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 are spread to the urethra. The infection may affect the bladder, prostate, and reproductive organs. It may also be caused by a sexually transmitted disease, 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 close to the anus.
Signs and Symptoms
There may be no symptoms of urethritis, particularly in women. When there are, symptoms include the following:
What Causes It?
What to Expect at Your Provider's Office
Your health care provider 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 may prescribe one of the following treatments:
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Nutrition, herbs, and homeopathic remedies can help your body right infection, relieve pain, and strengthen the urinary system. Always tell your health care provider about the herbs and supplements you are using.
Nutrition and Supplements
Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:
Herbs are a way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to diagnose your problem before starting treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 - 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 - 5 pellets of a 12X to 30C remedy every 1 - 4 hours until your symptoms get better.
Acupuncture may help strengthen your overall immune system and help relieve pain from urethritis.
If your urethritis was caused by a sexually transmitted disease, your sexual partners may need to be treated as well. Possible complications for men include cystitis, epididymitis, and prostatitis. Possible complications for women include cystitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, fertility problems, and other gynecological problems.
STDs can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and infertility in both sexes. They also can cause problems during pregnancy, premature delivery, low birth weight, and infections in newborns.
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Review Date: 4/12/2012
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.
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