Children's Hospital Colorado

Urination Pain - Male

Urgent or Emergency Care?

If you believe your child needs immediate attention and you have concerns for a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Not sure what counts as urgent and what's an emergency when your child is sick or injured? When it can't wait, know where to take your kids.

Help Me Decide

  • Pain, burning or stinging when passing urine
  • Male
  • 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

Causes of Pain Passing Urine

  • Any boy who has pain when passing urine needs his urine checked. Sometimes in young boys, the urine is normal.
  • Meatitis. This means redness at the opening of the penis. It may have a sore or scab on it. Passing urine is painful. It occurs in boys who are circumcised. Can be caused by any irritant, such as bubble bath. Sometimes, the opening becomes infected with a bacteria, such as Strep.
  • Foreskin Infection. This means an infection under the foreskin. The main symptom is a red and tender foreskin. Pus may also ooze out of the foreskin opening. Passing urine is painful. It occurs in boys who are not circumcised.
  • Urethral Injury (Serious). The urethra passes through the entire penis. It can be injured by any straddle injury, such as falling on the crossbar of a bike. It can be bruised or torn. The main symptoms are bloody urine and pain when passing urine. There may be a bruise on the shaft of the penis. Some boys don't report an injury to the penis or scrotum.
  • Bladder or Kidney Infections (urinary tract infections) are possible at any age. They are not common in boys.
  • STI. In teens, pain when passing urine can be from diseases spread during sex.

Call 911 Now

  • Not moving or too weak to stand
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Go to ER Now

  • Can't pass urine or can only pass a few drops

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Blood in urine
  • Severe pain when passing urine
  • Fever is present
  • Stomach, side or back pain
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Painful to pass urine, but none of the symptoms above. Reason: could be a bladder infection.

Care Advice for Pain When Passing Urine

  1. What You Should Know About Pain When Passing Urine:
    • In boys, pain when passing urine is not common.
    • Most of them need a urine sample tested for a bladder infection.
    • Here is some care advice that should help, until you talk with your doctor.
  2. Do Not Use Soaps - Young Boys Only:
    • Do not use bubble bath, soap and shampoo in the bath water. They can cause the penis opening to be red and sore.
    • Only use warm water to cleanse the head of the penis.
    • After puberty, soap can be used.
  3. Fluids - Offer More:
    • Give extra fluids to drink.
    • Reason: Dilutes the urine so that it does not sting.
  4. Pain Medicine:
    • For pain when passing urine, give a pain medicine.
    • You can use an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Use as needed.
  5. 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.
  6. What to Expect:
    • If soap is the cause, the pain should go away within 24 hours.
    • Itching or skin redness may last 2 days.
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pain when passing urine becomes severe
    • Fever occurs
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse


The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to 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.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

If you think that your child is having a medical emergency, call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!

And when in doubt, call your child's doctor NOW or go to the closest emergency department.

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