A burning feeling after peeing is not always due to an infection. Other possible causes include painful bladder syndrome, urethral stricture, prostatitis, and kidney disease.

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 no infection is present.

This article examines the less common causes of UTI-like symptoms and explains when to seek medical help.

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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 apparent cause.

The urethra can become blocked or narrow due to:

Alongside a burning feeling, the most apparent symptom is reduced urine flow. 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.

Other symptoms and a burning feeling after peeing 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 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, a specialized massage to drain fluid and reduce pressure.

The most common source/cause of pain from a kidney stone comes from the stone blocking the ureter, which causes a back of urine into the kidney. Occasionally, the stone can cause irritation as it passes through the urethra and very rarely can cause obstruction or blockage in the urethra.

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.

Possible causes of kidney stones include too much salt and sugar in the diet, obesity, and not drinking enough water.

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.

Bladder stones are mineral build-ups in the bladder. If these stones are small enough to pass in urine, they may not cause any symptoms.

However, bigger stones can irritate the bladder lining and cause pain or difficulty when passing urine.

Other symptoms of bladder stones include:

  • lower abdominal pain
  • blood in the urine
  • dark or cloudy urine
  • frequent peeing

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, but it can also cause an increase in urinary frequency, as well as a burning sensation when peeing.

Chemotherapy drugs and targeted radiotherapy of the lower abdomen can irritate the bladder lining, again causing a burning sensation when passing urine.

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, a camera on a long, thin tube. This device allows them to look inside the urethra and bladder for signs of infection.

The first step is finding the underlying cause of a burning feeling after peeing. 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 like kidney infection.

Older adults, children, and pregnant people 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 if they have repeated UTIs.

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 occurs, most people will recover after treatment at home or with antibiotics. Some people experience repeated UTIs and may need to take regular medication.