Urethra is the tube/pipe through which the urine flows out of the body. Urethra starts from the bladder and runs till the end of the penis (in men) or urethral opening (in women). The urethral opening is also called the “Urinary Meatus” in medical terms. Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra caused due to various reasons. Urethritis makes it difficult and painful to urinate and ejaculate (in men). Urethritis can be caused by either bacteria or virus or other medical conditions. Treatment is aimed at the cause of urethritis.
Symptoms of urethritis
Some of the symptoms of urethritis are the same in men and women with few differences.
Symptoms of urethritis in men include:
- Difficulty peeing
- Pain and burning sensation while urinating or ejaculating
- Penile discharge
- Penis can become tender to touch
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin
- Fever but in very few cases.
Symptoms of urethritis in women include:
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain while having sex
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty urinating
- Fever and chills
Sexually transmitted bacteria is the most common cause of urethritis. In some cases, herpes and other viruses such as CMV (Cytomegalovirus) can also cause inflammation of the urethra.
Bacterial urethritis can be either gonococcal urethritis (caused by Neisseria Gonorrhoeae) or non-gonococcal urethritis (caused by chlamydia Trachomatis or mycoplasma genitalium). Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are most common sexually transmitted infections spread by bacteria.
An injury to the urethra (either during a surgery or accident) can also cause inflammation. Spermicides or delay creams or sprays used during sex can also irritate the penis and urethra leading to urethritis.
How is urethritis diagnosed?
Your doctor (seeing a good gynaecologist is preferred) starts with a physical examination to look for any leakage from the urethra. A swab will be used to collect fluid sample that will be sent to the lab for examination.
In case of women, the abdominal and pelvic area will be examined for tenderness or pain. Urethral discharge will be checked and collected. A cystoscope will be used if your doctor wants to see the inside of the urethra. Cystoscope is a small tube-like instrument with a light and camera at the tip of it. The cystoscope will be inserted into the body through the urinary meatus.
It is important you see a very experienced doctor from a reputed hospital. There are cases where the urethra was infected because of the insertion of an unhygienic cystoscope.
Along with the physical and cystoscopy examination, a complete blood picture, c-reactive protein test, test for STIs and urine test may be required to confirm the infection.
Treatment for urethritis is targeted at the root cause of the problem. Antibiotics will be prescribed depending on the type of infection. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to control the inflammation of the urethra.
If you are looking for natural treatment for urethritis, we suggest you to stop and see a doctor. There aren’t any working treatment options for urethritis that you can try at home. Delaying can only make the situation worse.
Ways you can prevent urethritis
- If you are sexually active, use a condom everytime you have sex. Viral infections are hard to clear from the body unless your immune system is strong enough to eliminate them.
- If you feel any tingling or irritation after applying delay creams or spermicides, wash your penis immediately and stop using any chemicals on your manhood.
- Always keep your penis clear. Wash it as often as you bathe with foreskin pulled behind the head of the penis glans.