Urine can feel hot for two reasons — either because the temperature of the urine is warmer than usual, or because urinating causes a burning sensation.
Both symptoms point to a possible infection, so it is important to seek medical care, especially if there are other symptoms as well.
In this article, we look at what a normal temperature should be, and what causes unusually hot or burning urination in men and women. We also look at when a person should see their doctor, and possible treatments for this symptom.
Urine is generally the same temperature as the body — on average 98.6°F.
This means that when the urine comes out of the urinary tract, called the urethra, it can feel warm on the skin that it touches, including the genitals, hands, or legs. In cold temperatures, a person may observe steam rising from urine.
Noticing that urine feels warm or hot is perfectly normal. Urine may feel especially warm if a person’s body or hands are cold.
However, if a person notices that their urine feels warmer than usual, or hot as it comes out of the urethra, this may mean that there is an infection or injury. A hot, burning, or painful sensation when urinating is called dysuria.
A hot sensation when urinating can feel painful, and may even cause a person to withhold their urine. Parents of young children who do not want to urinate should consider the possibility of burning during urination.
Most people who feel a hot sensation when urinating notice other symptoms, too. Those may include:
- swelling in the genitals or urethra
- discharge from the vagina or penis
- foul-smelling urine
- dark urine
- cloudy urine
- increased need to urinate
- difficulty urinating
- nausea and vomiting
- pain in the back or abdomen
If a person’s internal body temperature increases — for instance, if they have a fever caused by an infection or if they have just done intense exercise — then their urine may also be warmer than usual.
Below, we provide a list of causes for hot urine or burning urination.
Urinary tract infection (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections are among the most common reasons why urination feels hot or burns when coming out. A UTI occurs when harmful bacteria, often E. coli, get into the urinary tract.
UTIs most commonly affect the bladder. People with UTIs may experience the following symptoms:
- burning pain when they urinate
- a frequent need to urinate
- an intense urge to urinate even immediately after going
- foul-smelling urine
- blood in the urine
In most cases, antibiotic treatment quickly cures a UTI. Left untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys or other areas of the body. UTIs can affect both sexes, but are more common in women than in men.
One of the ways that the body fights infection is by heating up. This is why people often develop fevers when they are sick. When the urine is a higher temperature than usual, this could mean that a person has a fever.
A fever could be due to an infection anywhere in the body, so it is important to track symptoms and see a doctor if they do not get better.
When the urine feels physically warm and it burns to urinate, this may mean someone has a UTI or an infection in the kidneys.
Injuries near the urethra
Urine is acidic. This means that when it comes into contact with an injury, even a small one, a person may experience a hot, burning sensation. An injury in or around the urethra can cause the urine to feel hot coming out.
People who shave their genitals may have tiny cuts near the urethra. Friction-related injuries from sexual intercourse, tiny pimples, cuts, and scrapes can all make the urine feel hot.
Small injuries usually go away on their own. If the urethra hurts, a fever occurs, or there is a large wound, a person should see their doctor.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted infections can cause urinary tract problems. They may also injure the genitals or the area surrounding the urethra, causing pain during urination.
Anyone who is or has been sexually active can get an STI, even if they have previously tested negative. Some STIs are symptom-free for a long time, so a long period without symptoms does not necessarily mean person does not have an STI.
Chlamydia is an STI that commonly causes burning pain when urinating. It can also cause discharge from the vagina or penis, and in men may cause the testicles to swell or hurt.
Interstitial cystitis is a poorly understood chronic illness that causes symptoms of a UTI, even when a UTI is not present.
This condition is more common in women than in men.
Researchers do not fully understand what causes it, but one potential cause is damage to the tissue of the bladder. People with interstitial cystitis may experience burning when urinating, or other unusual sensations, such as a feeling that the urine is too hot.
Causes specific to women include:
After childbirth, many women experience tears in the area between the vagina and the anus, which are known as perineal lacerations. Tears can occur near the urethra, or inside the vagina.
If urine comes into contact with these injuries it can cause burning pain in the weeks following birth.
Spraying the area with a warm perineal irrigation bottle during urination can reduce pain.
A vaginal infection can irritate the tissue of the vagina and vulva. When this irritated tissue comes into contact with urine, it may burn and feel hot.
It is impossible to diagnose a vaginal infection based solely on burning, so it is important to see a doctor when urination burns. The symptom could be caused by infections such as:
Post-menopausal vaginal changes
After menopause, the body produces less estrogen. This can change the vaginal tissue, causing it to shrink and weaken. The vagina may also feel dry, which can make the skin and other tissues feel tender and sore.
When urine comes into contact with the vagina or urethra, it may feel hotter than it did previously because of these changes.
Causes specific to men include:
Prostatitis is swelling, pain, and inflammation in the prostate, often due to a bacterial infection. Men with prostatitis may experience pain or burning when urinating, as well as changes in the flow of urination.
They may also have nausea and vomiting, or pain during ejaculation. It is important to diagnose the cause of prostatitis, so men who suspect they have a prostate issue should see a doctor.
The epididymis is a tube that contains the sperm on top of the testes. An infection or inflammation in this tube can cause painful burning when urinating. Men with epididymitis may also experience swelling around the testicles, pain in the penis or testicles, and a fever.
This painful condition is usually caused by a bacterial infection or surgery and responds well to antibiotics and rest.
Treatment for hot urine depends on the cause. Because the urine can feel hot for so many reasons, and because many diagnoses have similar symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor before trying home treatment.
Many causes of painful or hot urination can easily be treated with antibiotics.
Drinking plenty of water can also help flush bacteria from the urinary system and make the urine slightly less acidic.
When the only symptom is hot urine and urination does not hurt, it is often safe to wait to see a doctor. See a doctor immediately for:
- a very high fever
- pain in the back, as this could indicate a kidney infection
- uncontrolled vomiting
See a doctor within a day or two for:
- painful urination
- foul-smelling urine
- frequent urination
Urine is naturally hot, but quickly cools after it leaves the body. People who inadvertently put a hand in their stream of urine may be surprised by how hot urine feels.
Most causes of hot urine are easily treated, and symptoms will usually get better within a few days. Prostatitis, however, can be difficult to treat and interstitial cystitis is a chronic pain syndrome.
It is important to see a doctor who specializes in treating urinary disorders to reduce the severity of symptoms and decide on appropriate treatment.
In most cases, nothing is wrong. When urine feels hot or painful coming out, though, it’s time to see a doctor. Most urinary problems are common and easy to treat, so there’s no need to feel anxious or ashamed. In many cases, diagnosis only requires a urine sample and a medical history.