Frequent urination and back pain are uncomfortable but often unrelated symptoms. When the two ailments occur together, however, an underlying medical condition may be responsible. Various types of urinary tract infections can cause back and urination problems, such as cystitis and kidney infection. Less common causes of both include kidney stones, reproductive disorders, and cancer.
The urinary tract helps the human body dispose of waste, and its network of urethra, ureters, bladder, and kidneys is one of the most common sources of bodily infection. As bacteria or other germs enter the urethra, they can cause infection of the bladder. This infection may then spread through the ureters to the kidneys. Due to a shorter urethra and its proximity to the germ-populated anus, women face a greater likelihood of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Other factors may also increase the likelihood of a UTI, including diabetes, pregnancy, bowel problems, a urinary catheter, or any substance that may block complete urine discharge.
Cystitis, also called a bladder infection, is the first sign of a urinary tract ailment and therefore a common cause of frequent urination and back pain. In addition to these symptoms, a cystitis sufferer may experience pain during urination, a low-grade fever, and pressure or cramps in the abdominal area. Urine appearance can serve as the best indicator of a possible infection. Normal urine tends to be light yellow to clear and only slightly odorous, so cloudy, discolored urine with a strong odor may signal an infection. Urgent nighttime urination, known as nocturnia, also frequently accompanies a urinary tract infection.
Kidney dysfunction is a more serious condition, so it's important for sufferers to recognize an infection or other renal ailment. If a urinary tract infection spreads to the kidneys, symptoms may escalate and include fatigue, nausea, chills, night sweats, high fever, flushed skin, abdominal pain, and cognitive impairment. A buildup of urinary minerals in the kidney can lead to kidney stones, which may also cause severe back pain, along with the need to urinate frequently. If left untreated, kidney problems can progress to chronic kidney disease and the danger of kidney failure.
Disorders of the reproductive system sometimes cause urinary urgency or back problems as well. An enlarged prostate in men is one such cause, provided these symptoms are accompanied by abnormal urine, failure with bladder emptying, and possible erectile dysfunction. Likewise, women may experience reproductive issues associated with ovarian cysts or a lapsed uterus. These ailments often affect menstrual cycles and vaginal discharge as well.
Cancer represents the least common — but most serious — possible cause of frequent urination and back pain. Bladder cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer all may affect the urinary tract and the back. Each of these cancers present with a diverse, varying range of other symptoms, however.
If an individual notices blood and any other abnormal discharges in their urine or experiences unyielding back pain, a medical professional should be consulted. A visit to a healthcare provider will often include detailed questions and possible tests, like a urinalysis or pelvic exam. Treatment may range from antibiotics to appointments with a specialist, depending on the suspected cause.