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The tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of the body is called the urethra; infection of the urethra is urethritis. It can occur in both males and females, though the latter are more vulnerable.

Symptoms of urethritis

The typical symptom of urethritis is pain in urination. Other urination symptoms include trouble in initiating urine and increased frequency of urination.
In men
  • Itching and burning on the tip of penis
  • Discharge from penis
  • Blood in urine and semen
In women
  • Unusual discharge from vagina
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain
  • High fever and chills

Both men and women would experience painful sex


What causes urethritis?

Urethritis is caused primarily by bacteria, which can easily enter from the opening or the skin of the urethra.

Mostly they are sexually transmitted and the species commonly involved are Chlamydia and Gonococcus. Urethritis can also be acquired from bacteria present in genitals and faeces like E.coli 

Viral urethritis results from infection of herpes simplex virus (HSV), human papillomavirus (HPV) and cytomegalovirus. Urethritis could also be parasitic infection from trichomoniasis.

Who are at risk of having urethritis?
  • Women are susceptible more than men, especially those with history of UTI and STD
  • Men between age group of 20 and 35
  • Those who indulge in high risk sexual activities like multiple partners, having unprotected sex with STD, anal sex without protection, etc.
  • With minimal personal hygiene

What are the complications of urethritis?

If urethritis is not controlled, then the infection can move into bladder and kidneys.

Some STDs can also cause infertility when not treated correctly

When to see a doctor?

Why to take the risk? Pain while urinating is something unnatural. If you experience such symptom, make sure you check with your doctor.

Diagnosis of urethritis

First your doctor will consider checking the symptoms and ask you several question regarding your hygiene and sexual practises. Following this, the genital area and abdomen will be examined and a digital rectal exam may be conducted.

Most importantly, you need to undergo urine tests for bacteria. The discharge from the vagina or penis may also be collected for laboratory analysis.

Additionally, specific tests for STDs and pelvic examination (for women) may also be advised.

What is the treatment for urethritis?

Medications are suggested not only to eradicate the infection but also for boosting immunity.

Antibiotics like doxycycline, tinidazole, azithromycin, metronidazole, erythromycin, etc. are prescribed when bacterial infection has been diagnosed.

Acyclovir based drugs are administered for combating viral infections.

You doctor might consider giving you over the counter NSAIDs to reduce abdominal and pelvic pain.

Self care and preventing urethritis

Urethritis can be prevented only if you are careful enough about yourself. We explain you below:
  • Maintain good personal hygiene. Make sure your undergarments are clean and dry while wearing for a long time
  • Avoid exposing your genitals to chemicals like spermicides, perfumed napkins, detergents, etc.
  • Practise safe sex- use condoms (must if you had a previous episode) and avoid having multiple sexual partners
  • Keep your genitals clean. Urinate after having intercourse and wash yourself
  •            Lastely drink plenty of water through out the day and complete the course of your medicine

Urethritis can be cured completely. However everything works well when you listen to what your doctor advises and take precautions.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: April 22, 2014