Urethritis, also known as urethritis in medical terminology, is an inflammation of the urethral mucosa. Men and women can be equally affected by this condition.

What is urethritis?

A major symptom of urethritis (urethritis) is burning on urination.
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This inflammation of the urethral mucous membrane is distinguished into a specific and a nonspecific form of the disease. However, the specific form of urethritis is far more common.

Outflow as well as pain and burning while urinating are usually clear symptoms of urethritis. However, if it is detected early and treated properly, the chances of complete healing are quite good.

Do not confuse the urethritis with cystitis. Although both are among the lower urinary tract infections, but are clearly distinguishable from each other.


Basically, one differentiates the specific urethritis - this is triggered by a certain form of bacteria, the gonococcus, and is the most common form of the disease.

Non-specific urethritis in turn is triggered by chlamydia, corynebacteria, mycoplasmas or trichomonads. Urethritis is sexually transmitted and, in this case, contagious. But other causes for the outbreak of urethritis in question.

Mechanical irritation, for example, can trigger the disease as well as allergic reactions. Even lubricant can be the trigger for urethritis. Especially in spicy or salted foods a urethritis in a row is also not uncommon.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

A major symptom of urethritis (urethritis) is the burning on urination. Furthermore, a purulent, glassy and turbid discharge occurs. The urge to urinate is greatly increased. At the outlet of the ureter, there is often severe pain.

In addition, this is often very red and itching unbearable. The symptoms of urethritis are the same in women and men. Often, however, they are different. For example, men often have significantly more discomfort because their urethra is much longer. In some women, the urethritis even runs almost asymptomatic. Others only suffer from unpleasant urination.

However, both women and men can experience complications if urethritis is left untreated. In women spread of inflammation on the fallopian tubes and ovaries is possible. This can lead to abscesses and gluing of the fallopian tubes. As a result, infertility threatens.

The ovarian inflammation can also spread to the peritoneum and cause a life-threatening peritonitis. In men, the inflammation sometimes attacks the testes and prostate. In addition, with their longer urethra, the pain and burning sensation in the ureter are much more pronounced than women. In both sexes, it can also come in the course of urethritis, a narrowing of the urethra.

Diagnosis & History

The diagnosis of urethritis can usually be clearly stated on the basis of the present symptoms. A whitish to green discharge from the urethra is one of these symptoms as well as itching and burning of the urethra. The discharge is usually slimy and is referred to by the medical profession as Urethralfluor.

Most affected patients also complain of pain or burning when urinating. The opening of the urethra is visibly red and swollen. In about 25 percent of cases, urethritis in turn causes no symptoms at all and goes completely unnoticed.

Especially female patients often do not notice the disease. The symptoms of urethritis are not unlike those of cystitis - but both diseases are among the lower urinary tract infections.

However, to be able to make a clear diagnosis, the attending physician will take a swab from the urethra. Examination of this smear under the microscope will then determine the exact cause of urethritis. Even a urine sample can provide information about possible pathogens. The course of the disease depends on the respective trigger: often the disease breaks out only after a few days or even weeks. If this treatment is then handled properly, it heals without any consequential damage.

Untreated, however, can arise from a urethritis quite serious complications. The pathogens can spread to other organs - this can be the epididymis or the prostate gland in men; in a woman, fallopian tubes and ovaries can be affected.

At worst, this inflammation of the fallopian tube or ovaries may even lead to infertility. Even pregnant women should be careful with a urethritis, because the pathogens can be transmitted to the child, which in turn can trigger conjunctivitis.


Urethritis causes in most cases relatively strong and burning pain, which occurs especially when urinating. Both men and women are equally affected by this disease. In many cases, the pain results in mental discomfort or other upsets and depression.

Those affected purposely consume less fluid and therefore suffer from dehydration. This generally has a negative effect on the health of the patient and can lead to various complaints. It also causes itching in different parts of the body. In the further course, the urethritis can also lead to cystitis.

Again, this is usually associated with severe pain that can spread to other regions of the body as well. If the urethritis is not treated, it can also lead to infertility or conjunctivitis. As a rule, the treatment of urethritis does not lead to further complications.

This is done with the help of antibiotics and leads relatively quickly to a positive disease course. As a rule, the life expectancy is not reduced by the urethritis.

