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What’s Causing My Abdominal Pain and Painful Urination?

What are abdominal pain and painful urination?

Your abdomen is home to many organs, some of which are responsible for digestion and urination. All are subject to dysfunction and infection, which can lead to abdominal pain and painful urination.

The nature of abdominal pain can vary from sharp to dull and burning to cramping. It can be caused by something you ate, an infection, or even anxiety.

Painful urination is a symptom that occurs when you experience discomfort during urination. It can be due to an infection or irritation of the tissues surrounding the urinary tract.

What causes abdominal pain and painful urination?

Causes

Abdominal pain and painful urination are often symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI occurs when bacteria build up somewhere in the urinary tract, such as the bladder, kidneys, or ureter. Women are more likely to experience a UTI because they have a shorter urinary tract. This allows bacteria to enter the urinary tract more easily.

Additional symptoms associated with a UTI include:

  • cloudy urine
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • pink-tinged urine

Pain at the start of urination can be a sign of a UTI. Pain that begins when you finish urinating can indicate a problem with your bladder or prostate. One such problem is prostatitis, an infection of the prostate.

Sexually transmitted diseases that can cause abdominal pain and painful urination include chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea.

Kidney stones also can cause these symptoms. These hard stones made of minerals block your urinary tract. This can cause intense pain until the stone passes. If the stone is too large, a doctor can perform a special procedure known as lithotripsy to break up the stone. This procedure entails exposing the stone to shock waves that break it apart. If lithotripsy doesn’t work, surgery to remove the stone may be necessary.

In rare instances, abdominal pain and painful urination can be symptoms of cancers such as bladder or endometrial cancer.

When to seek medical help

when to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical attention if you notice the following symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing
  • passing stool that appears black or tarry
  • unusual discharge or drainage from your penis or vagina
  • vomiting blood

Make an appointment with your doctor if your symptoms last longer than a day or you develop a fever. These symptoms can indicate an infection and require antibiotics.

Other symptoms that warrant a trip to your doctor’s office include:

  • abdominal pain that doesn’t resolve after two days
  • diarrhea that lasts more than five days
  • unexplained weight loss
  • worsening abdominal pain

This information is a summary. Always seek immediate medical attention if you’re concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.

How are abdominal pain and painful urination treated?

Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection causes your symptoms. Kidney infections, which are serious, may require intravenous antibiotics.

A medication called pyridium relieves burning in the urinary tract, but can turn your urine bright orange or red.

Antibiotics or antiviral medications are prescribed to treat sexually transmitted infections.

How do I care for abdominal pain and painful urination at home?

Pills

Drinking plenty of fluids may help you overcome painful urination. This can dilute the amount of bacteria in your urinary tract and encourage urination.

You also may wish to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen to relieve your pain.

If a UTI is the cause, symptoms will typically resolve soon after you begin taking antibiotics. However, be sure to take your full course of antibiotics to ensure that the infection is cured.

How can I prevent abdominal pain and painful urination?

Prevention

Your body can’t flush bacteria from the urinary tract if you don’t urinate frequently. Drinking plenty of fluids may help reduce the frequency of UTI.

Additionally, you should wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. Doing the opposite can introduce bacteria into your urinary tract.

The following personal hygiene products can irritate your urethra and cause pain with urination:

  • deodorant sprays
  • douches
  • perfumes
  • powders

Having protected sexual intercourse is vital to preventing a sexually transmitted infection.

If kidney stones cause your abdominal pain and painful urination, your doctor may encourage you to save the kidney stones. A laboratory can test the stones to determine what they’re made of. This can help you determine which foods may be causing kidney stones to form. For example, if your stones are uric acid stones, you should avoid foods high in uric acid. These include shellfish and red meat.

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