Urethritis is the condition marked by inflammation and swelling of the urethra. The urethra is the narrow tube located in the penis which carries urine from the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. In men, this organ also carries semen. Urethritis is not as common in men as in women. However, urethritis can be seen in men aged between 20 and 25 years, men who have multiple sexual partners and those who do not use condoms or engage in anal sex.
Causes of Urethritis in Men
Urethritis can develop due to the pathogens responsible for urinary tract infections such as bladder infections or pathogens that cause sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea. In fact, Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the leading causes of urethritis in men. Other sexually transmitted diseases that can cause urethritis are syphilis, herpes simplex virus and HIV/AIDS.
Soaps, lotions, colognes, spermicidal creams and other chemical irritants can also lead to pain in the urethra and urethritis in men. Temporary irritation of the urethra can be caused by injuries or trauma to the penis. This includes masturbation or vigorous sexual activity, injury to the penis due to rough clothing or medical procedures such as catheterization. Underlying medical conditions such as Steven-Johnson syndrome, Reiter syndrome or urethral stricture can also cause urethritis in men. Chronic urethritis is urethritis that lasts for several of weeks or months and is usually caused by bacteria or narrowing of the urethra.
Signs and Symptoms of Urethritis in Men
Most common symptoms of urethritis are pain and burning sensation when urinating. An affected man can also experience itching, tenderness or swelling in the penis. The person may feel the need to pass urine more often than usual. Blood in the urine and semen is another common sign of urethritis.
Pain during sexual intercourse is also frequently present. Urethritis caused by certain infections can be accompanied with discharge from the penis. Painful skin lesions are present in urethritis associated with genital herpes.
Normally, urethritis does not produce fever or serious physical problems. However, if urethritis spreads throughout the body via bloodstream it can cause symptoms such as back pain, pain in the abdomen, high-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, swelling in the joints and other symptoms.
Treatment for Urethritis in Men
Treatment for urethritis aims to relieve the symptoms, eliminate the cause of the condition and prevent spreading of the infection. Infectious urethritis is treated with antibiotics. The patient is advised to avoid sex until the infection resolves or use condoms during intercourse. Pain relievers can be also used in treatment of urethritis.
On the other hand, immediate medical treatment is required in case the infection spreads beyond the urethra as it may be life-threatening.