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What is Urethritis?

Urethritis is a condition caused by a bacterium or a virus that infects the urethra (which is a tube that carries urine from the bladder which then later is ejected from the body. Both urine and semen pass from the urethra. As urethritis is a type of infection, it causes irritation and the urethra becomes inflamed. This infection can infect females as well as males, although women are more at risk than men.  Research shows us that it can affect people from all ages.

Urethritis is known to be caused by germs that cause sexually transmitted diseases like the Neisseria gonorrhoeae, herpes simplex virus and Chlamydia trachomatis or it could occur due to bladder infections i.e. urinary tract contagion.

What are the risk factors of Urethritis?

Urethritis is an infection that can be healed quickly if it is treated duly but if avoided it can cause serious problems. Untreated urethritis can spread to other organs of the body like kidney and bladder, in more serious cases it is known to have caused infertility. The risk of contracting urethritis in men is if he has multiple sexual partners and doesn’t use safe sex methods like using condoms or participates in anal intercourse.

It must be noted that women and men often suffer from different symptoms when they are infected with urethritis.  In woman, they usually experience burning sensation during passing urine, frequent urges to urinate, high body temperature, chills and pain in abdominal area. In men, aside from the burning sensation and discharge from urethral opening, there is presence of blood in semen or urine. Both genders could also experience pain during intercourse.

What Causes Urethritis?

Urethritis is an infection that is caused by a virus or bacterium, however in most cases it is caused due to bacteria entering the urethra. Some of the bacteria that cause urethritis are Gonococcus, Chlamydia trachomatis or E.Coli. Some of the bacteria that are just naturally found in the genital area may also be the reason for urethritis. These bacteria are dangerous and can cause kidney as well as bladder infections.

Some of the most causes are bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases. Bacteria such as – Herpes simplex, Reiter’s syndrome, Trichomonas vaginalis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Adenoviridae, Uropathogenic Escherichia coli, Cytomegalovirus and Ureaplasma urealyticum etc. these are the parasites that cause trichomoniasis.

How it is risky to women, men also run the risk of contracting urethritis. It is found that irritation caused by certain soaps, colognes, or even lotions can cause infection. Spermicide based products or condoms, foam and cream can also be a cause of contracting infection. Another cause might be due mechanical manipulation or slight trauma to the penis may cause pain in urethra, which may also lead to urethritis. Other reasons include medical procedures, frequent vigorous sexual activity or masturbation. If a person has developed chronic urethritis, where their condition remains the same for months, it may be due to bacteria or it can be by narrowing of the tube that is urethra itself.

Diagnosis of Urethritis

The doctor will probably first asks the patient about the symptoms he or she is going through. After that they will probably ask about the medical history of the patient.

If you are having difficulty while urinating or having burning – painful sensation while passing urine, the doctor is more likely to assume that you have contacted an infection.

Blood tests are often not the norm in such type of infections, but sometimes they might.

  • Most common tests will include physical examination – which will include rectum, abdomen and genitals.
  • There will be urine tests to determine if the patient has contracted the infection through gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other bacteria.
  • An examination of any discharge will be done under a microscope.

Treatment of Urethritis

Antibiotics are the most common way of treatment when urethritis is considered. As the infection is by many types of bacteria, there are various antibiotics available for treatment. The antibiotics mostly recommended by doctors are Rocephin(ceftriaxone), Zithromax, Zmax (azithromycin), Vibramycin(doxycycline), Oracea,Monodox, Adoxa.

Urethritis infection caused due to herpes simplex virus is most likely treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics can successfully cure urethritis caused by bacteria. Many different antibiotics can treat urethritis. Some of the most commonly prescribed include: Zovirax (acyclovir),Famvir (famciclovir) and Valtrex (valacyclovir).

While many antibiotics are available in the market to treat urethritis, it is advisable that the patient drink plenty of fluids, urinate after sex and avoid acidic foods and make sure there is no spermicide content in your products, while you are undergoing treatment or as a measure to prevent urethritis infection.