Urethritis is an infection and inflammation of the lining of the urethra, the narrow tube that carries urine out of the body. In men, the urethra also carries semen. Urethritis is usually caused when bacteria from the anus travel to the urethra. The infection may affect the bladder, prostate, and reproductive organs. It may also be caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as herpes or chlamydia.
Urethritis can happen in men and women of all ages. Women, however, are at higher risk because the urethra is closer to the anus.
There may be no symptoms of urethritis, particularly in women. When there are, symptoms may include:
Your doctor will examine your genitals, do laboratory tests on a urine sample, and take a specimen of mucus from inside the urethra and, in women, the vagina.
Depending on the cause of the infection, your doctor may prescribe one of the following treatments:
Nutrition, herbs, and homeopathic remedies can help your body fight infection, relieve pain, and strengthen the urinary system. Always tell your doctor about the herbs and supplements you are using. Complementary therapies are best used in conjunction with conventional medical care as part of a coordinated approach among your health care providers to affect the best outcomes.
Herbs are a way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your doctor before starting treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, or teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. (5 g) herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaves or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.
Some of the most common remedies used for urethritis are listed below. Usually, the dose is 3 to 5 pellets of a 12X to 30C remedy every 1 to 4 hours until symptoms improve.
Acupuncture may help strengthen your overall immune system and help relieve pain from urethritis.
If your urethritis was caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD), your sexual partners may need to be treated as well. Possible complications for men include:
Possible complications for women include:
STDs can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and infertility in both sexes. They can also cause problems during pregnancy, premature delivery, low birth weight, and infections in newborns.
Bally F, Troillet N. Diagnosis and treatment of urethritis. Rev Med Suisse. 2006;2(82):2282-2284, 2286.
Beerepoot MA, ter Riet G, Nys S, et al. Cranberries vs antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: a randomized double-blind noninferiority trial in premenopausal women. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(14):1270-1278.
Berntsson M, Tunback P. Clinical and microscopic signs of cervicitis and urethritis: correlation with Chlamydia trachomatis infection in female STI patients. Acta Derm Venerol. 2013;93(2):230-233.
Cabrera C, Artacho R, Gimenez R. Beneficial effects of green tea -- a review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006;25(2):79-99.
Cvetnic Z, Vladimir-Knezevic S. Antimicrobial activity of grapefruit seed and pulp ethanolic extract. Acta Pharm. 2004;54(3):243-250.
Dieterle S. Urogenital infections in reproductive medicine. Andrologia. 2008;40(2):117-119.
Doron S, Gorbach SL. Probiotics: their role in the treatment and prevention of disease. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006;4(2):261-275.
Dryden GW Jr, Deaciuc I, Arteel G, McClain CJ. Clinical implications of oxidative stress and antioxidant therapy. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2005;7(4):308-316.
Gonclaves C, Dinis T, Batista MT. Antioxidant properties of proanthocyanidins of Uncaria tomentosa bark decoction: a mechanism for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytochemistry. 2005;66(1):89-98.
Hale LP, Greer PK, Trinh CT, James CL. Proteinase activity and stability of natural bromelain preparations. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005;5(4):783-793.
Heitzman ME, Neto CC, Winiarz E, Vaisberg AJ, Hammond GB. Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Uncaria (Rubiaceae). Phytochemistry. 2005;66(1):5-29.
Ito S, Yasuda M, Seike K, et al. Clinical and microbiological outcomes in treatment of men with non-gonococcal urethritis with a 100mg twice-daily dose regimen of sitafloxacin. J Infect Chemother. 2012;18(3):414-418.
Lieske JC, Goldfarb DS, De Simone C, Regnier C. Use of a probiotic to decrease enteric hyperoxaluria. Kidney Int. 2005;68(3):1244-1249.
Lichtenstein AH, Russell RM. Essential nutrients: food or supplements? Where should the emphasis be? JAMA. 2005;294(3):351-358.
Maeda S, Tamaki M, Kubota Y, Nguyen PB, Yasuda M, Deguchi T. Treatment of men with urethritis negative for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma parvum, and Ureaplasma Urealyticum. Int J Urol. 2007;14(5):422-425.
Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015.
Moi H, Blee K, Horner PJ. Management of non-gonococcal urethritis. BMC Infect Dis. 2015;15:294.
Moi H, Reinton N, Moghaddam A. Mycoplasma genitalium in women with lower genital tract inflammation. Sex Transm Infect. 2009;85(1):10-14.
Nanda N, Michel RG, Kurdgelashvili G, Wendel KA. Trichomoniasis and its treatment. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006;4(1):125-135.
Schindler G, Patzak U, Brinkhaus B, et al. Urinary excretion and metabolism of arbutin after oral administration of Arctostaphylos uvae ursi extract as film-coated tablets and aqueous solution in healthy humans. J Clin Pharmacol. 2002;42(8):920-927.
Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002;21(6):495-505.
Stapleton AE, Dziura J, Hooton TM, et al. Recurrent urinary tract infection and urinary Escherichia coli in women ingesting cranberry juice daily: a randomized controlled trial. Mayo Clin Proc. 2012;87(2):143-150.
Takahashi S, Takeyama K, Kunishima Y, et al. Analysis of clinical manifestations of male patients with urethritis. J Infect Chemother. 2006;12(5):283-286.
Taylor-Robinson D. Diagnosis and antimicrobial treatment of Mycoplasma genitalium infection: sobering thoughts. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2014;12(6):715-722.
Yoon JH, Baek SJ. Molecular targets of dietary polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties. Yonsei Med J. 2005;46(5):585-596.
Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2021 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.