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Urethritis

(Urethral Infection)

Definition

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.
Female Urethra
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Causes

Urethritis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, including:

Risk Factors

Urethritis is more common in women. Other factors that may increase your chance of urethritis include:

Symptoms

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.

Diagnosis

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:

Treatment

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.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of urethritis::

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov

Urology Care Foundation http://www.urologyhealth.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Urological Association http://www.cua.org

Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.

Diseases characterized by urethritis and cervicitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/urethritis-and-cervicitis.htm. Updated January 28, 2011. Accessed August 17, 2015.

Diseases characterized by urethritis and cervicitis. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2006;55(R11):1-94.

Miller KE. Diagnosis and treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73:1411-1416.

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