• Inflammation of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body.
  • Pain with urination is the main symptom of urethritis.
  • Commonly due to infection by bacteria and can typically be cured with antibiotics.


  • Most episodes of urethritis are caused by infection by bacteria that enter the urethra from the skin around the urethra’s opening. Bacteria that commonly cause urethritis include:
    • coli and other bacteria present in stool
    • Gonococcus, which is sexually transmitted and causes gonorrhea.
    • Chlamydia trachomatis, which is sexually transmitted and causes chlamydia.
  • May also be caused by:
    • Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2)
    • Trichomonas, a sexually transmitted, single-celled organism
  • Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia are usually confined to the urethra but may extend into women’s reproductive organs, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • In men, gonorrhea and chlamydia sometimes cause epididymitis, an infection of the epididymis, a tube on the outside of the testes. Both PID and epididymitis can lead to infertility.
  • Main symptom of urethra inflammation from urethritis is pain with urination (dysuria)
  • Other symptoms include:
    • Feeling the frequent or urgent need to urinate
    • Difficulty initiating urination
    • Itching, pain, or discomfort when a person is not urinating
    • Painful sexual intercourse
    • Discharge from the urethral opening or vagina
    • In men, blood in the semen or urine


  • Physician may do/request:
    • History & Physical Exam
      • Interview regarding symptoms
      • Physical examination, including the genitals, abdomen, and rectum
    • Urine tests for gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other bacteria
    • Examination of any discharge under a microscope
    • Blood Tests



  • Antibiotics can successfully cure urethritis caused by bacteria. Some of the most commonly prescribed include:
    • Adoxa, Monodox, Oracea, Vibramycin (doxycycline)
    • Rocephin (ceftriaxone)
    • Zithromax, Zmax (azithromycin)
  • For Urethritis due to trichomonas infection (called trichomoniasis):
    • Flagyl (metronidazole)
    • Tindamax (tinidazole)
  • ForUrethritis due to herpes simplex virus:
    • Famvir (famciclovir)
    • Valtrex (valacyclovir)
    • Zovirax (acyclovir)
  • In situations where the exact organism causing urethritis cannot be identified, a combination of one or more antibiotics may be prescribed for treatment.

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