Urethritis occurs when the urethra, the narrow tube that carries urine and bodily fluids from the bladder to the external urinary opening, becomes inflamed and irritated. The urethra also carries sperm in males.
Non-specific urethritis can also occur in males without the presence of bacterial or viral organisms, here no specific pathogen is identified and is classified as non-gonococcal urethritis.
What Are The Causes?
The organisms responsible for the infection may enter the urethra from the area surrounding the urethra opening. Some of the common causes are as follows:
- Unprotected sexual intercourse – most urethritis cases develop due to sexually transmitted infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can be either viral or bacterial in nature i.e. gonorrhea, chlamydia for a bacterial infection, or herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2) in case of a viral infection
- In women and men both, it can also be caused by an allergic reaction to certain chemicals in lotions, scented or flavored latex condoms, spermicide jellies or lubricants
What Are the Symptoms?
If there is suspicion of having potentially developed urethritis, then here are some symptoms to keep an eye out for:
- Discomfort and pain while urination
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Redness and inflammation around the urethra
Sign That Show Your Urethritis Is Getting Worse
In many cases, urethritis is ignored and mistaken for a urinary tract infection. Due to this, the infection may spread further and become long-lasting. Chronic urethritis may last up to 6 weeks or more, if not diagnosed or treated properly in its initial stages. Here are some of the symptoms indicating that the urethritis is getting worse:
- Blood in urine
- Persistent pain and discomfort while urinating.
- Painful sexual intercourse.
- Lower abdominal pain.
- Discharge and blood in semen (males).
- Swelling of the testicles in males.
- Painful ejaculation (males)
- Vaginal discharge (females).
For the treatment, the following may be prescribed
If painful urination is present or persists, antibiotics may be prescribed such as Doxycycline, Ceftriaxone, or Azithromycin. Your doctor may advise some lifestyle changes such as avoiding long bike rides or refraining from the use of certain chemical products.
In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove any constriction caused by injury or tissue scarring.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
A diagnosis can be reached, after visiting your doctor and discussing your symptoms and sexual history.
1. The doctor may conduct blood and urine tests, along with an examination of the genitals.
2. Fluid discharge from the vagina or penis may be collected via a swab and examined for further identification.
3. Your doctor may also require an ultrasound of your pelvic region to examine the inflammation of the urethra.
To prevent urethritis from developing, the following precautions can be taken to stay safe from STDs. These are good habits to formulate for disease prevention:
- Urinate immediately after sexual intercourse.
- Increase your intake of water.
- Using protection during intercourse.
- Avoid products that you know may cause irritation.
- Using protection during oral sex such as dental dams.
- Wearing loosely fitted undergarments.
Disclaimer: Please note: this blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.