Urethritis

What is urethritis?

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra - the tube through which urine is carried out of the body. It is a bacteria infection, often sexually transmitted, and the main symptom is a pain and burning sensation when urinating.

What causes urethritis?

The bacterial infection typically enters through the opening of the urethra. The most common bacteria that can cause urethritis are:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis (the bacteria that causes chlamydia)
  • Gonococcus (the bacteria that causes gonorrhoea)
  • Mycoplasma genitalium (bacteria found on the skin cells of the genital tract)
  • Bacteria found in the stool

The herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2) can also cause urethritis. In men, gonorrhoea and chlamydia can go on to cause epididymitis, which is an infection inside the tube near the testes. If it’s not treated, it can lead to infertility.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of urethritis is a burning, painful sensation when urinating. Accompanying the pain, you may have the urge to urinate frequently and find it difficult to start urinating. The symptoms can last a few weeks, or even months if it’s not treated. Additional symptoms of urethritis include pain during sex, discharge and, for men, blood in the urine or semen.

It can affect people of all ages, both male and female, however, females have a higher chance of developing this condition. This is mainly because a woman’s urethra is much longer than a man’s, which makes it easier for bacteria to enter.

Some people may not know they have an infection as they don’t show symptoms, so it is very important to get tested if you have been recently infected with an STI.

How is urethritis diagnosed?

Your doctor will be able to determine if you have a urethral infection upon listening to your symptoms and possibly carrying out a physical examination. Urine tests may be sent off to test for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections, and if there is discharge present, they may examine this under a microscope.

How is urethritis treated?

The most common method of treating urethritis is by taking antibiotics that your doctor will prescribe you. You should start feeling better after a few days, but you must finish the course prescribed by your doctor.

The most common method of treating urethritis is by taking antibiotics that your doctor will prescribe you. You should start feeling better after a few days, but you must finish the course prescribed by your doctor.

Your sexual partner should also be treated in case they have it but are not showing symptoms, otherwise, re-infection can occur. It is very important to get another test after three months to ensure that the infection is cleared.

This website uses its own and third-party cookies to collect information in order to improve our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences, as well as to analyse your browsing habits..