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  1. #1
    ICN Founder icnmgrjill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000

    Talking Struggling with Urethral Burning - Five Potential Causes

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    When someone calls our office struggling with urethral burning, we usually go over five potential contributing factors. I thought that it would be nice to include these here as well!

    (1) UTI --
    This is always worth mentioning because IC patients do get infections and the one typical symptom of a UTI is that sharp, burning sensation that occurs DURING urination. So, if you find that you're biting your lip as you start to pee, it's helpful to rule out infection... even with a home UTI kit.

    (2) Paraurethral Gland Infection -
    Your urethra is roughly the size and width of your pinkie finger. About halfway up the urethra is a small, spongy gland that kind of wraps around the urethra that we call the paraurethral or periurethral gland. It's a 'homologue' to the mail prostate gland which means that it's identical in cell structure to the mail prostate. And, like the prostate gland, it's known for becoming stagnant and infected. I've personally worked with several patients who have had urethral pain due to infections that had to be drained. They can often be felt as small bumps, roughly the size of a small pea, near the base & front of the vagina . Here's an article that might be helpful:

    (3) Pelvic Floor Dysfunction -
    Pelvic floor muscle spasms or tension have a "burning" quality to the pain. When I have a bladder spasm or strong pelvic floor spasm, I often feel a burning sensation in the vagina almost like a yeast infection. Others have experienced symptoms closer to their urethra. If you haven't had a pelvic floor assessment, it might be worth doing so we know that many IC patients struggle with tight, tender, burning muscles. PFD is VERY treatable! We have a great new CD from the WISH program at Beaumont Hospital (MI) for women with pelvic pain that you might find helpful.

    (4) Urine Burn -
    If your urine feels hot and that it's burning the tissues outside of your urethra (i.e. the vulva), we call this "urine burn" and you're not alone. This is very common and that burning sensation is really more a sign of irritation. It can be dramatically reduced by spraying cool or room temperature water on your urethra/vulva during and after urination. We have some periwash bottles in our shop at: Look under restroom supplies. They're like $2.99. Just fill with water (no other chemicals please) and rinse each time you use the restroom. It works amazingly well!

    (5) Chemical Sensitivity -
    If I put on a pair of underwear washed in Cheer or Tide, within five minutes I'll have vulvar and urethral discomfort and burning. Really!! I think it's because our nerves have become more sensitized and thus vulnerable to chemicals & stimulation. We've got two great articles on this in our patient handbook that you might want to review. The most gentle bath soaps are either Basis or Dove bars of soap... or the Very Private Body Wash. For the laundry detergent, we suggest either Ivory Snow or Dreft and always rinse twice to get any and all soap residue off of your clothes. Also, you shouldn't be using any fabric softeners or products that make your laundry smell better. These are very irritating to the crotch area.
    IC Self Help Strategies -
    The Case of the Poison Underwear -

    Just a few ideas worth considering!

    Would you like to talk with someone about your IC struggles? The ICN now offers personal coaching sessions that include myself, Julie Beyer RD on the diet and Dr. Heather Howard on Sexuality.

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    Please remember that the information on the ICN is provided with the understanding that ICN, its founder, staff, volunteers, and participants are not engaged in rendering medical or professional medical services. We cannot and do not give medical advice. Only your personal physician can do this for you.

  2. #2
    ICN Member Trishann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    WOW I was wonder why I burn in my vagina and nothing is wrong like an infection or something. I did not know PFD could be the cause of it. Thanks for the information.


  3. #3
    Support Leader kadi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Add hormones to that excellent list. When I changed birth control pills to one with more estrogen (changed from Yasmin to Necon), the urethral burning was reduced by half...

    I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

    New favorite quote: "God gives us only what we can handle. Apparently God thinks I'm a bad-ass" ~Author Unknown
    Source - Pinterest

    Current treatments:
    -IC diet
    -Elavil 50mg at night
    -Continuous use birth control pills (4-5 periods/year)
    -Heparin/Marcaine/Sodium Bicarb home instills at night 3-4x per week, more often if needed
    -Pyridium if needed,
    -Pain medicine at bedtime daily, as needed during the day several times per week
    -Antibiotic when doing an instillation to prevent UTI
    -Colace & SmartFiber to treat chronic constipation from meds, Fleet enema as needed
    -Dye Free Benadryl 50 mg at bedtime
    -"Your Pace Yoga: Relieving Pelvic Pain" dvd, walking, treadmill at gym
    -Managing stress= VERY important!
    -Fur therapy: Hugging the cat!

  4. #4
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Thanks so so much for this list. I think I will print it out to bring to my new uro on Friday.

    One question, if anyone happens to know it, I am sure you can you have a paraurethral gland infection PLUS IC, but would having a long-term infection of the gland perhaps CAUSE the symptoms of IC?

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