Inflammation in the urethra is known as urethritis and can cause painful urination and increased urinary frequency. One of the causes of urethritis is sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia .
The male urethra is a common channel for urination and ejaculation and extends from the bladder to the external urethral orifice, following a path of about 20 cm. The male urethra can be divided into three parts:
- prostatic urethra;
- membranous urethra;
- spongy urethra.
The prostatic urethra , as the name implies, runs through the prostate. It has a length of about 3 cm and is where the ducts that carry the secretion produced by the prostate drain.
When the prostate increases in size, as in the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia, compression of the urethra can occur, which leads to problems such as reduced urinary flow, the urge to urinate frequently and the feeling that the bladder has not been completely emptied. In this structure, it is also possible to observe two protrusions, called seminal colliculi, which are the places where the ejaculatory ducts empty.
The membranous urethra, in turn, crosses the floor of the pelvis and is approximately 1 cm long . The external urethral sphincter is present in this region, which acts to control urination. Finally, the spongy urethra is about 15 cm long and crosses the penis . In the region adjacent to the external urethral ostium, a dilated portion called the navicular fossa of the urethra is located.
The prostatic urethra is lined by transitional epithelium. The membranous is lined by pseudostratified columnar epithelium. The spongy, in turn, is lined by pseudostratified columnar epithelium, with regions of stratified squamous epithelium. Mucous-like glands, called Littre’s glands , are present throughout the urethra, being predominant in the spongy urethra.
The female urethra is a unique organ of the urinary system . Unlike the male urethra, the female urethra is a short tube, measuring between 4 cm and 5 cm in length. The shorter urethra and the proximity of the anus and vagina favor the development of bacteria in the region, which makes women have more cases of urinary tract infection than men.
It is lined by flat stratified epithelium, with regions where pseudostratified columnar epithelium is present. In the final portion of the female urethra, the external urethral sphincter is present, which controls urination.
Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra region. It can have different causes, such as infection with bacteria and viruses, use of substances that can cause irritation, such as spermicides, and even traumatic causes, such as surgery. One of the causes that deserve to be highlighted are sexually transmitted infections , such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. These causes can be prevented with condom use.
Urethritis can cause symptoms such as:
- pain when urinating;
- increased urinary frequency;
- urgent and frequent urge to empty the bladder;
- discharge of secretions through the urethra.
Treatment depends on the cause of urethritis. In urethritis caused by bacteria, for example, antibiotics are prescribed. Anti-inflammatories can also be used. It is important to note that urethritis, when treated incorrectly, can affect other structures of the urinary system, such as the bladder, ureters and kidneys . We cannot fail to mention the damage caused to the reproductive system, which can even trigger infertility.