Urethritis

Urethritis

Urethritis is an inflammatory disease of the urethra, the tube carrying urine out of the bladder. The main symptoms are painful urination and urethral discharge. This infection is more predominant in men than in women. In male patients, sexually transmitted diseases are the leading cause. In female patients, the infection spreads from the bladder (UTI) or the vagina (vaginitis). Treatment is always antibiotic.

Table of Contents

Why Urethritis happens

The urethra is a duct that carries urine out from the bladder.

In the male, the final part of the urethra, the urethral meatus, is a small hole at the tip of the penis. It is an accessible entryway for bacteria during sexual intercourse.

Sexual contact typically spreads the Urethral infection.

After entering the urethra, the bacteria penetrate the walls lining cells and cause infection (irritation and production of pus).

The bacteria can spread further through the urogenital tract to cause prostatitis and epididymitis.

Causes of Urethritis

We distinguish two leading causes: infectious (primarily STD) and irritative (no transferable).

Infectious:

  • gonorrhoeal Urethritis (GU), also called Gonorrhea caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • non-gonococcal Urethritis (NGU), caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and Trichomonas vaginalis.

No infectious:

  • The use of aggressive soaps, laundry detergents, and toiletries;
  • Certain foods are more likely to irritate your bladder and urethra. Some irritants to avoid include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, and artificial sweeteners.
  • chronic Urethral infection (Lichen sclerosus);
  • Immediate after sex, Urethritis might be due to trauma (especially after prolonged intercourse).

Symptoms

If you have painful urination and urethral discharge a few days after casual and unprotected sex, you are likely to have an infection of the urethra.

Mucopurulent or purulent discharge, painful urination, and urethral pruritus are symptoms of Urethritis. However, many infections of the urethra are asymptomatic.

Diagnosis

In a patient with symptoms of Urethritis and signs of inflammation in the urine analysis, we need to identify the bacteria causing infection. We will do a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) on the first void urine sample or urethral swab.

Treatment

GP and Urologist usually treat Urethritis. If left untreated, the infection will not go away on its own, spread to the prostate and epididymis, and become even more complicated.

The treatment will be according to the causing bacteria and generally is highly effective. Bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity will be necessary to select the effective antibiotic in a few refractory infections.

Even if this infection in men is not severe and easily curable, it will not develop immunity. You are constantly exposed to reinfection and related complications for you and your partner.

Remember that prevention is the primary measure to avoid complications for you and your partner.

Final recommendations

Persistent and worsening symptoms of prostatitis, especially if accompanied by urethral discharge, are good reasons to see a doctor. When left untreated, this infection can spread to the prostate with possible major complications like fever and other general symptoms. Since it is an STD, the treatment should be extended to the sexual partner. Practicing safe sex in a stable relationship and avoiding having multiple partners is the best way to prevent urethral infection and its complications.