Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Did I catch a disease from a swimming pool?"
When I used the swimming pool at my friend's gym afterward like the next day it hurt when I went to the bathroom. What happened? Can you catch something from a swimming pool that would make it hurt when you urinate?
Swimming pools, assuming that they are properly maintained, contain a high concentration of chlorine and other chemicals to keep the water disinfected and free of potentially contagious bacteria and other microorganisms. Unfortunately, these chemicals can be quite irritating to the body, especially in sensitive people. One of the well described conditions that can be caused by pool chemicals is something called chemical urethritis, which is basically an irritation of the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the outside) from exposure to the chemicals. Symptoms of chemical urethritis are just like those you describe, including burning or discomfort when urinating. Fortunately, usually the problem resolves on its own in just a day or two without treatment. In any case, you should see your primary care doctor, because the other potential cause of your symptoms would be a urinary tract infection. This would not be specifically related to using the pool but, since urinary tract infections are so common, it could just be coincidence that you picked up an infection on the day you were swimming. If you have any evidence of a urinary tract infection, you will need to be treated with antibiotics, which your doctor can prescribe for you.
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