Burning sensation in the urethra


A burning sensation in the urethra usually indicates that there is inflammation in the urinary tract.
Inflammation, especially of the urethra, can be caused by certain sexually transmitted pathogens (e.g. Chlamydia, Gonococci) or caused by bacteria in the skin carried into the urethra. It is known in technical jargon as urethritis.
A general inflammation of the urinary tract is usually called a urinary tract infection ("UTI") and is more common in women than men.


The most common causes of burning sensation in the urethra are:

  • Urethritis
  • Gonorrhea (gonorrhea)
  • Chlamydial infection
  • Urinary tract infection / cystitis

You will find detailed information on the causes below.

A burning sensation in the urethra is usually associated with inflammation of the urethra. When it comes to the causes of urethritis, a distinction must be made between two forms: specific and non-specific urethritis.
Specific urethritis is caused by sexually transmitted bacteria called gonococci (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), and is popularly known as gonorrhea.
The unspecific urethritis is caused by various other bacteria, such as chlamydia, intestinal bacteria, mycoplasma and many others. Often times, urethritis is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse.
Urethritis can also be caused by a urinary catheter. Mechanical irritation can damage the mucous membrane, especially if it has to be worn for a long time. This favors the penetration of bacteria.
In addition, other diseases, disorders and inflammations of the urinary tract system can cause a burning sensation in the urethra. Furthermore, disturbances in the hormonal balance associated with an estrogen deficiency can cause a burning sensation in the urethra.

More information can be found here: "Urethritis" and "What are the consequences of a chlamydial infection?".

Cystitis as a cause of burning sensation in the urethra

The symptoms and pathogens of cystitis are similar to those of urethritis. But the location of the inflammation of the bladder is different because it is the bladder and not the urethra that is inflamed. A cystitis distinguishes between an uncomplicated form and a complicated form.

The uncomplicated cystitis is characterized by the fact that there is no fever and no knocking pain on the back. It is important that people drink a lot. Uncomplicated cystitis is usually treated with antibiotics. The side effects of all drugs must be considered and use during pregnancy is only possible to a limited extent.

In the case of a complicated cystitis, action must be taken quickly and adequately. Complicated cystitis shows up with fever and possibly with knocking pain in the area of ​​the kidney bed. The fever is a sign that the bacteria have penetrated the bloodstream and there is a risk of blood poisoning ("sepsis"). Pain in the area of ​​the kidney bed indicates that the inflammation has risen" high "and possibly an inflammation of the renal pelvis.
In these cases, the urine test and the creation of bacterial cultures from the urine are essential. In addition, nitrite proves in the laboratory values ​​that bacteria are in the blood. Here, too, it is important to drink as much as possible. Different antibiotics are used for medication than for uncomplicated cystitis.

More information can be found here: Cystitis therapy

STDs as a cause of burning sensation in the urethra

An infection with the bacteria gonococci (Neisseria gononrrohoeae) leads to a sexually transmitted disease.
This infection can cause a specific inflammation of the urethra. The venereal disease caused by gonococci is also known colloquially as gonorrhea. In medical terminology, it is known as gonorrhea. The infection usually occurs through unprotected sexual intercourse.

You might also be interested in these topics:

  • Chlamydial infection
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

Lack of estrogen as a cause of burning sensation in the urethra

Both women and men can suffer from a temporary or permanent lack of estrogen.
Both the causes and the effects of estrogen deficiency can be very different. An estrone deficiency can also have an impact on the functions of the urinary tract and promote disorders or diseases. The severity of the deficiency should be determined by a doctor and, if necessary, treated with medication.

Situation-dependent burning of the urethra

Burning sensation in the urethra after drinking alcohol

Alcohol can weaken the body's immune system and therefore increase the risk of infections in general.
The risk of urinary tract inflammation is correspondingly increased. In addition, there is a loss of heat through consumption of alcohol, as the vessels in the extremities are dilated. Because this phenomenon also occurs in the urinary tract, the development of urethritis is also promoted.

Also read our topic: Consequences of alcohol

Burning sensation in the urethra after ejaculation

A burning sensation in the urethra may occur after ejaculation.
If this happens occasionally and for a short time without any accompanying symptoms, the phenomenon can be harmless and without any disease value. But it can also be due to inflammation and other diseases. It is therefore advisable to consult a doctor. The burning sensation in the urethra after ejaculation is often also associated with urethritis, which is why ejaculations should be avoided if you have urethritis.


At the beginning of the examination, the focus is on targeted questioning of the patient (anamnese). This is followed by a physical examination in which, among other things, the bladder is palpated from the outside and the kidney bed is tapped on the back.
In order to detect a possible pathogen, a swab of the urethra and a urine sample are taken. A microscopic examination and evaluation takes place. Urine cultures are grown from the urine sample. The first stream of morning urine is required for this. If other underlying conditions are suspected, further examinations will be carried out. For example, it may be necessary to measure certain blood values ​​or to create an ultrasound image of the abdomen.

