Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, the outlet channel of the bladder. Often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), this inflammation can manifest itself differently in men and women.
What is urethritis?
By definition, urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra. The latter is the channel that leads urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In addition to its urinary function, the urethra also has a genital function in humans by ensuring the passage of sperm.
Urethritis occurs in the wall of the urethra but can also affect the peri-urethral glands, which are glands present along the urethra in women.
What are the causes of urethritis?
In the majority of cases, a urethritis is of infectious origin. We talk about low genital infection.
It is usually due to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as:
- the chlamydia , the pathogen is the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis ;
- the gonorrhea or “clap” , which the infectious agent is the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae;
- Trichomoniasis caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis.
Rarely, a urethritis can also be caused by:
- a viral infection ;
- certain fungal infections ;
- The tuberculosis .
Who is concerned about the risk of urethritis?
Urethritis is an inflammation that can affect both sexes. Nevertheless, urethritis in men and urethritis in women do not present exactly the same symptoms and the same risk of complications. This is explained by the anatomical differences between the two sexes.
What is the risk of complication?
Adequate medical management can treat urethritis and limit the risk of complications. Nevertheless, in some cases, this inflammation can spread and cause complications. Acute urethritis can gradually cause:
- chronic urethritis;
- urethral stenosis;
- A narrowing of the urethra.
Urethritis can also spread and cause other inflammations. These are different in men and women due to anatomical differences.
Urethritis in women can sometimes lead to:
- endocervicitis , inflammation of the lining of the cervix;
- endometritis , inflammation of the endometrium;
- Salpingitis, inflammation of the fallopian tubes or fallopian tubes.
Urethritis in humans can be associated with:
- an epididymitis , an inflammation of the epididymis, leads connecting the testicle to the prostate;
- Prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate.
What are the symptoms of urethritis?
Urethritis is manifested by different symptoms. Some of them are identical in men and women, but others are different.
In men and women, urethritis often leads to:
- a dysuria , which refers to disorders of micturition;
- An itch , which is itchy skin.
Urethritis in women is characterized by:
- leucorrhoea , or white discharge, which is a non-bloody discharge from the genital tract;
- Dyspareunia, which refers to pain experienced at the time of intercourse.
Urethritis in humans is usually manifested by the following symptoms:
- spontaneous urethral discharge outside urination, which may be purulent or serous, yellowish or whitish, and sometimes accompanied by blood;
- Burns or emotional pain.
These symptoms may be accompanied by other signs depending on the origin of the infection and its extent.
What are the risk factors?
Urethritis occurs primarily in response to a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This is why risk factors are mainly related to sex:
- unprotected sex ;
- multiple partners ;
- History of STIs.
What is the treatment of urethritis?
Urethritis is mainly treated by drug treatment. It depends on the germ responsible for the infection. In many cases, the infectious agent is a bacterium. The treatment of urethritis is then done by antibiotic therapy. In some cases, corticosteroids and analgesics may also be prescribed.
Drug treatment is accompanied by preventive measures:
- sexual abstinence or condom use until total healing;
- screening and treatment of the partner;
- performing screening tests for different STIs