Urethritis is theinflammation of the urethra characterized by symptoms such as pain or discomfort during urination, pain during sexual intercourse, discharge from the urethral opening, and in men, blood in semen or urine. It is usually caused by bacterial infection. Two major types arise with regard to bacteria causing urethritis: (1) gonococcal urethritis and (2) non-gonococcal urethritis. The former is caused by the gonococci, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Urethritis that is not caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae is called a non-gonococcal urethritis. Non-gonococcal urethritis may be caused by other bacteria such as Chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, uropathogenic Escherichia coli, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Ureaplasma urealyticum, and Streptococcus agalactiae. Apart from bacteria, certain viruses are also associated with urethritis. These are the herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, and certain adenoviruses. Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoon, may also cause urethritis. Mechanical injuries also lead to urethritis, e.g. injury from a urinary catheter, a cystoscope, or a chemical irritant such as spermicides and antiseptics).
Others may refer to non-gonococcal urethritis as non-specific urethritis to indicate that the urethritis is caused by other agents, not by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and sometimes chlamydia infection is also ruled out.
Abbreviation / Acronym:
- non-specific urethritis