The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder. Urethral syndrome is a set of symptoms from inflammation or irritation of the urethra. It is not related to an infection from bacteria or a virus.
Injury to the urethra caused by a blow to the pelvic area
Sexual intercourse (especially in women)
Urinary irritants, such as caffeine and certain foods
In women, irritation of the urethra may be caused by:
Feminine hygiene sprays or douches
Urethral syndrome is most common in women. Factors that may lead to an undetected infection include:
Unprotected sex (without use of a condom)
History of sexually transmitted diseases
Bacterial infection of other parts of the urinary tract, such as the
Medications that reduce your ability to fight infections
Structural problems, such as narrowing of the urethra
Urethral syndrome may cause:
Pain and/or burning while urinating
Difficulty urinating (especially after intercourse)
Increase in urinary:
Blood in the urine
Swelling and/or tenderness in the groin
Pain during intercourse
In men, urethral syndrome may specifically cause:
Discharge from the penis
Blood in semen
Pain during ejaculation
Swollen and/or tender testicles
You will be asked about your symptoms and past health. A physical and pelvic exam will be done. Urethral syndrome is usually diagnosed when symptoms are present but there is no evidence of an infection.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 1/8/2019
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