What is Urethritis?
Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethral mucosa whose symptoms are usually flow, pain and burning during urination. Urethritis diagnosed on time and with correct treatment has a good prognosis.
Urethritis can be classified depending on the causes, specific or non-specific. Specific urethritis is the most common. Its origin are sexually transmitted bacteria that cause a venereal disease called gonorrhea. Nonspecific urethritis may also be caused by infections with certain pathogens, but also by non-infectious or mechanical allergic irritations. In the non-specific form, a chlamydial infection is acquired through sexual transmission.
Urethritis often causes a yellowish whitish (called a secretion of the urethra) discharge from the urethra. Typical symptoms of urethritis are continuous tingling, burning in the urethra and a painful urination. However, inflammation often evolves without discomfort or is only manifested by an unpleasant sensation when urinating. For this reason, urethritis is not diagnosed or diagnosed very late in most cases. The diagnosis of urethritis is made through clinical examinations and smears of the inflamed urethra, in order to find out which pathogen is the cause.
The treatment of urethritis depends on the causes that trigger it. These triggers can be bacteria, fungistatic agent and the other things. If urethra is inflamed, it is generally advisable to drink a lot and urinate frequently. If urethritis is treated too late, serious complications can occur.
What is the definition of urethritis?
Urethritis is an acute inflammation of the mucosa of the urethra. Inflammation of the urethra is like cystitis, an infection of the lower urinary tract. The classification of urethritis depends on its trigger:
Specific urethritis: This form is the most common. It originates from an infection of certain bacteria ‘’ the gonococci’’ that appears in the context of a sexual disease called gonorrhea. For this reason, doctors also call it gonorrheic urethritis.
Nonspecific urethritis: Those responsible for this form are almost always many other non-gonorrheal pathogens, such as chlamydiae, corynebacterium, mycoplasmas or trichomonas. Nonspecific urethritis may also be caused by non-infectious or mechanical allergic irritations. Infectious urethritis is sexually transmitted and is among the most common sexually transmitted diseases.
What causes urethritis?
Causes of urethritis are mainly bacteria. However, other pathogens (fungi, unicellular organisms) and non-infectious causes are also considered. The most common trigger for an inflammation of the urethra is the sexual transmission of pathogens during sexual intercourse. In addition, in many cases (for example, within a hospital admission) a urinary catheter may be the cause of the pathogens accessing the urethra.
Specific urethritis: If the cause of a urethritis is an infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococci), it is a specific urethritis. Infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae is called gonorrhea. It is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Non-specific urethritis: Non-specific urethritis may be due to different causes. The most common trigger of nonspecific urethritis is the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which is transmitted through sexual contact. Chlamydia trachomatis is a mucosal parasite that attacks only humans.
Along with chlamydia, other sexually transmitted pathogens such as certain unicellular parasites (trichomonas) or other bacteria (mycoplasmas or Escherichia coli) can trigger nonspecific urethritis. In rare cases, herpes virus or fungi are the cause of nonspecific urethritis. Fungus infections most often occur in people with a weakened immune system.
Occasionally, non-specific urethritis appears without infection for example, if the urethra is mechanically irritated by instrumental intervention and / or inflamed. Allergic urethritis or irritation may occur as a result of chronic diseases. Urethritis that is not caused by pathogens which are not contagious.
What are the symptoms of urethritis?
Urethritis usually manifests itself with few symptoms. Often, those affected notice a yellowish whitish flow from the urethra (secretion of the urethra). There is a continuous itching and burning of the inflamed urethra and frequent painful urination.
However, urethritis does not cause any discomfort in 25% of cases. Urethritis that develops without symptoms is often suffered especially by women. Chlamydia urethritis also develops in 75% of women without symptoms. The inflamed urethra occasionally causes an unpleasant sensation when urinating.
How is urethritis diagnosed?
In urethritis, the diagnosis is made by physical examination and checking for possible pathogens. In the physical examination of those affected, a clear redness of the urethra is striking. To determine the pathogens, doctor makes a smear of the urethra. The smear is usually done with a small brush. The doctor inserts a small part of this brush into the inflamed urethra. The evaluation of the smear under the microscope provides clues about the trigger of urethritis.
To ensure the diagnosis of urethritis, culture of the pathogens of secretion is necessary. In the absence of sexual contact, certain pathogens are excluded from the onset of urethritis.
Treatment depends on the underlying causes in urethritis. If caused by bacteria, antibiotics or fungistatics are used.
In addition to the treatment of urethritis with medication, it is important to drink a lot and if it also causes pain when urinating, go to the bathroom frequently. Other recommended home remedies for urethritis are keeping warm (on all feet), changing wet clothes quickly after drying and drinking fruit juices (eg, gooseberry juice or cranberry juice). Urethritis is mostly sexually transmitted, for the success of the treatment, it is also important to give up sex until the infection has healed. In addition, it is advisable that your partner also go to the doctor.
Urethritis prognosis and complications
The evolution of a urethritis depends on its trigger. Urethritis takes a few days or even weeks to manifest in an infection. In many cases, especially in women, urethritis courses continue without discomfort or with mild type.
If it is diagnosed early and treated properly, prognosis of urethritis is good and goes away without damage. As the discomfort is often mild or almost imperceptible, urethritis is often not discovered for a long time. In addition, untreated urethritis can lead to complications in its later evolution.
Urethritis can present various complications during its evolution. If urethritis remains untreated, it can spread to other organs, depending on the pathogen. In men, urethritis caused by chlamydia, especially, causes acute inflammation of the prostate and epididymis: These complications appear in one in four men with chlamydia infection. The inflammations are almost always very painful and produce fever and chills. In women, increased pathogens can lead to acute inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries (called salpinguitis), which produces fever, lower belly pain, and a strong feeling of discomfort. If this is due to inflammation of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, they are closed irreversibly which can lead to infertility. In addition, closure of the fallopian tubes favors extrauterine pregnancies. Another particularly important complication is acute inflammation of the peritoneal lining of the liver.
A complication of urethritis due to infection is called reactive inflammation of the joints (arthritis). Sometimes it is accompanied by conjunctivitis. In a simultaneous evolution of the three types of symptoms, there is an autoimmune disease called Reiter’s syndrome.
If the vagina is invaded by urethritis-causing pathogens (such as chlamydiae or gonococci) during pregnancy or during birth, complications may occur. If these pathogens pass from the mother to the newborn, purulent conjunctivitis appears in the infant, which can lead to blindness in some cases.