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What’s Causing My Back Pain and Frequent Urination?

What are back pain and frequent urination?

Acute back pain, or more specifically lower back pain, is one of the top reasons people miss work. This pain can last from a few days to several weeks and range from dull and aching to sharp and stabbing.

Back pain that lasts more than three months is considered chronic. This pain is usually progressive. The cause of chronic back pain is harder to diagnose.

Frequent urination is when you have to urinate more often than what’s normal for you. You may find that the need to urinate gets in the way of normal activities, such as getting a full night’s sleep.

Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions to try to determine the cause of your back pain and urinary frequency. It can be caused by a number of things, including kidney and prostate conditions, weight gain, and, in rare cases, cancer.

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Symptoms

What other symptoms may accompany back pain and frequent urination?

With back pain and frequent urination, you may also experience:

  • blood in urine
  • cloudy urine
  • constant urge to urinate
  • pain that moves to lower abdomen or groin
  • difficulty starting urination or emptying bladder
  • pain or burning during urination
  • painful ejaculation
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Talk to your doctor if you’re experience any of these symptoms. The more your doctor knows, the more likely they’ll be able to diagnose the cause of your back pain and frequent urination.

Causes

What causes back pain and frequent urination?

Kidney problems

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in your lower back. They filter your blood and release waste products through your urine. Kidney problems can cause both back pain and frequent urination.

Back pain felt near your side or the small of your back may be related to your kidneys. Sometimes the pain will move to the center of your abdomen. Kidney stones or stones in the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder) can cause pain in the lower back. This pain may also radiate to the groin and is often accompanied by painful or frequent urination. An infection in the kidney can also cause back pain and frequent urination.

Prostate disease

Prostatitis, or prostate gland inflammation, is when an infection causes your prostate to become sore and irritated. The infection can cause lower back or rectal pain and frequent urination, as well as:

  • painful urination
  • painful ejaculation
  • pain around the scrotum and penis
  • chills
  • fever
  • muscular pain
  • fatigue

Other causes

Other causes of back pain and frequent urination may include:

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See a doctor

When to seek medical help

Seek immediate medical attention if your back pain and frequent urination are accompanied by:

  • vomiting
  • loss of bowel control
  • shaking chills
  • obvious blood in the urine

See your doctor as soon as possible if you have:

  • cloudy urine
  • unusual discharge from your penis or vagina
  • back pain and frequent urination that interferes with your day-to-day life

Your doctor will be able to prescribe treatment to help you get better.

Diagnosis

How will your doctor diagnose your condition?

To find the cause of your back pain and frequent urination, your doctor will:

  • conduct a physical exam
  • ask about your medical history
  • ask about your family history
  • order blood or imaging tests

Your doctor may use blood tests or urinalysis to identify abnormalities in your blood or urine. For example, blood tests reveal inflammation or infection. White blood cells in your urine can also indicate that you have an infection. Imaging scans can identify any structural abnormalities that may be causing your symptoms.

Your doctor will also ask about your symptoms to help narrow down the cause of your back pain and frequent urination.

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Treatment

How do you treat back pain and frequent urination?

The treatment for back pain and frequent urination depends on the cause and how long symptoms persist.

Your doctor may prescribe medications or antibiotics for infections that cause back pain and frequent urination. They may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and exercises to stretch and strengthen the back. Surgery may be necessary if you have stones, a tumor, or an abscess.

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Prevention

How can I prevent back pain and frequent urination?

Some causes of back pain and frequent urination aren’t preventable. But you can minimize your risk for certain conditions and health concerns. For example, you can decrease your risks for urinary tract infections by wiping front to back after you use the bathroom. Drinking plenty of water can help flush bacteria through your body. Also, if you have a history of stones in the urinary tract, your doctor can help you identify foods and beverages in your diet as well as certain medications that may be contributing to stone formation.

Try these five strengthening exercises for lower back pain »

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