Urethritis is an inflammation, infection, or irritation of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder.
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Urethritis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, including:
Urethritis is more common in women. Other factors that may increase your chance of urethritis include:
People with urethritis may not have symptoms, especially women. About half of men infected with chlamydia have no symptoms.
Urethritis may cause:
Urethritis symptoms specific to men may include:
If left untreated, urethritis can spread and cause infection in other parts of the urinary tract such as the bladder, ureters, or kidneys.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It will include a pelvic exam. Urethritis is usually diagnosed from its symptoms. Tests to confirm the diagnosis and identify the organism causing the condition may include:
Urethritis is usually treated with medication. The type of medication will depend on the cause of the urethral infection:
Refraining from sexual activity recommended until 7 days after initiation of therapy.
If urethritis is caused by an STD, all sexual partners should be tested and treated.
To help reduce your chance of urethritis::
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Women's Health Matters
2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Diseases characterized by urethritis and cervicitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/urethritis-and-cervicitis.htm. Updated January 28, 2011. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Miller KE. Diagnosis and treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73(8):1411-1416.
Nongonococcal urethritis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116488/Nongonococcal-urethritis. Updated May 31, 2017. Accessed September 12, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD Last Updated: 9/12/2016