The causes of frequent urination and burning may signal different conditions, depending on the person’s sex. In women, these symptoms are usually caused by a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection (UTI), though in some cases it can be the result of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In men, urinary tract infections are considered quite rare because of the length of the urethra. The most common cause of frequent urination and burning in men is typically associated with STDs.
The urethra is a tube that carries urine out of the body. In women, the tube opening is located very near the rectum, and rectal bacteria can easily be transferred to the urethra. Once there, the bacteria sometimes migrate into the bladder or even the kidneys. The placement of the urethra in the anatomy of men makes it far less prone to bacterial infections. For this reason, women are far more susceptible to UTIs than are men.
Another condition that sometimes causes frequent urination and burning is cystitis, or an inflamed bladder. It is usually caused by bacteria and is typically considered a type of UTI. Other causes of cystitis that are not caused by bacteria include catheter use and reactions to some types of drugs. If left untreated, cystitis may spread to the kidneys and cause a much more serious condition. As with most types of UTIs, treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics.
Chlamydia is considered the most prevalent STD and is believed to affect more than 3 million people every year. Along with burning when urinating, chlamydia often includes a discharge from the vagina or penis. The symptoms of chlamydia may stop without treatment, but the infection could still be present in the body. This results in many people carrying around the disease without even knowing it, which is probably one of the reasons that it is such a wide spread contagion.
Another STD that can cause frequent urination and burning in both men and women is gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is another STD that sometimes goes undiagnosed because many people experience no symptoms at all. Gonorrhea can occur in sexual organs, the rectum, or the throat. It is considered highly contagious, and if left untreated, gonorrhea can have serious side effects.
Treatment for both chlamydia and gonorrhea typically include antibiotics. In addition, because of the risk of contagion, doctors are often mandated by law to require a 60-day sexual history from patients who have either of these diseases. Typically, doctors will need to know the names and contact information of sexual partners, so that these people can be notified that they may be at risk.