Last edited 09/2018

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra.

  • it is a multifactorial condition which is sexually acquired in the majority of cases (1)
  • in the UK, it is the most common condition diagnosed and treated in men attending genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics with around 80,000 new cases each year (2)

The patient complains of pain and urethral discharge, and of dysuria but maybe asymptomatic in some patients (1).

  • among men, around 30-50% are asymptomatic while in women, this amount is higher
  • onset may be sudden or insidious (3)

The disease is confirmed by demonstrating an excess number of polymorpho nuclear leucocytes (PMNLs) in the anterior urethra (1).

The condition can be associated with complications including acute epididymitis, orchitis, and prostatitis (4).


  1. Horner PJ et al. 2016 European guideline on the management of non-gonococcal urethritis. Int J STD AIDS. 2016;27(11):928-37
  2. Smith TJ. Urethritis in men. InnovAiT. 2013;6(2):83-87
  3. Hakenberg OW et al. Urethritis in men and women. European Urology Supplements. 2017;16:144-148
  4. Bachmann LH et al. Advances in understanding and treatment of male urethritis. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2015;61(S8):S763