In the Urethritis, in medical terminology also as Urethritis called, it is an inflammation of the urethral lining. Men and women can be equally affected by this condition.
What is urethritis?A main symptom of urethritis (urethritis) is a burning sensation when urinating.
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This inflammation of the urethral mucosa is divided into a specific and a non-specific form of the disease. The specific form of urethritis, however, is far more common.
Discharge and pain and burning sensation when urinating are usually clear symptoms of urethritis. However, if this is recognized early and treated correctly, the chances of complete healing are quite good.
Urethritis should not be confused with cystitis. Although both are among the lower urinary tract infections, they must be clearly distinguished from one another.
A basic distinction is made between specific urethritis - this is triggered by a certain form of bacteria, the gonococci, and is the most common form of the disease.
The unspecific urethritis in turn is triggered by chlamydia, corynebacteria, mycoplasma or trichomonads. Urethritis is sexually transmitted and in this case also contagious. But other causes can also lead to the outbreak of urethritis.
Mechanical irritation, for example, can trigger the disease as well as allergic reactions. Even lubricants can be the trigger for urethritis. Urethritis as a result is also not uncommon, especially with spicy or salted dishes.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
A main symptom of urethritis (urethritis) is the burning sensation when urinating. Furthermore, a purulent, glassy and cloudy discharge occurs. The urge to urinate is greatly increased. There is often severe pain at the exit of the ureter.
In addition, it is often very red and itchy unbearably. The symptoms of inflammation of the urethra (urethritis) are the same in women and men. Often, however, they are different. Men often have much more severe symptoms because their urethra is much longer. In some women, the urethritis is almost symptom-free. Others just experience discomfort when urinating.
However, complications can arise in both women and men if the urethritis is left untreated. In women, the inflammation can spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can lead to abscesses and sticking of the fallopian tubes. As a result, there is a risk of infertility.
Ovarian inflammation can also spread to the peritoneum and cause life-threatening peritonitis. In men, the inflammation sometimes spreads to the testicles and prostate. In addition, because of their longer ureters, the pain and burning sensation in the ureter are much more pronounced than women. In both sexes, urethritis can also lead to a narrowing of the urethra.
Diagnosis & course
The diagnosis of urethritis can usually be clearly stated based on the 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 also referred to as urethral fluorine by medical professionals.
Most affected patients also complain of pain or burning sensation when urinating. The opening of the urethra is visibly red and swollen. In about 25 percent of cases, urethritis causes no symptoms at all and goes completely unnoticed.
Female patients in particular often do not notice the disease. The symptoms of urethritis are not unlike those of cystitis - after all, both diseases are lower urinary tract infections.
However, in order to be able to make a clear diagnosis, the attending physician will take a smear from the urethra. Examining this smear under a microscope will then determine the exact cause of the urethritis. A urine sample can also provide information about possible pathogens. The course of the disease depends on the respective trigger: the disease often only breaks out after a few days or even weeks. If this is then treated properly, it heals without any consequential damage.
If left untreated, however, urethritis can lead to serious complications. The pathogens can spread to other organs - in men this could be the epididymis or the prostate gland; in a woman, the fallopian tubes and ovaries can be affected.
In the worst case, this inflammation of the fallopian tubes or ovaries can even lead to infertility. Pregnant women should also be careful with urethritis, because the pathogens can be transmitted to the child, which in turn can trigger conjunctivitis.
In most cases, inflammation of the urethra leads to relatively strong and burning pain, which mainly occurs when urinating. Both men and women are equally affected by this disease. In many cases, the pain leads to psychological complaints or other upsets and depression.
People intentionally drink less fluids and therefore suffer from dehydration. This generally has a negative effect on the patient's health and can lead to various complaints. Itching also occurs in various parts of the body. In the further course, the urethritis can also lead to a bladder infection.
This, too, is usually associated with severe pain, which can also spread to other regions of the body. If the urethritis is left untreated, it can also lead to infertility or conjunctivitis. There are usually no other complications in treating urethritis.
This is carried out with the help of antibiotics and leads to a positive course of the disease relatively quickly. As a rule, urethritis does not reduce life expectancy.
When should you go to the doctor?
