Urethritis, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention
Urethritis is the term used to describe inflammation of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that enables urine to pass out of the body. The male urethra is longer than the female and also carries semen. In women, the urethra is shorter and this is thought to be one reason that women are more likely to experience Urinary Tract Infections.
Symptoms of Urethritis
The urethra can become inflamed causing pain on urination and the following symptoms:
- An increased urge to urinate.
- Struggling to commence urinating.
- Discomfort, irritation, pain at times outside of urination.
- Pain during sex.
- Blood in semen or urine, in men.
- Discharge from the urethral opening.
Urethritis is most commonly due to irritation from the following bacteria entering the urethra via the opening. Urethritis is caused by:
- E-Coli and other bacteria from feces.
- Group B Streptococcus.
- Reactive Arthritis.
- Sexually transmitted bacteria:
- Chlamydia trachomatis, more commonly known as Chlamydia infection.
- Gonococcus, more commonly known as Gonorrhoea infection.
- Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1, HSV-2).
Urethritis can be diagnosed through physical examination or via urine tests for sexually transmitted infection or bacteria. Urethral/cervical swabs, though more invasive, give slightly more accurate results.
Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia can cause long-term complications such as epididymis in men and pelvic inflammatory disease in women which can both lead to infertility. Therefore, it is important if you experience symptoms to get checked out by your GP, begin treatment straight away and inform past/current sexual partners.
There are different treatments depending on the cause of your urethritis.
- E-coli, the most common cause of urethritis can be treated effectively with D-Mannose, a naturally occurring sugar that binds to E-Coli lectins, coating them and flushing them out of the bladder/urinary tract. D-Mannose is also a remarkable preventative and helps to maintain good bladder health.
- Antibiotics may be used to treat sexually transmitted infections
- Herpes may be treated with prescription antiviral medicines
- Maintain perineal hygiene. Keep area clean, wipe from front to back when using the toilet.
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Avoid use of chemicals such as genital deodorant sprays, spermicides, lotions.
- Avoid intercourse until symptoms subside. In the case of STIs, until treatment is finished successfully.
- Take a maintenance dose of D-Mannose before sleep and around triggers such as sport, travel, sex etc. if you are prone to Ecoli type infection.