Urethritis: what is it, symptoms, treatment, remedies, is it curable?


What is urethritis?

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra, the channel through which urine exits the bladder. It can be caused by bacterial and viral infections, as well as trauma. Among the symptoms are pain on urination (act of expelling urine), burning of the urethra, discharge of pus and urinary urgency.

Most cases of urethritis are caused by sexually transmitted diseases and their prevention can be done through the use of condoms. However, the disease can also be caused by bacteria present in the rectum.

In the female body, the disease is usually accompanied by inflammation of the cervix, which can cause discomfort during sex, in addition to bleeding.

The treatment is done through antibiotics prescribed by a doctor, who will select the remedy based on the type of infection.


Urethritis can be divided into two types: gonococcal and non-gonococcal, and differentiation is the cause of the inflammation.

Gonococcal urethritis

Gonococcal urethritis is that caused specifically by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae , the gonorrhea bacteria . Although urethritis is not necessarily a sexually transmitted disease, STDs can not only be the source of the infection, but are the main cause of the disease.

When caused by gonorrhea, the bacteria lodges in the urethra after unprotected sexual activity and is more common in men. As the bacterium has difficulty reaching the female urinary canal, this type of urethritis is less common in women, with vulvovaginitis ( inflammation of the vulva and vagina) being more frequent .

Symptoms of gonorrhea usually appear between 24 and 72 hours after infection, with an abundant discharge of pus through the urethra.

Non-gonococcal urethritis

Non-gonococcal urethritis is any infection or inflammation of the urethra that does not have the action of the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae . It occurs when there is infection by other bacteria, in addition to traumas, such as those caused by the use of urinary tubes.

Sexually transmitted diseases, STDs, are also the most common cause of this type of urethritis. In this case, the infectious agent is Chlamydia trachomatis , the bacterium responsible for chlamydia. This disease has a long incubation time, taking up to 15 days to manifest, which facilitates its transmission since the host does not show symptoms.

This type of urethritis can also be caused by viral herpes and candidiasis , as well as irritations caused by trauma.

Psychogenic urethritis

Psychogenic or psychosomatic urethritis is inflammation of the urethra without bacteria, viruses, trauma or any external cause. It is caused by psychological and emotional reasons, and its symptoms are identical to regular urethritis.

In that case, the treatment must be psychological. The urologist can identify this type of urethritis (due to the lack of signs of trauma or infection), and the patient can be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist.


The causes of urethritis vary. Are they:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common causes of urethritis, the first especially in men. Unprotected sex facilitates the transmission of bacteria, which spread through the urinary tract.

For centuries, gonorrhea has been the main cause of infection, but chlamydia has been taking this position because it is silent. The disease is capable of being asymptomatic for several days, and the host of the bacterium, not realizing that it has it, transmits it to several partners.

Other STDs can also cause urethritis: herpes, caused by a virus, can also infect the urethra, inflaming it. In addition, candidiasis, an infection caused by fungi, may be responsible for the inflammatory response, as well as trichomonas, infectious agents of trichomoniasis , an asymptomatic disease in men. The HPV can also cause the disease.

The Escherichia coli , a bacterium found in the intestinal tract, it is another causative microorganism of urethritis. Inflammation caused by this bacterium is more common in women, due to the proximity of the urethra to the anus, but it can also happen to men, especially after unprotected anal sex.


The use of urinary tubes in hospitals can lead to irritation of the walls of the urethra, which can cause inflammation without the presence of microorganisms. The insertion of objects in the channel can also cause this type of inflammation.

Chemical causes

Although STDs are the most common cause of urethritis, chemical causes are also possible. An example is the use of spermicides during sexual intercourse, which can cause irritation, leading to inflammation.


Urethritis can be transmitted through sex without using a condom , which helps spread sexually transmitted diseases and contaminates the urethra with them.

It is also possible to acquire the infection through bacterial migration of the intestine, which is more common in women due to the proximity of the vaginal canal to the anus, which creates a bridge for infection of the urethra. Unprotected anal sex can also transmit an E. coli infection from one person to another.

Risk factors

Unprotected sex

Missing the use of condoms facilitates the transmission of bacteria and viruses that can cause urethritis, being the main risk factor for the disease.

Use of catheters and erotic toys

Inserting objects into the urethra can cause trauma to the canal, which facilitates infections and inflammation.


Symptoms of urethritis vary between gonococcal and non-gonococcal urethritis. Women infected with Neisseria gonorrhoeae often do not show symptoms of gonorrhea.

In both cases, however, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. In women, urethritis is often accompanied by inflammation of the cervix, which can result in abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding outside the menstrual period and pain during or after sex.

In men, urethritis can reach the testicles, leaving the scrotum swollen and painful.

Gonococcal urethritis

Among the symptoms of urethritis caused by gonorrhea bacteria are:

  • Abundant discharge through the urethra, greenish yellow in color and with a bad smell;
  • Difficulty and burning when urinating;
  • Increased frequency of the need to urinate, but with a small amount of urine and feeling that the bladder has not been completely emptied.

Non-gonococcal urethritis

Non-gonococcal urethritis is often asymptomatic, so it is more difficult to diagnose. However, it can exhibit symptoms, including:

  • Whitish and sparse discharge through the urethra, which may not be noticed;
  • Slight difficulty when urinating;
  • Itching in the urethra;
  • Burning when urinating.


When urethritis is caused by herpes in men, it is usually accompanied by sores and blisters, characteristic of the disease, on the skin of the penis.


Urethritis can be diagnosed by a doctor, often the urologist .

Laboratory tests are needed to identify the type of infection, as treatment for gonococcal urethritis is not effective for non-gonococcal urethritis. In addition, there is a possibility that the patient has both infections, and treating only one of them would not solve the problem.

