What Is Urethra Inflammation?

The urethra is a tube that connects to the bladder.
Article Details
  • Written By: Bobbie Fredericks
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 25 July 2014
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Urethra inflammation is a condition with many causes. Urethritis is the medical term, although this name is usually reserved for cases of inflammation caused by sexually transmitted infections. Other causes of inflammation of the urethra include streptoccocal infections, viral infections, urinary tract infections, and irritating substances. It is also sometimes seen in patients who do self-catheterization. In men over 50, it can be associated with an enlarged prostate.

The most common cause of urethra inflammation is sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and chlamydia. All other causes affect a much smaller number of patients. The most common symptoms are painful urination, difficulty urinating, and blood in the urine. Other symptoms depend on the cause of the condition. Both men and women can have asymptomatic inflammation of the urethra.

In addition to pain, urethritis caused by a bacterial sexually transmitted infection can cause discharge from the urethra in men. The discharge may be yellow, and urination and ejaculation may be blood stained. There is rarely discharge from the urethra in women, although there may be vaginal discharge. Treatment of urethra inflammation caused by sexually transmitted infection is with antibiotics. All sexual partners of the infected individual must be treated as well to prevent reinfection.

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Viral causes of urethritis include herpes simplex and cytomegalovirus. In addition to painful urination, symptoms of herpes simplex infection include a tingling sensation in the genitals, blisters, and possible difficulty urinating. Cytomegalovirus infection of the urinary tract causes difficulty urinating and burning pain on urination. Both can be treated with antiviral drugs, but herpes simplex cannot be cured.

Urethra inflammation can also be caused by bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, such as E. coli. In addition to urinary symptoms, there is often abdominal pain, and occasionally fever with a urinary tract infection. These infections are easily treated with antibiotics.

In cases where inflammation is caused by exposure to an irritating substance, that substance should be avoided. Latex catheters are more often associated with this condition than other types of catheters. Patients who use the latex kind and have inflammation should switch to another material.

Since some cases of urethra inflammation go unrecognized, there may be complications. Inflammation may lead to urinary tract infection and scarring of the urethra. In men, it may lead to swelling of the epididymis, testicles, and prostate. In women, it may lead to inflammation of the cervix and ovaries, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and miscarriage. Any symptoms of inflammation should be reported to a health care provider.

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Discuss this Article

anon946692
Post 4

What would cause a constant tingling feeling the in glans and frenulum when touched by anything, even clothes, as well as a strained feeling in urethra after urination and ejaculation?

It seems like a drop of urine won't come out. It's worse with anxiety and strangely when exercising my legs.

I have no burning. Besides straining, it would be a pleasurable feeling if it went away at some point.

stoneMason
Post 3

There is also a condition called reactive arthritis that can cause symptoms of urethra inflammation (except discharge) and UTI symptoms. I learned about this from my doctor who suspected that I have this but I was finally diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

donasmrs
Post 2

@turquoise-- It's possible. My husband has prostatitis and whenever he has a flare-up, interstitial cystitis and urethritis usually follows.

These are all connected and in close proximity to one another. So inflammation in one can cause inflammation and pain in the other.

In regards to infections though, have you had blood tests done? There are so many infections that can cause inflammation in the urethra that I don't think it's a good idea to cross them off the list without having medical testing done first.

turquoise
Post 1

I have urethritis symptoms but I don't think I'm suffering from an infection, especially not a sexually transmitted one.

I do have a history of bladder problems however and I'm wondering if the urethra could become inflamed due to irritation in the bladder? Has anyone experienced something like this?

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