ZocdocAnswersI frequently feel as though I have to urinate, but when I try I cannot. Why?

Question

I frequently feel as though I have to urinate, but when I try I cannot. Why?

I am a 23 year old female and weight approximately 155lbs. I am 5' 8" tall. Recently, I have had a terrible urge to urinate extremely often (at least 10 times per day) but when I attempt to, I am unable to. Approximately 80% of the time that I try to urinate, I cannot. When I am able to, I get a burning sensation and sometimes a dull pain in my lower stomach area. I have not changed my diet recently, and I have not started taking any other medications. Currently, I am only taking Aciphex for my GERD.

Answer

These symptoms seem very compatible with a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria get into the bladder and begin to multiple. The symptoms of urinary tract infection include cramping or pain or a burning sensation with urination, frequent urination, and a sensation of needing to urinate without always being able to produce urine. Urinary tract infections are very common in young women your age and they are usually easily treated. They also do not usually mean that you have a serious underlying medical problem. Your primary care doctor can diagnose a urinary tract infection based on physical examination and some simple urine tests. Following this, you can receive antibiotics to clear up the infection and also if necessary a medication to relieve the burning sensation. Once you start taking the medications, the symptoms should clear up within a few days. Sometimes urinary tract infections can be more serious, if they begin to climb up into the kidneys. Therefore if you experience high fevers, nausea and vomiting, or back pain these are all signs that the infection may be more serious and that you should seek more urgent medical attention, either from your doctor or in an emergency room.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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