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Why do I have painful urination after giving birth?

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As if giving birth weren't painful enough, now it hurts to pee

Question: Is it okay to have a burning while urinating after 4 weeks after giving birth and having a second degree tear?

Dr. Sherry Ross: First congratulations on the birth of you new baby!

It is not unusual to have burning while urinating after giving birth to your baby. Typically, the pain that happens with urination is during the first six weeks after delivery, especially if you had a vaginal birth. Pain, tears and swelling of the lips of the vagina (vulva), the area between the vaginal opening and anus (perineum) affects 90% of women after having a vaginal delivery.

More: There's A New Game-Changing Option for Treating Incontinence in Women

Pain with urination can occur as a result of:

  • Swelling of the vaginal area as a result of a vaginal delivery
  • Tears near or around the hole (urethra) where urine comes out
  • Trauma to the urethra if you had a Foley catheter placed into the bladder
  • Episiotomy or vaginal tears
  • Urinary tract infection

Most women who have recently had a vaginal delivery are not too excited mentally or physically to get a mirror to look down there to see the aftermath! Tears and swelling in the vagina are the most common cause of pain with urination. It is always best to see your obstetrician to make sure that is the cause and not a UTI, which can have serious complications. A simple urine analysis will rule out that diagnosis.

More: Taking micronutrient supplements during pregnancy may lead to smarter kids

What can be done if you have tears or swelling?

If you have vaginal tears, the best and easiest treatment is topical lidocaine (to numb the affected areas). Sitz baths and ibuprofen will help with the vaginal swelling. Another soothing and helpful tip is to use a squirt water bottle filled with warm water and pour it over the vagina while urinating, which will clean the area and be a bit more gentle on a bruised and swollen vagina.

MoreUnderstanding Urinary Incontinence in Women

The best news of all is the vagina is very resilient. The vagina will be close to “as good as new” within six to 10 weeks. Until then, keep the vagina clean, know your treatment options, and sit down slowly to avoid disrupting the healing process.

Have a question for one of our experts? Email

By Dr. Sherry Ross

Originally published on HelloFlo.

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