A burning feeling after peeing is not always due to an infection. Sometimes, this symptom may have another cause.
The cause of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually bacteria from the body, rather than an external cause of infection. For example, bacteria from the bowel can cause this illness in the bladder, urethra, or kidneys.
Some less common conditions can also cause a burning feeling after urination when there is no infection present.
This article will look at the less common causes of UTI-like symptoms and explain when to seek medical help.
An injury or infection can cause urethral stricture disease. Stricture means a restriction or narrowing that happens when there is a blockage or partial blockage of the urethra.
Urethral stricture disease is more common in males because they have a longer urethra than females. The condition does not always have an obvious cause.
The urethra can become blocked or narrow due to:
- a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- damage to the urethra because of an injury
- recent catheter use
Alongside a burning feeling, the most obvious symptom is a reduction in the flow of urine. The problem usually goes away after an injury has healed, or the person has received treatment for an STI. Otherwise, surgery may be necessary to stretch the stricture.
Painful bladder syndrome is a condition that causes chronic pain, often without a clear cause. It can occur alongside other long-term conditions, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or vulvodynia. It is more common in females than in males.
As well as a burning feeling after peeing, other symptoms include bladder pain, a tender pelvic region, and the need to pee more often.
Painful bladder syndrome can make it more difficult for a person to socialize outside the home and to sleep. It can also cause pain during sex.
There is currently no cure for painful bladder syndrome, but treatment aims to relieve the symptoms. Treatment options include physical therapy, bladder training, lifestyle changes, and medication.
Prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate gland, affects males and can be painful.
A bacterial infection is a possible cause, but injury, muscle tension, or prostate stones can also be responsible for prostatitis. An injury or infection can cause swelling around the prostate that can affect the nerves and lead to pain.
Doctors usually treat infections with antibiotics. The treatment for other causes can include pain medication and prostatic massage, which is a specialized form of massage to drain fluid and reduce pressure.
In some cases, kidney stones can cause a burning feeling after peeing. A kidney stone can block the urethra and create a buildup of pee. Small kidney stones pass out of the body in the urine, and this can be painful.
Other symptoms include blood in the urine, pain on either side of the lower back, nausea or vomiting, and pee that is cloudy or smells bad.
A person can drink more water to flush the kidney stone out of the body, but if a kidney stone is very large or causes an infection, surgery may be necessary.
Sometimes, a person experiencing a burning feeling after peeing may have other symptoms. These can include:
- needing to pee more often
- pain in the bladder, kidneys, or urethra
- a reduced flow when urinating
- urinary urgency, or a sudden need to pee
- itching or irritation
If the person visits a doctor, they should make them aware of any additional symptoms to aid with the diagnosis.
A doctor will ask about the person’s symptoms and medical history. They may check for signs of fever or test for a UTI to rule this out as a cause. The most common test for a UTI involves a urine sample. Testing the sample for bacteria and white blood cells can show whether the body is fighting an infection.
Imaging tests can also help by giving a picture of the urinary tract and revealing any problems, such as a blockage or damage.
The doctor may also use a cystoscope, which is a camera on a long, thin tube. This device allows them to look inside the urethra and bladder for signs of infection.
Finding the underlying cause of a burning feeling after peeing is the first step. Treatment varies depending on the diagnosis.
While a person is waiting to see a doctor, they can ease discomfort at home by:
- drinking plenty of clear fluids
- avoiding caffeine and alcohol
- drinking a sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate beverage
- taking ibuprofen
- wearing breathable cotton underwear
- avoiding delaying urination any longer than necessary
A person should consider seeking medical advice if a burning sensation when peeing lasts longer than a few days or if they also have:
- blood in the urine
- a fever
- pain in the lower back
These could be signs of more serious medical conditions, such as a kidney infection.
Older adults, children, and pregnant women should see a doctor if they have symptoms of a UTI.
It is also advisable for a person to visit a doctor if their symptoms return after treatment, or they have repeated UTIs.
A UTI can affect any part of the urinary tract, which includes the:
Females are more likely to develop a UTI than males because the female urethra is shorter.
A shorter urethra makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder, ureters, or kidneys, and research shows that about 40–60% of females will have a UTI at some point during their life.
The urethra is also closer to the anus, which contains bacteria that can cause a UTI.
Urethritis is the term for a UTI that only occurs in the urethra. Symptoms can include discharge, redness, and pain, as well as a burning feeling during or after peeing. However, some people will
A burning feeling is usually a symptom of a problem somewhere in the urinary tract. Urethral stricture disease, prostatitis, and kidney stones are possible causes of this symptom, and they are all curable. Treatment can often relieve the symptoms of painful bladder syndrome if this is the underlying issue.
It could be beneficial for a person to pay attention to other symptoms and seek medical advice if a problem lasts for more than a few days.
If a UTI is present, most people will recover after treatment at home or with antibiotics. Some people experience repeated UTIs and may need to take regular medication.