If you feel pain when you urinate, it’s generally due to a problem with your urinary tract. It’s a common complaint in both women and men, but it can be more than an annoyance. Here are some guidelines to help you know when to contact a doctor if you are experiencing painful urination, or dysuria. Common Causes of Painful Urination There are a variety of conditions or diseases that affect different parts of your urinary tract, any of which can cause pain when you urinate. Here are some of the most typical reasons for painful urination: Urinary tract infection (UTI) Inflammation of the bladder (cystitis) Kidney stone or ovarian cyst blocking the bladder Inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis) Long-term catheter use Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) Yeast infections Sexually transmitted infections Sensitivity to chemicals More serious and less common causes of painful urination include certain cancers of the urinary tract or as a side effect of chemotherapy for cancer. Painful Urination Treatment at Home Both men and women can get yeast infections that can be treated at home, but they are far more common in women. Symptoms include burning and itching as well as vaginal discharge and an urgent need to urinate. If you think you may have a yeast infection, you can try an over-the-counter medication that treats these fungal infections. Drink plenty of water; you’ll know it’s enough if your urine is light yellow or almost clear. Cranberry juice is a popular home remedy for yeast infections, but there is no scientific evidence that it has an effect. Women can help prevent yeast and urinary tract infections by keeping the vaginal area clean and dry, avoiding tight underwear and pants, and wiping from front to back after a bowel movement. When to See a Doctor for Painful Urination There are signs and symptoms that signal it’s time to call your healthcare provider when you have painful urination. These include: Persistent pain that lasts more than one day Discharge from your penis or vagina Foul-smelling, cloudy or dark urine Blood in your urine Back or flank pain Fever If you're pregnant, tell your doctor if you are experiencing pain when you urinate. Dysuria can also be the result of a kidney infection, which requires prompt medical care. Painful urination can also indicate serious conditions that require immediate medical treatment. Call 911 if you experience severe abdominal or flank pain or if your painful urination is accompanied by a change in alertness. UTIs are the most common cause of painful urination, but your doctor can determine what is causing your dysuria and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Whom to See for Painful Urination Your primary care provider can often address common causes of painful urination. Depending on the symptoms, your doctor may recommend that you see a urologist, or if you are a woman, your gynecologist. If the symptoms might be related to a kidney condition, you may be referred to a nephrologist. Some insurance companies require a referral to a specialist such as a urologist, so make sure you understand your healthcare coverage. Painful urination is a common condition that can usually be treated at home or with prescription antibiotics, but it’s important to know when you should see your healthcare provider. There’s no need to suffer from dysuria, so take steps to address it and get relief from the discomfort.