A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control

A-Z topics

You are here

Urethritis

Urethritis is an infection of the male urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. It is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Causes

Bacteria that cause urethritis, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are usually passed through unprotected oral, anal and vaginal (frontal) sex.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  •  A slight burning feeling when peeing
  •  Itching inside the penis
  •  Clear to creamy fluid from the urethra

Usually, the symptoms are seen or felt more in the morning.

Complications

If the bacteria that caused urethritis are not treated, they can lead to pain and swelling in one or both testicles (balls) and may result in infertility.The bacteria or virus that causes urethritis can also cause complications in women. Sexual partners of men diagnosed with urethritis also require testing and treatment.

Tests and Diagnosis

To find out the cause of urethritis, you need to have an exam and tests done. Most often the test is done with a urine sample and a swab from the penis.

Treatment

Urethritis is treated with antibiotics. It is important to take all the medication as directed, even if you start to feel better. Go back to see your health care provider if you still have symptoms after you finish your medication.

Treatment for Partners

Anyone you have had sex with in the past two months (60 days) should get tested. Partners are almost always given medication whether they have symptoms or not. If you have not had sex in the past two months, your last partner should be tested.

Avoid Re-infection or Prolonging Infection

It takes time for an infection to be cleared from the body, so it is important that you do not have oral, vaginal (frontal) and anal sex for seven days after you and your partners start the antibiotic treatment. If you or your partners do not finish the treatment or miss pills, the infection may be passed back to you or your partners and may cause health problems later on. If that happens, talk with your health care provider to see if you or your partners need more treatment.

Resources

HealthLink BC – Urethritis

Download and print this page (below).

Search related content:
urethritis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, pain
Was this page helpful? Please tell us why