The recovery from surgical childbirth can be painful, and pain when urinating is a common complaint. Cesarean section incisions are made very close to the bladder, so there can be some trauma as the baby is born. This is most often temporary and it usually heals during the six-week recovery phase. In some cases, there may be complications. This article covers the reasons you may feel some pain when you pee, symptoms you should report to your doctor, and things you can try to help ease your discomfort. Read further to learn more about this.

Causes of Pain When Urinating After C Section

It is not uncommon to experience pain when you pee after childbirth. This happens more often in a vaginal delivery, but can also occur after a cesarean delivery. In most cases, pain when urinating is normal birth trauma that should go away as your body recovers from surgery. Some of the normal causes of pain with peeing include:

1. Urethral Irritation

You may have noticed after surgery that you had a urinary catheter inserted. This is so the bladder can be fully empty prior to starting surgery and keeping it from filling up during surgery. This will be left in until the anesthesia has fully worn off. After the catheter is removed, you may experience some irritation in the urethra when you pee. Some women report that it feels slightly similar to a UTI with burning, stinging, and pain. 

2. Bladder Spasms

Bladder spasms happen when the bladder muscle suddenly contracts, making you feel like you need to pee right away. This can cause pain when urinating after c section due to the bladder muscles being affected by the surgery and birth of your baby. Most women describe it as a “crampy” feeling just before and while they urinate. It may make you feel like you have to run to the bathroom right away. However, the cramping may persist while you are going and after you finish going pee.
If the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse, you may be experiencing a complication that needs to be addressed by your doctor. These include:

3. Infection

It isn’t uncommon to develop a urinary tract infection that may cause pain when urinating births. As many as 16 percent of new moms go through this after a cesarean. It is usually related to the urinary catheter they had to place for the delivery. Couple that with an epidural block for anesthesia which causes the urinary tract to go to sleep, and you have all the conditions for infection. This causes things like pain or burning when you pee, dark colored urine, sediment, and even fever. This condition does need treatment with antibiotics.

3. Bladder Prolapse

Childbirth can cause your bladder to prolapse, and this can happen to moms who have had c-section deliveries. This is caused by changes to the muscles that hold up the pelvic organs. Late in pregnancy, hormones relax these muscles to get the pelvis ready for the birth. After you deliver, the muscles that hold up the organs tend to stay relaxed during the recovery period. This can cause them to “flop” over. Other symptoms include dribbling of urine, peeing when you sneeze, and pain when urinating. It usually clears up on its own, but in a few cases, surgical repair may be needed.

4. Bladder Injury

A vesicovaginal fistula can develop after a c section birth that causes urine to flow from a small hole between the urethra and the vagina. It is a result of surgery or infection after surgery and can cause foul smelling discharge, pain with urination, incontinence, and infection. While not common, if these do occur they need to be surgically repaired.

5. Adhesions

After any type of abdominal surgery, adhesions can form in the pelvis. This is scar tissue that can cause the tissues to stick together. Adhesions may form on the bladder, urethra, or uterus, causing pain with urination. After surgery, your nurse or doctor can give you tips on how to prevent surgical adhesions. If they do occur, laparoscopic surgery can help remove them.

When to Contact Your Doctor

In the hospital, your doctor and nurses will be checking for signs of infection or complications before you go home. If you have pain when urinating after c section in the hospital, let your nurse know. Once you get home, you should contact your doctors office if you have:

  • Fever over 99.0 ℉
  • Pelvic pain with nausea and vomiting
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Feeling the urge to pee, but can’t go
  • Pain that doubles you over when you pee
  • Dark, cloudy urine
  • Unable to urinate

Tips To Help You Feel Better

If your doctor isn’t concerned and you are early in your recovery phase, there are a few things you can do for comfort. Try these things:

  • Place a pillow over your stomach. Sometimes pressure can help. When using the restroom to pee or have a bowel movement, try placing a pillow over your stomach and press in gently while you pee. This helps relieve pain and start the flow of urine.
  • Use a rinse bottle. In the first few days, you may have burning pain that isn’t related to infection. Your nurse may show you how to use a “peri-rinse” bottle to soothe and cool the area after you pee. It also helps to put a bit of witch hazel in the water to help relieve inflammation down there.
  • Drink extra fluids. It is easy to get dehydrated after childbirth, especially if you’re breastfeeding. This can make your urine thick and dark, which can burn. Make sure you get plenty of fluids in the days, weeks, or even months after you have a baby. This can also help flush out bacteria that could cause a urinary tract infection.
  • Don’t wait to go. It is understandable that you’re busy with baby and your hands are full. Still, take the time to pee as soon as the urge hits and resist “holding it.” This can cause pain in the early weeks, and put you at risk for infection. This helps a lot to ease pain when urinating after c section.