Sexually active patients often receive treatment for the most common causes, gonorrhea and chlamydia, until tests confirm the cause of the infection.

Some exams are:

Urine analysis

Urine is taken to locate and identify the bacteria, virus, protozoan or fungus that causes urethritis.


Urethritis often leads to bladder infections. Therefore, although more rare than the urine test, urine culture also seeks to find microorganisms in the patient’s urine.

In this test, a small amount of urine is placed in an environment that favors the proliferation of bacteria. Over time, if there are bacteria, they multiply and it is easy to find them.

As the bladder and kidneys are sterile, that is, they normally do not have the presence of microbes, a bacterium present is a strong indicator of urinary tract infection .

Urethral scraping

When STD is suspected, a urethral scraping is performed to identify possible sexually transmitted diseases that may be the cause of urethritis.

Is urethritis curable?

Fortunately, yes . With proper treatment, urethritis can be cured without long-term consequences.

What is the treatment?

The treatment of urethritis must be specific to the cause of the infection.

Gonorrhea can be tested in 15 minutes, but some tests for other types of infection can take days. So it is common for doctors to start antibiotic treatments aimed at the most common causes before the results come out.

In the case of gonococcal urethritis, treatment is for gonorrhea, and for non-gonococcal patients, treatment for chlamydia is usually started. In case of a negative response after a few days, the remedies are changed to fight less common infections.

Urethritis medications

Gonococcal urethritis

  • Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride ;
  • Ceftriaxone sodium ;
  • Tianfenicol .

Non-gonococcal urethritis

  • Azithromycin ;
  • Erythomycin ;
  • Dioxicycline hydrochloride ;
  • Trimethoprim + Sulfamethoxazole .

In case of herpes

  • Acyclovir .


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Natural treatment

Natural treatments for urethritis tend to be palliative, that is, they do not cure, but alleviate symptoms.

It is worth remembering that natural treatment does not exclude the need for medical care and is not scientifically proven. Therefore, there is no guarantee of effectiveness or safety.


Several teas are indicated for the relief of infections. The green tea is known to reduce inflammation and pain while seeking the cause of the infection.

But the chamomile tea is used as an antibacterial drug effective against microorganisms that cause inflammation, and help eliminate bacteria in the urine.

Finally, cat’s claw tea (the herb has the same name, leave the pussy’s claws alone, please) can be taken daily to strengthen the immune system, improving the chances that it will beat the infection.

Hot shower

A hot bath in a bathtub, of up to 15 minutes, stimulates blood circulation in the infected area, which can reduce pain and inflammation.

Drink a lot of water

Staying hydrated helps the body fight infection, as well as allowing frequent cleaning of the urethra. Drinking water is especially effective for preventing infection and during treatment with antibiotics.


If treated, the patient can achieve complete cure of urethritis using antibiotics, preventing any consequences.


There are several complications that can result from untreated urethritis. Between them:

Narrowing of the urethra (stenosis)

Late treatment of urethritis can cause the urethra to narrow through internal scarring, which is called stenosis . This condition reduces urinary flow and facilitates bladder infections ( cystitis ), in addition to causing burning sensation when urinating and, in some cases, urinary incontinence.


Untreated gonorrhea can cause an abscess – accumulation of pus – around the urethra. This abscess can lead to new infections in the body and, if it pierces the wall of the intestine, vagina or skin, it can cause a diversion of the urine pathway, which will then pass through a urethral fistula, a channel between the urethra and another part of the body. body caused by a ruptured abscess.

An untreated abscess can cause a number of problems of its own, spreading the infection.

Infection extent

In more advanced cases, the infection can spread through the bloodstream or other parts of the body. Infections of the bladder, intestine, vagina, cervix, uterus and prostate may occur. In addition, the infection can become a sepsis (generalized infection), which is extremely dangerous.

Transmission of the infection to the partner

If left untreated, the infection can be passed on to the partner through contact with the infected area.

Vertical transmission

In case of pregnancy, the infection can be passed on to the child during delivery, when the baby passes through the vaginal canal. For the child, the consequences can be dire.

If gonorrhea or chlamydia bacteria come into contact with the baby’s eyes, they can blind the child or cause meningitis .

There is a preventive treatment done in the maternity hospital with silver nitrate eye drops, which prevents gonorrhea infection in the child’s eyes. However, it has no effect on chlamydia, and other bacteria may be present.

If the baby does not have an efficient immune system – which can happen if he is premature, if the mother has HIV or other situations that can leave the child immunodeficient – the infection can affect the lungs and can take his life.


There is no scientific confirmation that chlamydia urethritis causes infertility, but there is no consensus among urologists about this. It is possible that the infection causes blockages in the channel that carries sperm to the urethra, and this can prevent a man from having children.

In women, both chlamydia and gonorrhea can rise to the tubes, obstructing the passage from the egg to the uterus. This can prevent the eggs from finding the sperm, or cause the pregnancy to happen in the tubes, the so-called tubal or ectopic pregnancy.

How to prevent urethritis?

The most efficient way to prevent urethritis is to use a condom . Most urethritis is caused by sexually transmitted diseases and condoms are effective in preventing this type of disease from spreading.

Making people aware of the risks that unprotected sex brings is the best way to prevent both urethritis and other STDs from spreading.

It is also important to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated cleans the urethra frequently and can prevent infections.

Although it is not the only way to get urethritis, it is often caused by sexually transmitted diseases. Prevention is the best medicine.

It is worth remembering that the disease can be dangerous if ignored, in addition to causing pain and discomfort. The ideal is to see a doctor for proper treatment.

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