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  Urethritis / Urethral Syndrome  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | It can lead to... | Recommendations

 

Urethritis
This is inflammation of the urethra. It is also often called NSU (non-specific urethritis) or NGU (non-gonococcal urethritis) and it is usually a sexually-transmitted disease.

The classic signs and symptoms of NSU are burning upon urination and a light discharge. While a heavier, thicker discharge may occur, this is usually more suggestive of gonorrhea. At times there may be no discharge at all and the only complaint may be a urethral itch.

The most common cause of NSU is a microorganism called Chlamydia. It may also be caused by Ureaplasma (a different microorganism) or with lesser frequency a variety of others. Often it is difficult to know the exact cause of non-specific urethritis (hence the term "non-specific"). Because NSU is a syndrome caused by different organisms, treatment results are inconsistent. Current medical treatment recommendations usually include antibiotics (Tetracycline or Doxycycline or Erthyromycin) and each organism that causes urethritis must be treated with the specific medication that is most effective against it. Other drugs are also commonly used. Because one's sexual partner may also carry the infecting microorganism, it is important to treat both simultaneously.

Urethral Syndrome
This refers to a primarily female syndrome in which women suffer from irritative bladder symptoms (urinary frequency, urgency, burning, and more) in the absence of any objective urologic findings. That is to say, when they under medical evaluation their physicians discover no specific findings to account for their symptoms.

The irritative symptoms accompanying urethral syndrome include: urinary frequency, urgency and burning in addition to possible low back pain, pain above the pubic region, and a hesitant or slowed urinary stream. Because these symptoms are so common with other urinary problems, your physician must eliminate other disease possibilities and diagnose urethral syndrome by exclusion.

Many urethral syndrome patients were initially told that they have recurrent urinary infections. Upon closer examination of their history, however, it is discovered that their supposed urinary infections have been poorly documented. Other disease processes which must be excluded are: Chlamydia infections, Ureaplasma infections, neurological disorders, gynecological disorders, bladder tumors, urethral narrowing, interstitial cystitis and more. Your physician may wish to perform certain tests in order to clarify the diagnosis. These tests may include X-ray studies and bladder studies. The X-rays may be done in order to be sure there is no stone or other physical abnormality. The bladder studies may include cystoscopy, which allows direct visual inspection of the interior of the bladder.

The true cause of urethral syndrome is not known. Some feel that it may be due to urethral stenosis (narrowing) but this is not well documented. Others feel that it may be due to infectious agents which are difficult to isolate, neurologic factors, or psychology factors.

Because the most likely cause of urethral syndrome remains infectious, antibiotics are the first treatment choice of most physicians. If different antibiotic regimens fail, other treatments must be tried. These include looking into the bladder (cystoscopy) and perhaps burning some apparently infected areas using a special scope. Some physicians may try to instill different chemicals into the bladder to treat urethral syndrome. At other times, a patient may respond to certain oral pharmaceutical agents which relax or otherwise relieve bladder symptoms.

Urethral syndrome can be a very frustrating and upsetting disease. While this disease is not life-threatening, it can cause disrupting symptoms and be difficult to treat. An understanding physician can help significantly in the diagnosis and treatment of these problems.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Urethritis / Urethral Syndrome:
 
 
Symptoms - Urinary  (Very) painful urination
  Urinary discharge
 
 

Conditions that suggest Urethritis / Urethral Syndrome:
 
 
Uro-Genital  Increased Urinary Frequency
  Vulvodynia / Vestibulitis
 Vestibulitis may sometimes be part of bladder and/or urethral inflammation as seen in the interstitial cystitis or urethral syndrome. The lining of both vagina and bladder arise from the same tissue during fetal development; thus when one becomes inflamed, the inflammation may spread to the adjoined areas.
 
 

Risk factors for Urethritis / Urethral Syndrome:
 
 
Infections  Mycoplasma Infection
 Chronic nongonococcal urethritis may be associated with Mycoplasma infection. In men, about 15-20% of cases show U.urealyticum as a cause for non-gonococcal urethritis

Symptoms - Urinary

  History of urinary discharge
 
 

Urethritis / Urethral Syndrome can lead to:
 
 
Uro-Genital  Increased Urinary Frequency
 
 

Recommendations for Urethritis / Urethral Syndrome:
 
 
Botanical  Corn Silk (Zea Mays)

Oxygen / Oxidative Therapies

  Ozone / Oxidative Therapy
 The basic methods for ozone use in urethritis include general ozone therapy (may be in combination with vaginal or bladder insufflations of an ozone-oxygen mixture or ozonated saline or distilled water) and the topical application of ozonized olive oil.
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
May do some good
Likely to help







GLOSSARY

Chlamydia:  A sexually-transmitted disease that is often without symptoms. Some females experience a white vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese, a burning sensation when urinating, itching, and painful intercourse. A clear watery urethral discharge in the male probably is a chlamydia infection.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Gonorrhea:  A sexually-transmitted disease that is often without symptoms. If there are symptoms in the female, they include frequent and painful urination, cloudy vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, inflammation of the pelvic area, and abnormal uterine bleeding. If the male has a purulent (pus-like) urethral discharge, he should assume he has gonorrhea until proven otherwise.

Interstitial Cystitis:  A chronic bladder problem involving a bladder wall that is inflamed and irritated. Symptoms include an urgent need to urinate, both daytime and nighttime; pressure, pain and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis and perineum (the area between the anus and vagina or the anus and scrotum) which may increase as the bladder fills and decrease as it empties during urination; a bladder that won't hold as much urine as it did before; pain during sexual intercourse; in men, discomfort or pain in the penis or scrotum. In many women, the symptoms get worse before their menstrual period. Stress may also make the symptoms worse, but it does not cause them.

Stenosis:  (Esophageal, GI tract): Narrowing.