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By: RSC Editorial Team

January 7, 2023

STDs That Cause Painful Urination: A Brief Guide

Painful urination can disrupt your daily life and cause extreme discomfort. It's understandable to feel anxious about your health when such symptoms arise, especially if you believe you may have an STD that causes painful urination. 

Painful and frequent urination are indeed common symptoms of several sexually transmitted infections. However, other underlying medical conditions can cause these symptoms as well. Learning the difference can better prepare you for your next visit with a physician. 

Below, our team at Rapid STD Testing discusses the differences between STD symptoms and signs of other conditions to help determine if you need an appointment with your primary health care provider or a rapid STD test.

What Are STDs That Cause Painful Urination?

Painful urination can often be an indicator of a bacterial infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea, as these sexually transmitted infections are notorious for causing urinary problems. 

However, painful urination can be the result of various STDs, such as:

  • Mycoplasma genitalium: Mycoplasma genitalium can cause the urethra to become swollen and inflamed. 
  • Genital herpes: Genital herpes usually causes sores or lesions around the genitals, which can cause pain if urine comes in contact with an open sore.
  • Ureaplasma: Ureaplasma may cause unusual discharge, increased urgency to urinate, and painful urination.
  • Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis may cause irritation and itching inside the penis, penile discharge, and a burning sensation during urination.

What Is Dysuria (Painful Urination)?

Dysuria describes a burning or painful sensation during urination. Anyone can experience or develop dysuria, especially due to a urinary tract infection, but the symptom is typically more common in women.

STDs That Cause Painful Urination in Males

While any person can contract an STD that causes painful urination, some individuals may experience different symptoms depending on their sex. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are STDs that cause painful urination in males, with other symptoms that may accompany it including:

  • Swollen testicles
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased urgency to urinate
  • Yellow, green, or white discharge from the penis

STDs That Cause Painful Urination in Females

Gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause painful urination in women. STDs that cause painful urination in women may also cause vaginal discharge. Gonorrhea, in particular, tends to present with more noticeable symptoms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Spotting between periods
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain

Additionally, in both men and women, symptoms of gonorrhea will usually appear one to ten days after the initial infection. Those infected with chlamydia may not experience symptoms at all. However, if symptoms do arise, they usually occur one to three weeks after the initial infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests annual STD testing for sexually active women younger than 25. Women 25 and older should also get tested annually if they face certain risk factors, such as a new sexual partner, or if they've recently engaged with multiple sexual partners. 

If you need STD testing, you can receive a 10-panel STD test at a Rapid STD Testing lab near you. 

How To Tell the Difference Between an STD and a UTI

Telling the difference between an STD and a UTI can be challenging, as many STDs have symptoms that overlap with UTIs. However, a few key distinctions may help you accurately assess your condition.

A UTI is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. This tract consists of several parts, including the urethra, the bladder, the ureters, and finally, the kidneys. 

Most often, UTIs cause bladder infections and are generally mild. However, without the proper treatment, a urinary tract infection can spread and become a kidney infection, which is far more severe.

A sexually transmitted disease is an infection spread through sexual contact. STDs can be bacteria, parasites, or viruses and usually spread through semen, blood, vaginal secretions, and saliva.

Despite the different causes of STDs and UTIs, these conditions may have similar symptoms. Your healthcare provider will likely perform a physical examination of your genitals or order a urine test to determine whether you have an STD or a UTI. If you believe you have an STD, your doctor may also ask for a genital swab or a blood test. 

Symptoms Shared by STDs and UTIs

Unfortunately, urinary problems are some of the most common symptoms of many STDs, and it's easy to mistake these symptoms as being related to a UTI. Many STDs and UTIs share the following symptoms:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Frequent urination or an increased urge to pee
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain and pressure

Symptoms Specific to STDs

The good news is that several symptoms are specific to STDs, making it easier to assess your health status. The following symptoms usually indicate an STD rather than a UTI:

  • Vaginal or penile discharge
  • Genital blisters or sores
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Itchiness in or around the genitals
  • Lumps or knots in the groin
  • More painful periods or unusual spotting between periods

If you have any of these symptoms in addition to painful or frequent urination, you likely have an STD that causes painful urination rather than a UTI. 

Getting tested for STDs can be intimidating initially, but at Rapid STD Testing, we provide comprehensive, discreet same-day STD testing to help you get answers faster. 

Other Causes of Painful Urination

Painful urination is a symptom of many different health conditions, including but not limited to the following:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis
  • Irritation caused by topical creams or condoms
  • Allergic reactions to soaps or detergents
  • Urethritis
  • Painful bladder syndrome

Those who are pregnant, living with diabetes or bladder disease, or are post-menopausal face higher risks of painful urination and bladder infections. Likewise, men with enlarged prostates face a greater chance of urinary tract infections.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Painful urination, though uncomfortable, isn't always a sign of a severe medical problem or an STD. However, it's important to monitor your symptoms and track how long they last to determine when to schedule an appointment with your physician.

You should seek medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Unusual vaginal or penile discharge
  • Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
  • Passing kidney stones
  • Bloody urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Itchy and irritated genitals
  • Fever
  • Back or side pain
  • Painful urination that lasts more than 24 hours

What To Expect During Your Doctor's Appointment

Because painful urination and discomfort can be symptoms of various conditions, first visit your primary care doctor, who can accurately diagnose you. Depending on the symptoms you're experiencing, your doctor may perform tests to find the cause of your pain.

The standard test is a urinalysis. Your doctor will request a urine sample to analyze your white and red blood cell count and your protein and glucose levels, as well as to search for any foreign matter in your urine. 

Your doctor may also perform a pelvic exam, an analysis of vaginal fluids, a urethral swab, an ultrasound, or other tests to diagnose you. 

Seeking medical care for painful urination may cause anxiety, and it's normal to be nervous before an appointment. However, you must provide your doctor with all the information you can to help them diagnose you accurately and as quickly as possible. The sooner they perform the necessary tests, the sooner you will receive treatment for whatever is causing your painful urination.

Conclusion: Take Charge of Your Sexual Health With Rapid STD Testing

If you suspect that an STD may be causing painful urination, our team at Rapid STD Testing is here to help. Use our handy tool to find a lab near you, or give us a call at (866) 872-1888 for more information.


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By: RSC Editorial Team
January 7, 2023

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