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Intermittent bladder/urethra discomfort

Sorry this is so long, but there's a lot of unusual and difficult-to-describe symptoms here, so bear with me.

I'll be making an appointment with a urologist shortly, but before I get there, I wanted to get an idea of what my issues might be, because in searching around the web, I'm at a bit of a loss...nothing strongly resembles my symptoms.  So I thought I'd ask here in the hopes that someone might point me in the right general direction so I can do some research of my own and ask/respond intelligently once I see the urologist.

UTI has been tested for and ruled out, but I was given a 10-day course of Doxycycline, just to be certain.  There is no discharge or unusual coloration to my urine and no noticeable increase in frequency or urgency.  Of note, I do have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is known to have odd symptoms in various systems, sometimes including Benign Pelvic Pain Syndrome/Interstital Cystitis, so this might be related to that.

Anyway, on to symptoms:  It began about 2 months ago with a freqent odd sensation as though someone had a water pistol inside my bladder and was squirting it at the base of the urethra.  There was no leakage at all, but it felt kind of like it "wanted to", for lack of a better term, but was being stopped by urethral muscles.

Over time, that sensation faded to be replaced by bladder discomfort/pain as well as urethral discomfort, but NOT on urinating...usually more likely to be a little while AFTER urinating, as though the urethra didn't like something in the urine and was reacting to the minute amounts remaining inside after I was done.  The urethra discomfort also frequently occurs on its own, regardless of urination.  The sensation is much like someone taking a pen to the urethra in that it's a little sharp, but not painfully so.  The discomfort also sometimes extends to the outside of the penis, which becomes slightly tender, as though there were a mild sunburn.  It tends to be more towards the middle or tip of the penis 95% of the time, though a few times, I've have an odd awareness of the region between my testicles and buttocks.

Both bladder and urethra discomfort are usually easily ignored, with occasionally an Advil or two if the bladder is particularly bad.  Often, there's little or no sensation of anything wrong at all.

Ejaculation also feels...a little odd sometimes.  It's hard to describe, but it sometimes feels similarly sharp to what I described above, and just before that, it feels almost as if I'm losing bladder control...but I'm clearly not, and the bladder is usually empty in any event.  Best guess based on the sensation and timing of it is that I'm hyper-aware of the pre-ejaculate entering the urethra.

The REAL oddity here, though, is that all symptoms are almost exclusively left-sided.  Occasionally the bladder discomfort will be the full width of the bladder, and there's the occasional hint of something on the right side of the urethra, but both have only happened once or twice and I suspect it's more of a radiated discomfort than anything.  Symptoms also vary throughout the day, with a short-term pattern usually being bladder discomfort earlier in the day and urethral discomfort later in the day.  Long-term, there seems to be a pattern of a couple of bad days followed by several good days.

Finally, eliminating coffee and tea from my diet and drinking mostly water has almost completely eliminated the bladder problems, only becoming slightly uncomfortable about mid-morning some days.  It hasn't had as large of an impact on the urethral symptoms, though...they're definitely reduced, but not eliminated.

My best guess from what I've seen is Interstitial Cystitis or perhaps some kind of urethral damage, but these don't quite seem to fit.  Prostate issues don't seem to fit either.  Any thoughts from the community?
15 Responses
Avatar universal
Similar symptoms!
Any luck getting a good diagnostic?
Avatar universal
I'll let you know if I do.
Avatar universal
This is a very good explanation of symptoms I'm showing. It's been this way for a month now. I too took doxycycline & I also took a course of zithromax, both showing no real effect.
I've been researching & a good name for what I feel is 'urethral awareness' whereby I'm pretty much constantly feeling asthought sand is trickling through my urethral passage, anywhere from my anus to the tip
Have you been for tests? Took any other medication etc?
Avatar universal
I haven't followed up on this as yet, as my former urologist wants a referral and symptoms have been gradually decreasing over the past 3 months (though most especially in the month since I posted this).  So for now, I'm playing a "wait & see" game.

At this point, there's only slight bladder discomfort on rare occasions and very rarely a slight increase in sensitivity to urination.  The sensation of leakage into the urethra is still there when I bear down, but again, no *actual* leakage.  I don't even always react to coffee (which used to be a clear trigger), though I still will most of the time.  To be on the safe side, I've been avoiding acidic/spicy food & drink, and that seems to be the biggest factor.  That points to Interstitial Cystitis as the cause, but as far as I know, IC doesn't tend to improve over time.

Could also be some kind of injury or irritation to the bladder...a kidney stone I passed recently gave me very similar symptoms for several days as the stone sat in the bladder, unwilling to come out.  Within a day of it (finally!) passing, most symptoms on that side of the bladder went away.