Concomitant symptoms

The accompanying symptoms of an inflammation of the urethra are largely similar to the symptoms of a urinary bladder infection. In addition to the burning sensation in the urethra, many sufferers complain of mild to very pronounced itching. Urination can be very painful. There may also be a discharge from the urethra. This is called in medical terminology fluorine designated. The discharge can be purulent or glassy-cloudy. In addition, the urethral orifice is sometimes reddened.
The symptoms can appear very differently in men and women. In some women, urethritis sometimes only manifests itself as uncomfortable urination or pain in the lower abdomen. This carries the risk of the inflammation being discovered late. This can be problematic as an untreated urethritis can spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries, which in the worst case can lead to infertility.
The symptoms are usually more pronounced in men. The burning sensation in the urethra can be extremely violent when urinating, but also at rest. In addition, men get a so-called “Bonjour drop”. This is a morning purulent discharge from the urethra. This is especially true in the course of the venereal disease gonorrhea (gonorrhea) observed. Furthermore, the inflammatory processes in men can extend to the prostate and testicles.
If there is a reactive joint inflammation (arthritis) and conjunctivitis as part of a chlamydial infection in addition to the urethritis, it is called "Reiter's syndrome".

Read more about here Chlamydia in men

Increased need to urinate

Diseases and inflammation in the urinary tract can cause an increased need to urinate.
It is also typical, for example, that the person concerned has to go to the toilet frequently, but can only empty small amounts of urine at a time (so-called. Pollakiuria). This can be explained by a temporary dysregulation and the inflammatory processes in the urinary tract. This leads to urination disorders and pain. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, it is extremely important that those affected drink as much as possible. The aim of a high fluid intake is that the bacteria are flushed out of the body with the urine. No attempt should be made to hold back the urine for a long time. This can worsen the inflammatory processes.

Also read: Frequent urination


Treatment of urethritis always depends on the cause.
If bacteria have triggered the inflammation, a suitable antibiotic is selected according to the pathogen. Since different antibiotics have different properties and a different spectrum of activity, a differentiated choice must be made.
If the urethritis was triggered by clamydia, so-called macrolide antibiotics are usually chosen. These include, for example, erythromycin and clarithromycin. They have a bacteriostatic effect, i.e. they prevent the bacteria from growing. It should be noted that these antibiotics can affect the way other drugs work and cause gastrointestinal problems. In addition, particular caution is required with existing heart diseases, as side effects can also occur in the heart. These antibiotics are not permitted during breastfeeding because they can pass into breast milk.
The so-called tetracyclines are an alternative. These also inhibit the growth of bacteria. However, they are not suitable for children or pregnant women, as they can cause tooth and bone damage. They can also cause gastrointestinal complaints. There may also be photosensitivity with redness or burns on the skin. However, this is rare with short-term therapy.
In the case of gonorrhea (gonorrhea), i.e. an inflammation of the urethra caused by gonococci, so-called cephalosporins are usually used (for example "Cefixime") used as reserve antibiotics. That means they are only used for certain illnesses and emergencies. The doctor selects the appropriate remedy for the patient individually. Side effects such as allergies, bleeding tendencies and intolerances can arise. In combination with other drugs you can Cephalosporins Cause damage to the kidney.
In the case of a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea (gonorrhea), the co-treatment of the partner is an elementary part of the therapy. It is also advisable to use a condom during sexual intercourse in order to prevent the pathogen from being transmitted.

Home remedies

In some cases, certain home remedies can aid the healing process of urethritis. The basis of the treatment is to drink as much as possible in order to better flush out the bacteria through the increased urination. It is also important to keep your feet warm, as there is a relationship between blood flow to the feet and blood flow to the urinary tract. This relationship to one another is established via nerve-vessel reflexes. In addition, adequate blood circulation ensures that the immune system is more active.
Furthermore, certain fruit juices such as cranberry can be used. Currant and cranberry juice also acidify the urine. A general intake of vitamin C also has this effect. According to some authors, this can inhibit the reproduction of bacteria to a certain extent.
There are also bladder tea blends from various manufacturers in drugstores and pharmacies that can promote the healing process of urethritis. There are also tons of different tips about teas and drinks that can be advisable.
During the time of urethritis, all activities and stresses that could irritate the urethra should be avoided. This means that masturbation and sexual intercourse should be avoided in this phase.

Also read our topic: Home remedies for a cystitis


The duration and prognosis depend on the cause.
With adequate and prompt treatment with the right antibiotic, the prognosis is good. With early therapy and if the medication is taken conscientiously, consequential damage rarely occurs. In order to prevent the bacteria from developing resistance to the antibiotic active ingredient, it is extremely important that the antibiotic is taken over the full amount prescribed by the doctor, even if the symptoms have subsided earlier. This means that premature discontinuation of antibiotic therapy could encourage the bacteria to return. If all of this is observed, uncomplicated urethritis will subside in about a week.
Occasionally, however, complications can arise. In men, chlamydia can cause inflammation of the prostate or epididymis. Fever is often a sign of this inflammation.
In women, inflammation of the fallopian tube and ovaries can be provoked. As a rule, this inflammation is accompanied by fever, chills and pelvic pain. There is also the risk that the fallopian tubes will stick together as a result of the inflammatory processes. This can lead to infertility.
If there is an inflammation of the urethra due to chlamydia during pregnancy, this can have consequences for the unborn child. The bacteria can cause conjunctivitis in the embryo and, in rare cases, blindness.

You might also be interested in this topic:

  • Inflammation of the prostate
  • Inflammation of the ovaries