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Some Causes and Symptoms of Urethritis in Women

By HERWriter
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Urethritis is any inflammation of the urethra, most commonly a result of bacteria causing a sexually transmitted disease (STD) like chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Viruses are a less likely cause. Those that can cause urethritis are most often the herpes simplex virus, and the cytomegalovirus.

There are other ways of ending up with urethritis. Some soaps or body powders, and spermicides can do it, as can vaginal infections. Tight clothes, sexual activity, even prolonged bike-riding can trigger a bout of urethritis.

What makes women so vulnerable to such seemingly trivial hazards?

Our biology plays a role. A female urethra (the tube from the bladder to outside the body) is shorter than a male's. It opens just above the vagina and not far from the anus. This area can be fertile for bacteria.

It's a short trip from the vagina or the anus to the relatively unprotected urethra. Sometimes all it takes is friction in this area, and a case of urethritis is on the scene.

Some contraceptives and tampons may encourage multiplication of certain bacteria which then enter the urethra. Some gynecological disorders alter the flora of the vagina, causing urethritis.

Catheterization can lead to posttraumatic urethritis, especially from latex catheters rather than silicone catheters.

For older women, the urethra and bladder change after menopause due to a drop in estrogen (female sex hormone). Their tissues are more fragile, becoming thinner and drier.

Less common bacterial causes of urethritis are syphilis and mycobacterial infection. Viral infections like herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus are also uncommon, as are streptococcal, and meningococcal infections.

Urination may be frequent and urgent, yet yielding little in the way of results. Pelvic or abdominal pain, and pain or itching upon urinating, may be experienced.

There may be a vaginal discharge, or a urethral discharge which is green, yellow, brown or blood-tinged. Intercourse may be painful. Menses (menstrual period) may make symptoms more intense. Fever and chills are not common, but may be present.

Urethritis is a condition to take seriously. If untreated, it can have nasty repercussions.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) may develop, which can make a woman infertile or prone to ectopic pregnancy. Scarring of the Fallopian tubes may also occur.

A pregnant woman with chlamydia can find that her infant develops various eye and ear problems or pneumonia after its journey down the birth canal.

If you think you might have urethritis, see your doctor immediately.


emedicine: Urethritis

Medline Plus: Urethritis

Summit Medical Group: Urethritis

Cystitis and Urethritis

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Hi i am a 45 year old woman with a discharge coming from my uretha, ive had all the swabs and tests to find no infection or anything wrong. 2 doctors now think the discharge is coming from my vagina but i totally no its not. I have a little pain on and off going for a pee and afterwards. Ive been on 3 lots of antibiotics which clear it up a little but as soon as im finished on them it returns. My last period was july last year so i came of my Concepative pill in jan but then i had a period return in early august this year and the discharge started in about late feb or early march. Its driving me crazy. Can you offer any help.

August 20, 2020 - 9:12pm
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello, Anon.

You mention two doctor's, so I assume you have sought a second opinion, which was going to be my suggestion.   As mentioned above, treatment for urethritis  (which causes discharge) will depend on the cause which can sometimes be challenging to determine.  We hope you feel better soon.


August 21, 2020 - 2:11pm
EmpowHER Guest

so.. i am having pain in like my urethral entrance. i can't describe it well, it's like it's being pulled inward or something and it has a tolerable ache. when driving to my doctor's i had to go BAD, bad like i never did before - it HURT and like.. on the left side of my bladder it hurt bad when i had to pee and continued hurting for a while after i went. my doctor doesn't listen to me and won't check things out when i report pain. he tried to say nothing is wrong and wants to refer me to gyneacologist, which makes literally no sense. what should i do? what can i do to get a test? whenever i had a uti, i would have this painful pulling-inward feeling but it would go away after being treated. however this time around i continue to have it. it also feels like something is coming out but nothing is (discharge?....). can someone please tell me what to do? im very concerned and upset my doctor wont do anything about it :(

June 17, 2016 - 1:39am
EmpowHER Guest

I have no infection but still have symptoms. The green discharge is sticky and it all stinks. I am post-menopausal and no longer having sex. This is terribly painful and causing me stress!

September 7, 2015 - 1:57pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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