Urethritis

Alternative Names

Urethral syndrome; NGU; Non-gonococcal urethritis

Definition of Urethritis

Urethritis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the body.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Urethritis may be caused by bacteria or a virus. The same bacteria that cause () and some sexually transmitted diseases (, ) can lead to urethritis. Viral causes of urethritis include and cytomegalovirus.

Symptoms

In men:

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a physical examination. In men, the exam will include the abdomen, bladder area, penis, and scrotum. The physical exam may show:

Treatment

The goals of therapy are to:

Expectations (prognosis)

With the correct diagnosis and treatment, urethritis usually clears up without any complications.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/3/2010

Female urinary tract
Male urinary tract

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.