Whats Causing My Abdominal Pain and Painful Urination?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

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.

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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.

Here are 14 possible causes of abdominal pain and painful urination.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur in any part of the urinary tract. Bacteria cause the vast majority of UTIs. Read more about urinary tract infections.

Prostatitis

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Prostatitis is inflammation of your prostate gland. The inflammation may spread to the area around your prostate. Read more about prostatitis.

Chlamydia infection

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. People who have chlamydia often do not have outward symptoms in the early stages. Read more about the symptoms of chlamydia.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). This STD causes herpetic sores, which are painful blisters (fluid-filled bumps) that can break open and ooze fluid. Read more about genital herpes.

Systemic gonococcal infection (gonorrhea)

Gonorrhea is an STI that can spread through vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. Read more about gonorrhea.

Kidney stones

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These hard stones made of minerals block your urinary tract. This can cause intense pain until the stone passes. Read more about kidney stones.

Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer occurs in the tissues of the bladder, which is the organ in the body that holds urine. Read more about bladder cancer.

Endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the inner lining of your uterus. This lining is called the endometrium. Read more about endometrial cancer.

Urethritis

Urethritis is a condition in which the urethra, or the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body, becomes inflamed and irritated. Semen also passes through the male urethra. Find out more about urethritis.

Epididymitis

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Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis. The epididymis is a tube located at the back of the testicles that stores and carries sperm. When this tube becomes swollen, it can cause pain and swelling in the testicles. Read more about epididymitis symptoms.

Pyelonephritis

Acute pyelonephritis is a sudden and severe kidney infection. It causes the kidneys to swell and may permanently damage them. Read more about pyelonephritis.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs in women. Read more about PID symptoms.

Obstructive uropathy

Obstructive uropathy is when your urine can’t flow (either partially or completely) through your ureter, bladder, or urethra due to some type of obstruction. Instead of flowing from your kidneys to your bladder, urine flows backward, or refluxes, into your kidneys. Read more about obstructive uropathy.

Urethral stricture

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Usually the urethra is wide enough for urine to flow freely through it. When the urethra narrows, it can restrict urinary flow. Read more about the urethral stricture.

When to seek medical help

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. If you don’t already have a provider, our ishonest FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.

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
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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?

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 it 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?

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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?

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 urinary tract infection.

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Additionally, if you’re a woman, 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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