Urinary frequency describes the need to urinate more often than normal, although there isn’t an increase in the amount of urine. In fact, often the amount of urine is decreased. Urgency is the sudden need to urinate. People with these symptoms may also have burning or pain with urination. Although a urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most likely cause, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and other illnesses can also cause these symptoms.
Urinary Tract Infection
The urinary tract includes the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria, and women are at a higher risk of developing UTIs than men. UTIs are not sexually transmitted, but sexual activity or having a new sexual partner can increase the risk of getting an infection. Although they may be asymptomatic, UTIs can cause discolored urine (red, pink or cloudy), bad-smelling urine, burning with urination, a frequent or urgent need to urinate and pelvic pain. They are usually treated with antibiotics.
STDs often cause no symptoms, but they can cause symptoms like those of a UTI. The only way to tell if you have a UTI or an STD is to get tested.
This STD is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, a type of bacteria. As explained by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most people with chlamydia don’t have any symptoms. However, men and women can experience painful or frequent urination. Unlike UTIs, chlamydia may also cause vaginal or penile discharge, pain during sex, and, for women, bleeding between periods. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum, causing bleeding and discharge. Chlamydia can easily be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider. Untreated, however, chlamydia can cause infertility in both men and women.
According to the CDC, gonorrhea, like chlamydia, is a treatable STD. It is usually asymptomatic, although it can also cause pain with urination, vaginal or penile discharge, pain during sex, bleeding between periods for women, and rectal pain and discharge. It is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae and is treated with antibiotics. Like chlamydia, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility if left untreated.
Trichomoniasis is a common STD caused by Trichomonas vaginalis–a protozoan. Many people with “trich,” especially men, have no symptoms. However, it can cause pain during urination and vaginal itching, burning, and discharge. Usually only one dose of antibiotics is needed to treat this infection.
Frequent urination may be caused by other problems in the urinary tract, including an enlarged prostate, kidney problems, urinary incontinence, and overactive bladder. Some people need to urinate more often because they are making more urine; increased urine production can be caused by water pills (diuretics), increased fluid intake, or diabetes. Diabetes, in fact, is very common and is caused by an abnormal amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Increased urination is a common symptom, along with increased thirst, irritability and fatigue.
The only way to figure out the cause of frequency urination is to contact a healthcare provider, and if you suspect that an STD is causing this symptom, make sure to get tested as soon as possible so you can be treated.