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Urination Pain - Female


  • Pain, burning or stinging when passing urine
  • Female
  • 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 urine more often than normal. This is called frequency.
  • Not caused by an injury to the genitals

Causes of Pain Passing Urine

  • Soap Vulvitis.  Bubble bath, shampoo or soap in bath water is the main cause in young girls. Can cause the genital area to become red and sore.  This is called "soap vulvitis."  It can cause pain when passing urine. Using a soapy washcloth can also be the cause. Vaginal itching or redness can also occur.
  • Bladder or Kidney Infections (urinary tract infections) are possible at any age. It can be diagnosed by checking a urine sample.
  • Labial Fusion. (also called labial adhesions) This is when the vaginal lips or folds are stuck together. The vaginal opening looks closed off. Labia that are closed more than half way can collect soap or stool. The main symptom is itching in this area. It can also cause pain when passing urine.

When To Call

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

What You Should Know:

  • In young girls, soap is the most common cause of pain with passing urine.
  • To rule out a bladder infection, she needs to have her urine checked.
  • Here is some care advice that should help, until you talk with your doctor.

Baking Soda Baths - Young Girls Only:

  • Soak for 10 minutes to remove germs and to help with healing.
  • Add 2 ounces (60 mL) baking soda per tub of warm water.
  • Reason: baking soda is better than vinegar for young girls.
  • During soaks, be sure she spreads her legs. This allows the water to cleanse the genitals.
  • Repeat baking soda soaks 2 times per day for 2 days.

Do Not Use Soaps - Young Girls Only:

  • Do not use bubble bath, soap and shampoo in the bath water. They can cause the genitals to be red, sore or itchy. This is the most common cause of pain with passing urine in young girls.
  • Only use warm water to cleanse the genitals.
  • Baby oil can be used to remove any dried body fluids.
  • After puberty, soap can be used.

Vinegar - Warm Water Soaks - Girls After Puberty:

  • Soak the genital area for 10 minutes to remove germs and irritants.
  • Add 2 ounces (60 mL) vinegar per tub of warm water.
  • Reason: after puberty, vinegar water matches the normal acidity of the vagina.
  • During soaks, be sure she spreads her legs. Reason: this allows the water to cleanse the genital area.
  • Repeat vinegar water soaks once per day until seen.

Fluids - Offer More:

  • Give extra fluids to drink.
  • Reason: dilutes the urine so that it does not sting.

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.

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.

What to Expect:

  • If soap is the cause, the pain should go away within 24 hours.
  • Itching or skin redness may last 2 days.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • Pain when passing urine becomes severe
  • Fever occurs
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse


Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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