Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra. It is usually caused by bacterial infection. The most common symptom of urethritis is pain or discomfort during urination. Other symptoms include pain during sexual intercourse, discharge from the urethral opening, and in men, blood in semen or urine. Two major types arise with regard to bacteria causing urethritis: (1) gonococcal urethritis and (2) non-gonococcal urethritis. A gonococcal urethritis is caused in particular by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is also called gonorrheal urethritis (named after the causative agent). This type of urethritis is usually associated with a purulent discharge.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae is gram-negative, aerobic bacterial species that is primarily found in purulent venereal discharges. It is also associated with gonorrhea, which is a sexually transmitted disease. Gonorrhoea is sometimes used synonymous with gonococcal urethritis. It is because both of them are associated with gonorrhoeal infection in the urethra. Nevertheless, gonorrhoea is a more severe sexually transmitted infection because it may affect and cause problems in the genital tract, rectum, throat, eyes, joints, and female reproductive tract (the fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus).
A non-gonococcal urethritis is a type of urethritis not caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It may be caused by other bacteria, certain viruses, protozoan parasite (Trichomonas vaginalis), and mechanical injury (e.g. injury from catheter, cystoscope, or chemical irritants).
Abbreviation / Acronym:
- gonorrheal urethritis
- specific urethritis