The urethra is the tube inside a man's penis that carries urine from the bladder during urination. Urethritis, the inflammation of the urethra, is a condition men may have to contend with, often triggered by an infection. While urethritis is frequently linked to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there are exceptions. Let's delve into this common sexual health issue.
In men, the urethra is a narrow, fibromuscular tube in the penis, facilitating the passage of both urine and semen from the body. It plays a crucial role in urine excretion and ejaculation but is also susceptible to certain ailments, such as urethritis, characterized by urethral swelling and irritation. Typically, infection is the culprit, with STIs or STDs often implicated, though not in all cases.
Urethritis can manifest in various forms, including:
Gonococcal Urethritis: Caused by Gonorrhea.
Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU): Arising from sources other than gonorrhea, such as different types of STIs or recurrent urethral irritation.
Non-specific Urethritis (NSU): Urethritis without a known cause.
A study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests that oral sex may pose a risk for nongonococcal urethritis (NGU). Read further to explore urethritis in men.
As previously discussed, STIs and STDs are primary contributors to urethritis in men. In addition to gonorrhea, some of these STIs include:
However, other avenues leading to urethritis include:
Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Exposure to irritants like spermicides, douches, and soaps.
Rough handling of the penis.
Activities exerting pressure on the urethra, such as cycling and certain sexual practices.
Introducing foreign objects into the urethra, like a catheter to aid urination.
Managing urethritis can be uncomfortable for men and may present various symptoms, such as:
Presence of blood in urine or semen.
Painful ejaculation following sexual intercourse.
A burning sensation while urinating.
Itching, tenderness, or swelling in the penis.
Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin area.
Prevention of Urethritis
The bacteria responsible for urethritis can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Engaging in unprotected sex, even within a committed relationship, is ill-advised. Practicing safe sex is a crucial preventive measure. Other proactive steps include:
Avoiding sexual contact with multiple partners.
Consistently using condoms during sexual activity.
Regular testing for STIs/STDs.
Informing your partner if you test positive for an STI/STD.
Urethritis can be a painful condition for any man, but it is treatable with antibiotics. However, these medications may have side effects. Left untreated, urethritis can lead to more severe complications and increased discomfort. The best course of action is to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of developing this condition.
Written by: Deepti Dogra
Edited by: Aniket Joshi