What causes urinary burning?

Infections, inflammation, and trauma are all causes of urinary burning.

Infectious causes of urinary burning

Urinary burning may be caused by infections including:

  • Candidiasis (yeast infection)
  • Sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia
  • Urinary tract infections

Other causes of urinary burning

Urinary burning can also be caused by:

  • Bladder disorders or inflammation
  • Chemical irritation of the vulva
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritants in the urine, such as byproducts of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy or acidic food
  • Kidney stones
  • Sexual intercourse

Serious or life-threatening causes of urinary burning

In some cases, urinary burning may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID, an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs).

Questions for diagnosing the cause of urinary burning

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your urinary burning including:

  • How long have you felt burning when you urinate?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?
  • Do you have urinary burning after eating or drinking certain items?
  • Is your urine discolored or bloody?
  • What medications are you taking?

What are the potential complications of urinary burning?

Because urinary burning can be caused by serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Infertility
  • Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
  • Spread of infection


  1. Urinary tract infections in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC). http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/.
  2. Urinary tract infection - adults. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001549/.


What is urinary burning?

Urinary burning is pain that is felt when urine is being expelled from the bladder. The symptoms may be constant or variable and may improve or worsen depending on body function and movement. The pain may be described as a raw sensation or a stinging feeling and can range in intensity from mild to severe. Urinary burning may be accompanied by pain or difficulty when urinating (dysuria), feeling... Read more about urinary burningintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with urinary burning?

Urinary burning may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the urinary tract may also involve other body systems.

Urinary symptoms that may occur along with urinary burning

Urinary burning may accompany other symptoms affecting the urinary tract including:

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 11, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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