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).

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.

SYMPTOMS

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.

Common symptoms of urethritis

Common symptoms of urethritis include:

... Read more about urethritissymptoms

CAUSES

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.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis infections are two common, sexually transmitted causes of urethritis. Urethritis caused by N gonorrhoeae is ofte... Read more about urethritiscauses

TREATMENTS

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.

Urethritis due to trauma or irritation may res... Read more about urethritistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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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