When should you go to the doctor?

A urethritis should always be treated by a doctor. Early diagnosis can contribute to a more positive course of the disease and prevent potential complications. The doctor should be consulted if there is a discharge from the urethra. This can be either yellowish or white. Also pain during urination usually indicate a urethritis. If this pain persists for several days and does not disappear by itself, a visit to a doctor is necessary.

The pain is especially burning. Furthermore, itching often indicates a urethritis on the body if they occur without any particular reason. If a urethritis is suspected, a general practitioner or a urologist can be consulted. In severe cases or with very severe pain, the hospital may also be visited or the emergency doctor may be called. However, the disease can be treated relatively well in most cases and there are no further complications or other complaints.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of urethritis depends on the underlying cause. If bacteria or fungi are known as triggers, usually antibiotics or antifungals are used.

Supportive patients should drink enough and dress warmly. Especially cold feet should be avoided at the time of urethritis.

Some home remedies, such as redcurrant or cranberry juice, have already proven their worth as part of the treatment. Sexual intercourse should be avoided until the urethritis has completely subsided, so as not to infect his partner.

Outlook & Forecast

Urethritis usually has a favorable prognosis. However, it depends on various influencing factors that must be taken into account in the individual assessment of the patient. In particular, women in most cases experience a mild form of the disease. Often, no significant discomfort occurs, making diagnosis more difficult and increasing the risk of complications.

Under optimal conditions, a spontaneous recovery and complete recovery of the patient will occur after a few weeks. Not always in these cases, medical care is needed. In the case of an unfavorable course of the disease, secondary diseases occur. These include in particular sexually transmitted diseases.

If there is an infection of the urethra, treatment should be sought. The pathogens usually spread within a short time and cause a worsening of the general state of health. By the administration of medicines an increase of the germs can be prevented and a quick recovery is made possible. Consequential damage is unlikely.

Physicians speak of an unfavorable course if the inflammation in the organism spreads further and affects other organs or surrounding tissue. In women, complications of the menstrual cycle and in the case of an existing pregnancy the abortion threaten. Men may experience a painful inflammation of the prostate, resulting in a disruption of sexual functioning.


Since urethritis is often caused by unprotected intercourse, one should be especially careful here. The use of condoms can definitely help to prevent a urethritis.

Many infants are given prophylactic eye-drops after birth to prevent conjunctivitis, which may be caused by urethritis.


After a persistent urethritis, the responsible urologist or gynecologist must be consulted again. The urethritis can persist for several days and sometimes cause further complications, which must be clarified by a doctor. If necessary, a restart of the treatment is necessary, such as persistent symptoms or a return of the inflammation.

Patients who have been diagnosed with urethritis should avoid cold and moisture in the genital area after completing treatment. The genital area should continue to be spared until the disease has completely resolved. If, after a few days, symptoms of urination or other complications return, a doctor must always be consulted.

It is possible that urethritis has already developed into a chronic disease. In any case, urethritis is a condition that requires medical attention even after the end of treatment. Especially in people who suffer from chronic complaints, a permanent observation by the attending physician is important.

The doctor will examine the urethra by a suitable method to determine if the inflammation has completely resolved or if further action is needed. Aftercare also includes a healthy diet and sufficient exercise.

You can do that yourself

In addition to the drug therapy, it is generally important in urethritis to drink a lot and - even if the infection causes pain when urinating - to go to the toilet regularly. Furthermore, the body and especially the pelvic region should be kept warm (eg by hot water bottle and heating pad). Longer sitting on a cold surface should be avoided.

In addition help some home remedies: fruit juices such as cranberry or cranberry juice or a bath in warm salt water. In support of a healthy diet without alcohol, coffee, citrus juices or high-sugar drinks is recommended.

Folk medicine offers various medicinal plants that can be drunk as a tea or used as an overlay. Classic medicinal herbs in urethritis are nettle, goldenrod, rosehip, juniper and field horsetail. An effective remedy for homeopathy is Cantharis.

Patients should pay attention to a comprehensive intimate hygiene. Extensive showering and the use of perfumed and irritating care products, however, is not recommended, as this may additionally irritate the urethra. Sexually transmitted urethritis should be avoided until recovery. To avoid re-infection, the partner should also be investigated and, if necessary, treated.

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