AskDefine | Define urethritis

Dictionary Definition

urethritis n : inflammation of the urethra; results in painful urination

Extensive Definition

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra. The main symptom is dysuria, which is painful or difficult urination.


A cotton swab is inserted 1–4 cm into the urethra and rotated once. The swab is then smeared onto a glass slide and examined under a microscope. A commonly used cut-off for the diagnosis of urethritis is 5 or more polymorphs per high power field, but this definition has recently been called into doubt.
Tests of gonorrhoea and chlamydia are sent on the swab.


In the diagnostic approach to urethritis, physicians classify the disease as gonococcal urethritis or non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), based on its causation. Non-gonococcal urethritis, sometimes called non-specific urethritis (NSU), has both infectious and non-infectious causes. In men, purulent discharge usually indicates a urethritis of gonococcal nature, while clear discharge indicates urethritis of non-gonococcal nature. Urethritis is difficult to diagnose in women because discharge may not be present, however, the symptoms of dysuria and frequency may be present.


Discharge (milky or pus-like) from the penis, stinging or burning during urination, itching, tingling, burning or irritation inside the penis.


A variety of drugs may be prescribed based on the cause of the patient's urethritis. Some examples of medications based on causes include:
Proper perineal hygiene should be stressed. This includes avoiding use of vaginal deodorant sprays and proper wiping after urination and bowel movements. Intercourse should be avoided until symptoms subside.


urethritis in German: Urethritis
urethritis in French: Urétrite
urethritis in Italian: Uretrite
urethritis in Hebrew: דלקת השופכה
urethritis in Dutch: Urethritis
urethritis in Polish: Zapalenie cewki moczowej
urethritis in Portuguese: Uretrite
urethritis in Finnish: Virtsaputkentulehdus
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