At this point, it's guesswork as to what it is, though.  Since it seems to be going away, though, like I said, I'm content to wait it out.
Avatar universal
I'm having the exact same issues and I'm female.  Seriously, it's only on the left side and it's intermittent (sp?).  It's especially bad when I am constipated or have bad diarrhea.  I eliminated soda from my diet and mostly drink water now.  Once a month it will get extremely bad for a week until I take aspirin.  I have been taking probiotics 2 times a day and cranberry pills 2 times a day (double the daily dose).  PLEASE let me know if you find anything b/c I'm uninsured due to underemployment and I'm trying to decide if I should see a urologist or if I need to see someone else b/c I also heard that constipation could cause you to feel like you have a UTI.  UTI was ruled out though.
Avatar universal
In my case, it seems to have been related to kidney stones. I suspect it was probably related to having blood in my urine which aggravated the bladder and urethra. Why this produced external sensitivity, though, I don't know.
Avatar universal
I am female, have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have been dealing with this same strangness for about two week's. First test was negative for UTI. Waiting for 2nd results. I will post when I get them. It should be today.
Avatar universal
I also had a three day dose of Cipro and now 3 day's of Diflucan. Still no change in symptoms.
Avatar universal
I have been experiencing the EXACT symptoms for the past 5 years with NO RELIEF at all... there are times when I will go a few days and feel absolutely fine, then out of no where the symptoms come back full force. There are days that the tip of the penis (urethral opening) is severly inflammed and irritated- this will subside over a day or two, then come back again full force.  At times I get spasms in the penis as you described- almost like something is trying to be expelled from the urethra but yet nothing comes out... it is a very strange feeling.  Ejaculation makes the situation WAY Worse as well as the irritation at the tip. I have been tested for everything- all tests coming back nagative for anything !  I did have an ecoli infection of the bladder which has been treated- this confirmed by re-testing.  All Drs are telling me that this is all in my head- just becuase all tests have come back negative.  There are several people on here with the same issue- ALL of which have been told it is in our heads and that we are concentrating on "normal" body sensations- NO WAY is that the issue at all.  There are days this "irritation" is unbearable... the burning (non-voiding), stinging sensation that comes and goes is def not my imagination.  Sexual activity is no longer enjoyable, and causes days of discomfort- not to mention the emotional stress it has caused.  MONTHS and MONTHS of antibiotics have done nothing to cure/fix this problem, and to date I have found nothing to alleviate the symptoms. It is hard to empty the bladder- having severe leakage afterwards, and sometimes when I believe I am done urinating I get this intense pressure and actually ejaculate (no erection)  how can this all be in my head... how can literally 11 Drs tell me that there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG....  I just dont get it...
Avatar universal
Just to add a "me too", I have been having similar symptoms for the past 18 months, without the "water pistol" effect, but instead starting with a constant feeling of the need to urinate, which lasted about 2 weeks and comes back every so often.  Negative for UTI, Chlamydia, Gonnorrhea, and urinalysis showed nothing unusual.  As with the OP, the symtoms come and go but are worst when tired and/or stressed and are following a pattern of slowly improving with time, so I am hoping for the best.  Very strange, though.
Avatar universal
I have had similar symptoms. Mostyl right side. Heaviness in testicle. Sharp twinge with ejaculation, right at tip of urethral opening, as if it got nicked a little. Sometimes pass some brown sludge-like substance. But no green puss or anything like you read about with std's. Went on for several years, although in hind site, could have been going on for decades since I was 20 (im 40 now). Worsened in past 5 years. On one occassion, no urine came out. I can often feel it moving around (the pain) with meals, starts high up, like just below lungs, like gas, then follows intestines down, can feel it with bowel movement some time. I assume it is because as food and excretement move through my body, it is putting pressure on the ureter with the stone, and maybe sometimes pain is radiating (heaviness in testicle). Tingly sensation at urethral opening. Increased mucus (like when you get a runny nose when you get punched in the nose, I guess, this stimulation causes urethra to produce more mucus). Doc could find nothing (negative for UTI, STD, etc). Then I passed a stone... a little scary to see blood like that coming out of your penis, but it seemed to have relieved symptoms. I assume it is due to kidney stones, maybe most of the time, they are subclinical, i.e. doc cannot find any obvious problem. It is worrisome to not know what is going on, however, at the very worst, I would liken the pain to a bad sore throat, but very worrisom due to the stigma std's have (everyone assumes it is an std). I find that drinking a lot of water, flush out your system, seems to help best.  I guess some of the irritation of urethra is due to the small stones, or some poorly dissolved waste product in urethra irritating it. Drinking more flushes kidneys, clears out the material in urethra. Physical activity, like doing more exercise, seems to increase it sometimes, maybe combination of jarring stones lose and dehydration??? Good luck all who are dealing with this. Doctors have been just about useless.
Avatar universal
Same thing as your description, RobinHood70...well said by the way. I started with GI issues about 1.5 yrs ago...scopes and upper GI testing, negative..."here's an IBS packet, see you next time". First prolonged occurence of this issue was 6 months ago. Urine tests, negative. Bladder sonogram, negative. Went away after 2 weeks on its own. Resurfaced a month ago and back to the urologist...urine test, negative. Coincidence or not, I helped move a heavy desk with no obvious injurie about 2 weeks before the resurfacing. I have a desk job, smoke (trying to quit) and right before the second instance started getting a pain in the groin, next to the hip bone. My research is pointing to pelvic floor issues that kind of make sense, mixed with GI issues, back pain, sitting at a desk, poor posture, etc. Just got a stand up desk for work and am going to try yoga. Chiropractor is focusing on nerve & trigger points last 2 sessions but no change. Anyone made any progress or have similar lifestyle and/or other issues as I described...had bladder cancer ruled out?
Avatar universal
I have exactly the same symptoms, except that I take azo when the urethral pain is there. NSAIDs provoke my symptoms. I stopped coffee, alcohol and chocolate 2 years ago. I always suspected kidney stones but I can't really know. I plan to go to a urologist...but I know that I'm going to come back with a diagnosis of IC and a pile of prescriptions. I had a rough time these 2 last years and will research Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'm a 51 years old woman.
Avatar universal
I have the same problems to a tee!!!!  even as beetle1234 said "it's gets worse when I'm over worked and stressed" the only this I could add to this is the day it started and had extreme bladder pain on and off for two days and now I have this discomfort feeling for 2 years.   Has Anybody figured this out yet?
Avatar universal
Anyone found out what this is or was as I'm have this at min . I have urologist app 14Feb
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