Urethritis is a common inflammation of the urethra, usually caused by an infection. The urethra is the tiny tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Urethritis is usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease, often a chlamydia infection. Urethritis is a general term that includes nongonococcal urethritis and chronic urethritis. Nongonococcal urethritis can occur in men and women and is always caused by a sexually transmitted disease that is not any type of gonorrhea.
Chronic urethritis is a recurring urethritis that occurs in women. Chronic urethritis is usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease, often a chlamydia infection. In some cases, chronic urethritis may be caused by the irritation of intercourse or exposure to irritating substances, such as bubble baths, soaps, and spermicides.
Most cases of urethritis are passed from one person another during sexual contact that involves vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Urethritis caused by a sexually transmitted disease that is caught early can be quickly and easily treated. However, if left untreated it can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, scarring of the fallopian tubes, infertility, prostatitis, epididymitis, and ectopic pregnancy. Having a sexually transmitted disease also puts a person at greater risk for contracting HIV.
Any person that engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on a sexually transmitted infection that can cause urethritis. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men and women. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of contracting urethritis. Young girls and young women have an especially high risk of developing urethritis because their reproductive organs are not fully mature and are more susceptible to infection.
Symptoms of urethritis vary between individuals, and it is not uncommon for men or women to have no symptoms until complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, develop. Symptoms of urethritis in women may include pain or burning with urination and a frequent need to urinate (frequency) and sudden strong urges to urinate (urgency). Men may experience discharge from the penis, and pain or burning with urination. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of urethritis.
Making a diagnosis of urethritis infection includes taking a medical and sexual history, performing simple testing, and completing a physical and pelvic examination for women and an exam of the penis and testicles for men.
During the examination, the health care practitioner will assess the reproductive organs and take a swab sample of the woman's cervix or the man's urethra and have it tested for the presence of a sexually transmitted disease For women with severe symptoms, a pelvic ultrasound may also be done.
Because there often may be no symptoms, some people may be unaware of a problem, and a diagnosis of urethritis can be missed or delayed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of urethritis.
The first step in the treatment of urethritis is prevention. Prevention of urethritis is best accomplished by abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Latex condoms also provide some protection when used properly. Avoiding substances that irritate the urethra and genital area is also helpful.
Treatment of urethritis caused by an infection includes antibiotic therapy. Hospitalization may be necessary if the woman is acutely ill with such complications as pelvic inflammatory disease, abscess or high fever. Prompt diagnosis and treatment reduces the chances of developing serious complications in both men and women. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of urethritis. ...more »
Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Urethritis is available below.
Symptoms of urethritis can vary among individuals. Many people experience no symptoms at all, especially in the early stages of the disease.
Symptoms of urethritis in women include lower abdominal pain, pain or burning with urination, a frequent need to urinate (frequency) and sudden strong urges to urinate (urgency). Women may also experience unusual vaginal discharge, ...more symptoms »
Treatment of urethritis starts with prevention. Preventive measures include seeking regular medical care throughout a lifetime. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to best evaluate the risks of contracting urethritis due to a sexually transmitted disease and regularly test for these diseases with a simple swab test. These measures ...more treatments »
A prompt diagnosis and treatment of urethritis caused by a sexually transmitted disease increases the chances of preserving fertility and preventing other complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, prostatitis, epididymitis, and ectopic pregnancy.
Urethritis is simple to diagnose, but a diagnosis can be missed or delayed ...more misdiagnosis »
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Definitions of Urethritis:
Inflammation of the urethra.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Inflammation of the urethra; results in painful urination
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
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