Painful urination, also known as dysuria, happens when you experience a typically burning sensation while you pass urine. According to the Mayo Clinic, this sensation usually affects your urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of your bladder, or around your genitals.
Burning when you pee can be caused by a number of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), in addition to other conditions. Keep reading to find out more about the STDs that cause burning when peeing.
What STDs cause burning when you pee?
If you’re experiencing burn when peeing, STD infections are a likely culprit. However, you should keep in mind that in most cases, dysuria alone isn’t enough to diagnose an STD. If you’re feeling a burning sensation when peeing, STD screening can help determine the exact cause of the issue.
Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial STDs around the world. And if you’re wondering “Does chlamydia burn when you pee?”, the answer is that it can, indeed, cause this symptom.
Chlamydia is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. According to Stanford Health Care, a painful, itchy, or burning sensation while you pee can be one of the first signs of chlamydia. Other symptoms of chlamydia can include:
- Abnormal vaginal or penile discharge
- Cloudy urine
- Genital itching
- Bleeding or spotting after sex or between periods
- Anal discharge
- Lower abdominal pain
- Swollen inguinal lymph nodes
Gonorrhea, which is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is another STD that causes burning when peeing. Gonorrhea doesn’t always cause symptoms, and many cases remain completely asymptomatic. But according to Planned Parenthood, signs of gonorrhea can also include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that can be yellowish or bloody
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Yellowish, green, or white discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles
- Anal pain or itching
- Anal discharge
- Painful bowel movements
Herpes is another frequent cause of STD burning sensation when peeing. In fact, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that women with genital herpes reported that the most uncomfortable symptom was pain during urination.
According to the CDC, other symptoms of genital herpes include:
- Sores or blisters that appear around the genitals and/or rectum
- The blisters rupture and leave open sores that can take over a week to heal
- Tingling, painful, or burning sensations that precede the formation of the blisters
- Flu-like symptoms can accompany the initial outbreak
Trichomoniasis is aso amongst the STDs that cause a burning sensation. According to The Cleveland Clinic, signs of trichomoniasis can include:
- Thin, foamy vaginal or penile discharge with a foul smell
- Genital itching
- Burning after ejaculation
- Painful intercourse
Other causes of painful urination
We know that when it comes to a burning during urination, STDs are a likely cause — but not all cases of dysuria are caused by STDs. So if it’s not an STI, what causes painful urination?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are another common cause of burning during urination that isn’t STD-related. UTIs are more common in females, and they can cause severe burning when you pee. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from the anorectal area that enter the urinary tract, and then climb up your urethra and into your bladder to cause an infection.
According to the NHS, symptoms of a UTI can include:
- Urge to urinate during the night (nocturia)
- Urine that looks cloudy or bloody
- Feeling the urge to urinate more frequently than normal
- Feeling like you’re not completely emptying your bladder after peeing
- Lower abdominal or back pain
Distinguishing between a UTI and an STD isn’t always easy, but there are some telltale signs that could help. For example, UTIs don’t cause vaginal or penile discharge, which is one of the most common signs of an STD. However, it’s always a good idea to seek medical assistance and get tested if you think you may have one of these infections.
Yeast infections, or candidiasis, are caused by an imbalance between “good” and “bad” bacteria in your normal genital flora, which can lead to an overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida spp.
Signs of candidiasis can include:
- Intense genital itching
- White, thick genital discharge that resembles cottage cheese
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Swollen, cracked skin around the genitals
The skin around your genitals and urethral opening (the small hole where pee comes out from) is very delicate and sensitive. Irritation leading to burning when you pee and itching can affect both males and females, and according to The Cleveland Clinic, possible causes include:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Lichen sclerosus
- Tight clothing
- Personal hygiene products
Frequent urination and burning, and STDs are very often related. But as we mentioned above, it’s important to get tested so the cause of the issue can be diagnosed, since this will determine the right treatment for you. A burning urethra due to STDs is common, but other conditions still require adequate treatment and management.
At-home STD testing can be a great option if you want convenient, private, and affordable testing. You can learn more about other reproductive health topics at STDWatch.com.
Painful urination (dysuria) - mayoclinic.org
Symptoms of Chlamydia - stanfordhealthcare.org
What are the symptoms of gonorrhea? - plannedparenthood.org
Relief of Pain in Women With Genital Herpes - jamanetwork.com
Trichomoniasis - my.clevelandclinic.org
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) - nhs.uk
Sexual Health: Genital Itching - my.clevelandclinic.org