Urethritis must always be treated by a doctor. An early diagnosis can contribute to a more positive course of the disease and prevent possible complications. The doctor should then be seen if there is a discharge from the urethra. This can be either yellowish or white. Pain when urinating is also usually an indication of urethritis. If this pain persists for several days and does not go away on its own, a visit to a doctor is necessary.
The pain is mostly burning. Furthermore, itching on the body often indicates urethritis if it occurs for no particular reason. A general practitioner or urologist can be consulted if urethritis is suspected. In severe cases or in the case of very severe pain, the hospital or the emergency doctor can be called. In most cases, however, the disease can be treated relatively well and there are no further complications or other complaints.
Doctors & therapists in your area
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment for urethritis depends on the underlying cause. If bacteria or fungi are known to be the cause, antibiotics or antifungal agents are usually used.
Patients should drink enough and dress warmly to help. In particular, cold feet should be avoided in the case of urethritis.
Some home remedies such as currant or cranberry juice have also already proven themselves well in the treatment. You should refrain from sexual intercourse until the urethritis has completely subsided in order not to infect your partner.
Outlook & forecast
Urethritis usually has a favorable prognosis. Nevertheless, it depends on various influencing factors that must be taken into account when assessing the individual patient. Women in particular experience a mild form of the disease in most cases. Often there are no complaints worth mentioning, which makes diagnosis difficult and increases the risk of complications.
Under optimal conditions, spontaneous healing and complete recovery of the patient occurs after a few weeks. Medical care is not always necessary in these cases. When the disease progresses unfavorably, secondary diseases develop. These include in particular venereal diseases.
Treatment should be sought if the urethra becomes infected. The pathogens usually spread within a short time and cause a deterioration in the general state of health. The administration of medication can prevent the germs from multiplying and enable a quick recovery. Consequential damage is not to be expected.
Doctors speak of an unfavorable course when the inflammation spreads further in the organism and affects other organs or surrounding tissue. In women there is a risk of complications of the menstrual cycle and, in the case of an existing pregnancy, an abortion. Men can experience painful inflammation of the prostate, resulting in impaired sexual function.
Since the urethritis in many cases is caused by unprotected sexual intercourse, one should be particularly careful here. The use of condoms can therefore definitely help prevent urethritis.
Many infants are given germ-killing eye drops after birth to prevent the conjunctivitis that may result from urethritis.
After a urethritis has been overcome, the responsible urologist or gynecologist must be consulted again. The urethritis can persist for a few days and sometimes create additional complications that need to be checked by a doctor. It may be necessary to restart treatment, for example if the symptoms persist or the inflammation returns.
Patients diagnosed with urethritis should avoid cold and moisture in the genital area after treatment is complete. The genital area should continue to be spared until the disease has completely subsided. If urination problems or other complications return after a few days, a doctor must be consulted in any case.
Urethritis may already have developed into a chronic condition. In any case, urethritis is a condition that must be monitored by a doctor even after the end of the treatment. Permanent observation by the attending physician is particularly important for people who suffer from chronic complaints.
The doctor will examine the urethra using a suitable method and can thereby determine whether the inflammation has completely subsided or whether further measures need to be taken. Aftercare also includes a healthy diet and adequate exercise.
You can do that yourself
In addition to drug therapy, it is generally important to drink plenty of urethritis and - even if the infection causes pain when urinating - to go to the toilet regularly. Furthermore, the body and especially the pelvic floor area should be kept warm (e.g. with a hot water bottle and heating pad).It is important to avoid prolonged sitting on cold surfaces.
Some home remedies also help: fruit juices such as cranberry or lingonberry juice or a bath in warm salt water. 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 tea or used as a topping. Classic medicinal herbs for urethritis are nettle, goldenrod, rose hip, juniper and field horsetail. An effective remedy from homeopathy is Cantharis.
Sick people should ensure comprehensive intimate hygiene. Extensive showering and the use of perfumed and irritating care products, on the other hand, are not recommended, as this can further irritate the urethra. If you have sexually transmitted inflammation of the urethra, you should not have sex until you recover. To avoid re-infection, the partner should also be examined and treated if necessary.