What is urethritis?

Inflammation of the urethra, the small tube through which urine flows to exit the body, is called urethritis. Urethritis can be caused by irritation or infection. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia, are common causes of urethritis. Other infectious agents that can cause urethritis include Mycoplasma genitalium, Trichomonas vaginalis, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and Escherichia coli (E coli).

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Urethritis can also be associated with Reiter’s syndrome (form of arthritis), which is a complication of some types of infection. Non-infectious causes of urethritis include physical injury or trauma and chemical irritation from soaps, spermicides, lubricants, bubble baths, or other substances.

Urethritis can occur without symptoms in some people. Others may experience symptoms, such as burning with urination, the need to urinate frequently or urgently, penile or vaginal discharge, pain, or fever.

Treatment of non-infectious urethritis may include avoiding irritants or ongoing trauma. Infections are often treatable with antibiotics. Treating partners and avoiding sex during treatment is important when the condition is related to sexually transmitted diseases. Left untreated, urethritis can lead to complications, such as bladder infections; narrowing and scarring of the urethra; infection and inflammation of the testicles, prostate, epididymis or cervix; pelvic inflammatory disease (PID, an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs); and infertility.

Spread of infections causing urethritis to other organs can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for symptoms, such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe nausea and vomiting, or severe pain in the pelvis or abdomen.

Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of urethritis or are being treated for it but symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of urethritis?

Some people who have urethritis do not have any symptoms. Some symptoms, such as burning with urination, urinary frequency or urgency, and lower abdominal or pelvic pain, resemble those of a bladder infection. Other symptoms can include discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, and fever.... Read more about urethritissymptoms


What causes urethritis?

Urethritis has both infections and non-infectious causes. Non-infectious causes of urethritis include physical injury or trauma and chemical irritation from soaps, spermicides, lubricants, bubble baths, or other substances.... Read more about urethritiscauses


How is urethritis treated?

Treatment of urethritis begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to provide early screening tests. Regular medical care also provides an opportunity for your health care professional to evaluate your symptoms and your risks for developing urethritis promptly.... Read more about urethritistreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System, Sexual Health

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