recurrent urinary tract infection:

  • Sexually-active females
  • Pregnant ladies
  • Diabetes patients
  • HIV/AIDS patients
  • The elderly ones
  • Uncircumcised males
  • Poor hygiene (and improper cleaning of self after defecation —that is cleaning from back to front!)

Prevention: How do I prevent having urinary tract infection?

There is no guarantee that these will completely protect you from urinary tract infection. In fact, the science behind these are not clear. But they sure would do more good than harm!

  • Try to urinate (and even drink water) after having sex.
  • Drink plenty of water everyday
  • Learn not to hold urine for too long
  • Maintain good hygiene of your private part — especially after urinating and defecating
  • Practice safe sex
  • Avoid over-washing the vagina and avoid using harsh soaps and vagina douches.

The few words must have given you a good grasp of why you are having painful urination. You could now lecture others on urinary tract infection. Lol.

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Dr. 'Malik Haruna King is a practicing Nigerian Medical Doctor and Sex Therapist. He helps people with sensitive health issues find answers to questions they are too ashamed to ask!