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Urethritis is the inflammation and swelling of the urethra - the narrow tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
Urethritis is caused by either a bacterium or a virus - it is classed as either gonococcal urethritis which is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), caused by Chlamydia trachomatis - one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases affecting both men and women.
The main symptom of urethritis is difficulty urinating and painful urination. Urethritis is typically treated with antibiotics.
The majority of urethritis cases are due to infection resulting from bacteria entering the urethra.
Bacteria that cause urethritis include:
Other causes are:
According to the National Institutes of Health1, urethritis can also be caused by injury or sensitivity to chemicals used in contraceptive jellies, creams or foams, as well as spermicides.
Diagnosis of male patients typically involves examining the abdomen, scrotum, penis, and bladder for any swelling or discharge. The doctors may spread the urinary meatus apart to see if there are any abnormalities. A swab is inserted into the urethra which is then examined under a microscope. The urinary meatus is the hole from which urine leaves the body.
Women usually undergo abdominal and pelvic exams to check for tenderness of the urethra and lower abdomen. The doctor will also check for any urethral discharge.
The doctor may recommend cystoscopy - a tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the bladder.
The following diagnostic tests may also be recommended by the health care professional:
Medications are prescribed to treat the root cause of the patient's urethritis, and to prevent the spread of infection.
If the patient has a bacterial infection, an antibiotic will be prescribed. Below are the most commonly prescribed medications for urethritis:
The patient may also take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as naproxen, along with the antibiotics for symptoms of pain.
Pyridium (phenazopyridine) is effective in treating pain, burning, frequent urination and the increased urge to urinate.
Some effective ways of preventing urethritis, include:
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1. National Institutes of Health.
2."Oral Sex May Be A Risk Factor For Nongonococcal Urethritis, A Common STD", Medical News Today.
Visit our Urology / Nephrology category page for the latest news on this subject.
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Nordqvist, Joseph. "What is urethritis? What causes urethritis?." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 19 Aug. 2013. Web.
8 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264903>
Nordqvist, J. (2013, August 19). "What is urethritis? What causes urethritis?." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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