Urethritis is infection and inflammation of the lining of the urethra, the narrow tube that carries urine out of the body and which, in men, also carries semen. Urethritis is caused by bacteria and may involve the bladder, prostate, and reproductive organs. It can affect males and females of all ages; females, however, are at higher risk.

Signs and Symptoms

In both sexes, and particularly in women, there may be no symptoms of urethritis. When there are, symptoms include the following.

In men: In women:

What Causes It?

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

A physical examination of your genitals will be necessary, and laboratory tests will be done on a urine sample and a specimen of mucus taken from inside the urethra and, in women, the vagina.

Treatment Options


Drug Therapies

Depending on the cause of the infection, a physician may prescribe one of the following treatments:

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Nutrition, herbs, and homeopathic remedies are useful in fighting infection, relieving pain, and stengthening the urinary system.

You can make the following changes in your diet to help treat urethritis. Herbs
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots.

Herbal therapy should begin at the first sign of symptoms and continue for three days after the symptoms go away. Teas provide the best treatment for infectious urethritis because the additional fluid intake helps the "flushing action." Combine two herbs from each of the following categories and drink 4 to 6 cups per day.

Urinary antiseptics fight bacteria and include the following. Urinary astringents tone and heal the urinary tract and include the following. Urinary demulcents soothe the urinary tract and include the following. For advanced or recurrent infections, prepare a tincture of equal parts goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) and coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Take 30 drops four to six times per day in addition to the urinary tea. For noninfectious urethritis or for urethritis with severe pain and spasm, add kava kava (Piper methysticum) to any of the above formulas. A periwash may be helpful in reducing pain with urination. Place 1 tsp. of the coneflower/goldenseal tincture in an 8-oz. peri bottle. Fill with water. Rinse off after each time you urinate.

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 one to four hours until your symptoms get better. Acupuncture
Acupuncture may be helpful in enhancing your body's immune function.

Following Up

If your urethritis was caused by a sexually transmitted disease, your sexual partners may need to be treated as well.

Special Considerations

STDs can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and infertility in both sexes. They also can cause difficulties during pregnancy, premature delivery, low birth weight, and infections in newborns.


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