Urination Pain  

This Care Guide Covers:

  • Pain, burning or stinging when passing urine
  • Also, suspect pain if your young child starts to cry while passing urine
  • The feeling of “can't wait” to pass urine may occur. This is called urgency.
  • Passing small amounts of urine (a few drops) at a time may also occur. This is called frequency.
  • Not caused by an injury to the genitals

If not, see these topics
When to Call Your Doctor

Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
  • Not moving or too weak to stand
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • Can't pass urine or can only pass a few drops
  • Blood in urine
  • Severe pain when passing urine
  • Fever is present
  • Stomach, side or back pain
  • You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
  • Painful to pass urine, but none of the symptoms above. (Reason: Could be a bladder infection.)
Causes & Health Information


  • Main Cause in Young Girls.  Bubble bath, shampoo or soap in bath water. Can cause the genital area to become red and sore.  This is called “soap vulvitis”.  It can cause pain when passing urine. Using a soapy washcloth can also be the cause. Vaginal itching or redness can also occur.
  • Any boy who has pain when passing urine needs his urine checked. Sometimes in young boys, the urine is normal. The pain can be caused by redness at the penis opening.  In teenagers, pain when passing urine can be from diseases spread during sex.
  • Bladder or kidney infections (urinary tract infections) are possible at any age.

Return to School

  • Even if your child has a bladder infection, it cannot be spread to others. Your child does not need to miss any school or child care.
CARE ADVICE FOR PAIN WHEN PASSING URINE (Use this until you talk with your doctor)

  1. What You Should Know:  
    • In young girls, soap is the most common cause of pain with passing urine.
    • To rule out a bladder infection, she needs to have her urine checked.
    • Here is some care advice that should help, until you talk with your doctor.
  2. Baking Soda Baths - Young Girls Only:
    • Soak for 10 minutes to remove germs and to help with healing.
    • Add 2 ounces (60 ml) baking soda per tub of warm water.
    • Reason: Baking soda is better than vinegar for young girls.
    • During soaks, be sure she spreads her legs. This allows the water to cleanse the genitals.
    • Repeat baking soda soaks 2 times per day for 2 days.
  3. Do Not Use Soaps - Young Girls Only:
    • Do not use bubble bath, soap and shampoo in the bath water. They can cause the genitals to be red, sore or itchy. This is the most common cause of pain with passing urine in young girls.
    • Only use warm water to cleanse the genitals.
    • Baby oil can be used to remove any dried body fluids.
    • After puberty, soap can be used.
  4. Give More Fluids:
    • Give extra fluids to drink.
    • Reason: Dilutes the urine so that it does not sting.
  5. Pain Medicine:
    • For pain when passing urine, give a pain medicine.
    • Give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen.
    • Use as needed. See Dose Table.
  6. Return to School:  
    • Even if your child has a bladder infection, it cannot be spread to others.
    • Your child does not need to miss any school or child care.
  7. What to Expect:
    • If soap is the cause, the pain should go away within 24 hours.
    • Itching or skin redness may last 2 days.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pain when passing urine becomes severe
    • Fever occurs
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012

Last Revised: 1/13/2013

Content Set: Child Symptom Checker

Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.