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 often called gonococcal urethritis; other forms of urethritis are often referred to as nongonococcal urethritis. In addition to chlamydial infections, Mycoplasma genitalium, Trichomonas vaginalis, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and Escherichia coli (E coli) can also cause nongonococcal urethritis. Additionally, urethritis, in combination with arthritis and eye inflammation, can be a complication of some types of infections.

Noninfectious causes of urethritis include physical injury or trauma and chemical irritation.

What are the risk factors for urethritis?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing urethritis. Not all people with risk factors will get urethritis. Risk factors for urethritis include:

  • Female gender of reproductive age
  • Male gender and age between 20 and 35
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Participation in activities that could traumatize the urethra
  • Personal high-risk sexual behavior
  • Personal history of a sexually transmitted disease
  • Sexual contact with someone who engages in high-risk sexual behavior or who has had a sexually transmitted disease
  • Use of deodorant tampons or douches
  • Use of spermicides or lubricants with irritants
  • Young age at first sexual intercourse

Reducing your risk of urethritis

You may be able to lower your risk of urethritis by:

  • Avoiding known irritants
  • Avoiding sexual intercourse
  • Engaging in sexual intercourse only with a monogamous partner
  • Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases annually if you have multiple sexual partners or a new sexual partner
  • Using condoms during sexual intercourse
INTRODUCTION

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 ... Read more about urethritisintroduction

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.... Read more about urethritissymptoms

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.... 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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