Urethritis - Overview
Urethral syndrome; NGU; Non-gonococcal urethritis
Definition of Urethritis:
Urethritis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the body.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Urethritis may be caused by bacteria or a virus. The same bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (E. coli) and some sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea) can lead to urethritis. Viral causes of urethritis include herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus.
Other causes include:
- Sensitivity to the chemicals used in spermicides or contraceptive jellies, creams, or foams
Risks for urethritis include:
- Being a female in the reproductive years
- Being male, ages 20 - 35
- Having many sexual partners
- High-risk sexual behavior (such as anal sex without a condom)
- History of sexually transmitted diseases
- Reviewed last on: 9/3/2010
- Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Brill JR. Diagnosis and treatment of urethritis in men. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81:873-878.
McCormack WM. Urethritis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 106.
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