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Urination Pain - Female

Is this your symptom?

  • Discomfort (pain, burning, or stinging) when passing urine
  • May include urgency (can't wait) and frequency (passing small amounts) of urination

Some Basics...

  • Pain when passing urine is never normal.
  • It can be felt in the opening where urine leaves the body or in the genital area. This pain can also sometimes be felt in the lower stomach, pelvis, and sides of the lower back.
  • It may be caused by an infection or other problem. Testing is needed.


  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI): these can cause pain when passing urine.
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): these are the most common cause of pain when passing urine.
  • Vaginitis: this is a term that means "vaginal inflammation." Women who have this sometimes have mild pain when passing urine. The main symptom is a new or not normal discharge from the vagina. It may happen from chemical irritation. This may be from too much douching or over-use of yeast medicines. It may also have an infectious cause, like an STI or yeast.

Other Symptoms

Women with pain when passing urine may also have other symptoms. These may be:

  • Dark, cloudy, or bad smelling urine
  • Fevers
  • Pain with sex
  • Genital area rash
  • Urgent need to urinate (waking up at night)
  • Passing urine more or less often than normal

Pain Scale

  • None: no pain. Pain score is 0 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Mild: the pain does not keep you from work, school, or other normal activities. Pain score is 1-3 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Moderate: the pain keeps you from working or going to school. It wakes you up from sleep. Pain score is 4-7 on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Severe: the pain is very bad. It may be worse than any pain you have had before. It keeps you from doing any normal activities. Pain score is 8-10 on a scale of 0 to 10.

When to Call for Urination Pain - Female

Call 911 Now

  • Very weak (can't stand)
  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Severe pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fever over 100.4° F (38.0° C)
  • Shaking chills
  • Side (flank) or back pain
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a weak immune system (HIV, cancer chemo, long-term steroid use, splenectomy)
  • Are bedridden (nursing home patient, stroke, chronic illness, or recovering from surgery)
  • Had a transplant (liver, heart, lung, kidney)
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Blood in urine (red, pink or tea-colored)
  • All other women with pain or burning when passing urine
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Care Advice

Treatment for Painful Urination

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Pain with passing urine may be caused by an infection or other problem. Testing is needed.
    • There are things you can do at home to help the pain.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Fluids:
    • Drink extra fluids. Drink 8-10 glasses of liquids a day.
    • This will water-down your urine and make it less painful to pass.
  3. SITZ Baths Twice a Day:
    • Sit in warm bath water for 20 minutes, 2 times each day. This helps clean and heal the rectal area.
    • If you want, you can add ¼ cup (80 grams) of table salt or baking soda to each tub of water. Stir the water until it dissolves.
    • This is also called a Sitz bath.
  4. Antibiotic Drugs: If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may need antibiotics. See your doctor if you think you have a UTI.


  1. Cranberry Juice:
    • Some people think that drinking this juice may help fight UTIs. There has been no good research proving this.
    • Cranberry Juice Cocktail: You should drink 8 oz. (240 mL) 2 times a day.
    • 100% Cranberry Juice: You should drink 1 oz. (30 mL) 2 times a day.
    • Caution: Do not drink more than 16 oz. (480 mL) of cranberry juice cocktail per day. Too much of it can bother your bladder. This will not treat a UTI. You should see your doctor if you have a UTI.
  2. Urinate Often:
    • If you feel the need to urinate, you should go to the bathroom. Do not try to hold it until later.
    • Go to the bathroom before and after sex.
  3. Call Your Doctor If:
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

Last Reviewed: 9/21/2019 1:00:27 AM
Last Updated: 3/14/2019 1:00:29 AM

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