Urethritis : how infection occurs, symptoms and treatment

Urethritis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease. The main pathogens causing the infection are Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea diploma) and Mycoplasma genitalium. Treatment consists primarily of taking antibiotics

Urethral infection is most often the result of sexual contact with a person who suffers from this condition. The patient may be unaware of this fact, because it happens that urethritis is asymptomatic, especially in the initial period of its duration.

Due to the etiological factor of urethritis, the disease is divided into two main types:

Gonorrhea urethritis is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is also the cause of the development of gonorrhea.

Non-gonorrhea urethritis includes diseases caused by all other pathogens (bacteria or protozoa) that may be in the vicinity of the urethra.

The most popular of these is Chlamydia trachomatis, but it can also be other bacteria or a protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis .

How does infection occur?

Transmission of infection occurs during sexual contact. There have also been cases where urethritis occurred through the use of common hygiene items used for genital care. Theoretically, this route of infection is also possible, because specific pathogens found in the diseased secretion coming out of the genitals can also survive outside the human body, so sexual contact is not necessary to develop urethritis.

In men, urethritis develops most often within the urethra itself, and in women in the cervical canal and urethra.

Importantly, the infection can spread as a result of all types of sexual contact, including other areas. For example, through oral intercourse, throat involvement may occur, involvement of the anus. Infection of the anus in women can also lead to the transfer of infected vaginal secretion.

In the case of some pathogens that cause urethritis, the newborn is sometimes infected during childbirth.

The main symptoms of urethritis

The main symptom that appears in the course of urethritis is the appearance of pathological discharge from the genitals (in men in the form of purulent discharge, in women in the form of vaginal discharge). The observed discharge is joined by a number of symptoms in the form of burning, pain and itching during urination.

Diagnosis of urethritis (examinations)

The basis for making a diagnosis is a medical history and physical examination. The doctor should inspect and examine the genitals, anus, prostate, and ask about sexual contact, the type of contraception used, etc. The symptoms are so specific that this may be enough to make an initial diagnosis.

Ultimately, the diagnosis of urethritis can be established by the result of microscopic examination of a smear from the urethra or cervix. The swab is performed after at least 4 hours of stopping urination. Sometimes a sample from the initial stream of urine or a vaginal swab is used for the examination (this will be determined by the doctor).

Further diagnostic tests include, m.in culture enabling the growth of microorganisms and determining their sensitivity to the antibiotic (i.e. performing the so-called antibiogram).

Treatment of urethritis

The finding of symptoms that may suggest urethritis is an indication for consultation with a gynecologist, urologist or dermatologist (venereologist). Treatment includes not only the patient who has gone to the doctor, but also the partner.

Therapy used in the course of urethritis is based on the administration of antibiotics – preferably according to the antibiogram (a list of drugs to which given pathogens are sensitive) after a swab taken from the urethra. The effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in urethritis is very high, and most often additional use of anti-inflammatory drugs is necessary.

Timely implementation of treatment is very important, because it will prevent the possibility of complications of the disease and the spread of infection to the sexual partners of the sick person.


Author: DoctorMaryam.org

4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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