Urethritis is a medical condition characterized by the inflammation of the urethra, usually resulting in painful urination. There are several causes of urethritis. One of the most common causes is infection, however, other medical conditions can cause this as well. Certain chemicals or physical trauma could also lead to urethritis.
Many times, this condition is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Certain sexually transmitted diseases have been known to cause this condition, especially in men. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common STDs associated with this condition. Caused by the herpes simplex virus, genital herpes has also been known to lead to an inflamed urethra.
Besides STDs, a few other medical conditions could possibly cause urethritis. An bacterial infection of the prostate, known as bacterial prostatitis, for example, can also cause this condition. The E.coli bacteria, which also causes urinary tract infections, may also cause the urethra to become inflamed.
Some medical conditions not caused by a bacteria or virus also can lead to this condition. A urethra stricture is a good example of this. This refers to the narrowing of the urethra. In severe cases, the urethra can close, making urination extremely difficult. Many times, a patient may need to have a urinary catheter inserted to help empty his bladder.
While a catheter can be a treatment for urethra problems, catheter insertion also can cause this condition. This occurs because the delicate tissues of the urethra become irritated from the catheter insertion, which can lead to inflammation. Other types of trauma or physical irritation can also cause this type of inflammation, including rough sexual intercourse or even the entrance of the urethra rubbing on the inside of a person's pants.
Chemical irritants may also be to blame in some cases. Since some people may be allergic or sensitive to certain types of dyes or fragrances, products, like soap or lotion, that contain these irritants can cause inflammation in the urethra. Certain contraceptives that contain spermicide may also result in this medical condition. Usually, in these types of cases, once a patient stops using a particular irritant, the inflammation will go away.
Treatment for urethritis usually begins with treating any underlying causes. In the case of a bacteria or viral infection, antibiotic or antiviral medication is typically necessary. Patients with this condition are also strongly advised to abstain from sexual activity for at least a few days after treatment has begun.