Sharp Pain in Urethra

Saima Andrabi   by Saima Andrabi, MS, Clinical Biochemistry    Last updated on March 4, 2020,



Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra (a tube responsible for carrying out the urine out of the body). It is mostly caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) but may also result due to an injury to the urethra (caused such as by using a urinary catheter) or irritation of the urethra due to exposure of some chemicals such as antiseptics or spermicides. 

Sexually transmitted urethritis is further classified into two types –


What Causes Sharp Pain in Urethra?

Urethra is the lowermost part of the urinary system responsible for carrying the urine out of the body. Urethra may sometimes become highly inflamed resulting in sharp pain.

Sharp pain in urethra has different causes including infections, and other environmental causes. Pain in the urethra may be sometimes caused due to a serious underlying medical condition and requires immediate medical intervention.

Sharp pain in the urethra can be sometimes extremely uncomfortable and may result in painful urination. Urethral pain is found in both men and women and the common causes include STDs (chlamydia), urinary tract infections (UTIs), chemical irritation, etc.

Following are some of the causes of sharp pain in urethra:

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

These infections may involve any part of the urinary system including urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. UTIs occur due to various bacterial infections that may enter the urethra from colon or rectum. Once inside the urethra, these bacteria divide and increase in number leading to severe inflammation.

From the urethra, these bacteria may enter the bladder and result in sharp pain in the urethra especially during urinating.


Different bacterial and viral infections cause inflammation of the urethra called urethritis.

Urethritis can occur in both males and females and often present symptoms like:

  • Painful urination
  • Pain in the urethra
  • Itching of the urethra
  • Abnormal urethral discharge such as the release of mucus or pus

Urethral Syndrome

Urethral syndrome is characterized by non-infectious inflammation and irritation of the urethra and often leads to extreme sharp pain in the urethra.

Sharp pain associated with the urethral syndrome is mainly caused due to irritation or sensitivity of urethra to various things such as perfumes, soaps, bubble baths, sanitary napkins, spermicides, condoms, sexual intercourse, urethral injury, douches, etc.

Urethral Stricture

Different factors such as infections, injuries, and inflammations are responsible for scar tissue formation in the urethra which in turn causes narrowing of the urethra called a urethral stricture. Urethral strictures are often associated with:

  • Sharp pain in urethra
  • Reduced urine output
  • Painful urination
  • Improper bladder emptying

Obstructive Uropathy

 Obstructive uropathy is caused due to blockage in the urinary system which makes it difficult to pass urine out of the body. Blockage in the urinary system may sometimes lead to backflow of urine into the kidneys which may result in full or partial kidney damage.

The associated symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the urethra
  • Fever
  • Reduced urine output
  • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • Blood in the urine

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PIDs are caused due to various bacterial infections that primarily start in the vagina or cervix and then move towards the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. If the PID causing bacteria enter through the urethra, they may result in sharp pain in the urethra.

Vaginal Yeast Infections

Vaginal yeast infections are caused due to an overgrowth of fungus Candida in the vagina which leads to extreme itching, and burning in and around the vagina.

Vaginal yeast infections often cause pain in the urethra especially during urination due to inflammation of the urethra caused by the fungus.


Epididymitis is the inflammation of the epididymis in males resulting in testicular pain and swelling, and tenderness of the epididymis.

STDs may be sometimes responsible for inflammation of the epididymis and therefore result in pain in urethra and testes.

Kidney Stones

Blockage of the urinary tract due to kidney stones may also lead to sharp urethral pain especially while passing the urine.


Inflammation of the prostate gland is referred as prostatitis. Acute prostatitis caused due to various bacterial infections may result in severe urethral pain, pelvic pain, painful ejaculation, frequent UTIs, etc.


Infections Causing Urethritis and Sharp Pain in Urethra

Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra caused due to various factors such as infections, irritation to some chemicals, sexually transmitted diseases, other causes.



Other Conditions Causing Pain in Urethra

Besides infections, there are some other factors responsible for urethral pain and these may include:

Medications and Foods

Some medications and foods irritate the urethra and result in extreme urethral pain. These include chocolates, acidic juices, carbonated beverages, some medicines like Procardia (nifedipine). 

Traumatic Injury to the Urethra

Any kind of damage to the urethra either due to traumatic injury or cystoscopic procedure may lead to sharp pain in the urethra.

Skin Conditions

Some skin conditions like psoriasis and lichen sclerosis near the opening of the urethra are also responsible for urethral pain.


When to Consult a Doctor for Urethral Pain

For mild urethral pain caused due to chemical irritation, you don’t need to worry as it will go away as soon as you stop using such chemicals. But for extreme painful urethritis you may need to consult a doctor especially under the following conditions:

  • If you have difficulty in urinating followed by extreme discomfort
  • If you face burning sensation while peeing
  • If you have pain in your genitals
  • If you have a high body temperature, nausea, vomiting, and back pain


How Can I Avoid my Urethral Pain?

Urethral pain can be very annoying and uncomfortable and may interfere in your normal day to day activities. Following measures can be taken for avoiding the pain:

  • Drink plenty of fluids for avoiding bladder infections
  • Maintain genital hygiene
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals such as douches, feminine hygiene sprays, and other perfumed hygiene products
  • Use sanitary pads or tampons that are perfume and deodorant free
  • Urinate before sex
  • Use medications as prescribed by your doctor


Frequently Asked Questions

A painful urethra has many underlying factors that can be extremely uncomfortable. Some of the common causes of urethral pain are infections, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and irritation from chemicals, etc.

There are many things that can irritate your urethra. Some of them include:

  • Vaginal hygiene products like douches, perfumed hygiene sprays, etc
  • Sanitary pads and tampons
  • Spermicidal products
  • Some foods, and beverages containing caffeine

Various methods can be applied for getting relief from urethra irritation:

  • Maintain your genital hygiene
  • Avoid sexual intercourse till you get relief from your symptoms
  • Avoid perfumed vaginal products
  • Avoid using spermicides

Urethritis in women is inflammation of the urethra and is caused by many factors such as urinary tract infections (common in women), STDs, exposure to chemical irritants (soaps, perfumed vaginal products, douches, spermicides).

Urethritis is of two different types. One is called gonococcal and is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The other type is non- gonococcal and is mostly caused by Chlamydia which is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Non-gonococcal urethritis is mostly caused by STD infections.

Saima Andrabi

Saima Andrabi is a clinical biochemist and is passionate about driving knowledge platforms for creating health awareness in the general public. She pursued her master’s degree in clinical biochemistry from University of Kashmir, Srinagar followed by an internship from National Institute of pathology, New Delhi. Her areas of interest include molecular biology, immunology, medical physiology and forensic medicine. Saima is very much interested in writing medical content and wants to create awareness in public through this platform.


Currently, Saima Andrabi is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer.

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