Dysuria is pain during urination or difficulty beginning or continuing urination. Many factors can cause this issue, including infection, irritation of the urinary tract from sexual activity, and interstitial cystitis, which causes bladder inflammation. Dysuria is more common in women, and the men it affects tend to be older adults. A visit to the doctor for dysuria will usually result in urinalysis so the physician can look for white blood cells, a sign of a urinary tract infection.
Irritants in the Urine
Stones that form in the urinary tract, bladder, or kidneys can irritate the urethra as they pass through. Soaps and other hygiene products can cause temporary urethra inflammation and dysuria. Medications such as some cancer treatments can irritate the bladder and urethra during elimination. Eating certain foods such as spicy peppers may result in irritants in the urine.
Inflammation of the bladder or cystitis can result in irritation of the urethra and dysuria. Although bacterial infections are usually the cause of bladder inflammation along with a urinary tract infection, cystitis can arise from drugs, radiation treatments, catheters, and illness. A compromised immune system can predispose a person to cystitis from infection.
Urethritis due to Infection such as STD
Dysuria may be uncomfortable, but it also raises concern about potential underlying causes, one of which is a worsening infection such as an STD. If the infection spreads up the urinary tract, kidney damage could be the ultimate outcome. People with dysuria should take it seriously and not look at treatment simply as a way to reduce discomfort. At a medical clinic, a doctor can perform simple tests to ensure that an infection has not established itself.
Issues with the Prostate
BPH or benign prostate hyperplasia, an enlargement of the prostate that typically occurs in older men, is a well-known cause of dysuria. Another, similar condition that affects younger men, prostatitis, can also lead to dysuria. Infections and other issues, sometimes unknown, cause enlargement of the prostate on a short-term, long-term, or recurring basis and result in dysuria.
Inflammatory rheumatic conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and inflammable bowel disease can cause urethritis, cervicitis, and prostatitis as a cluster of symptoms. Doctors may overlook this unexpected source of dysuria in the initial diagnostic process. People with these conditions should make sure clinic personnel are aware of their diagnosis when seeking treatment urinary pain and other genitourinary conditions.
Benign or cancerous tumors in areas adjacent to the urethra, including prostate tumors, can constrict the flow of urine through this tube. The resulting reduced flow enables irritants and bacteria to linger and affect the urethra rather than passing through quickly, causing pain until treatment restores the proper flow.
Irritation of the Perineum by Urine
Pain or irritation can result from lesions between the urethra and anus in the area of the perineum, usually also from infection due to physical irritation, hygiene issues, bacterial infection, or fungal infection. If the flow of urine passes over these lesions, pain similar to dysuria can occur. Treatment is typically a topical agent, in these cases.
Importance of Identifying the Cause
Taking a medical history is essential in most cases of dysuria. The potential causes are so diverse and the risks of missing dangerous origins such as kidney infection, STDs, or prostate cancer so significant that simple treatment of a urethral infection may be insufficient. Diagnosis often depends on the gender of the patient as well.
Laboratory Testing and Diagnosis
Urine tests are the most common diagnostic tool for dysuria, sometimes using catheterization to acquire and avoid contamination of the sample. Blood tests can identify STDs, PSAs (prostate specific antigens) and indicators specific to suspected causes or aggravating factors such as diabetes or hormonal conditions.
Treatment of Dysuria
Initial treatment for dysuria may involve catheterization to improve urine flow, antibiotics to address infection found by urine tests, and analgesics to address the pain of irritation. Some patients may require further treatment and referrals to address underlying causes such as prostate issues or systemic illness. Recurring dysuria may call for an investigation into physical problems in the urine system and the assistance of a urologist.