Is Chlamydial Urethritis in Men?
Chlamydial urethritis in men is an infection of the urethra
caused by the sexually transmitted infection (STI) chlamydia. The urethra is a
tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of your body.
This condition often causes swelling and inflammation of the
urethra, accompanied by discharge. However, as with most STIs, men often do not
display symptoms. An infected person and all sexual partners must receive
treatment for STIs to prevent reinfection.
of Chlamydial Urethritis in Men
Chlamydial urethritis is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia
trachomatis. It is spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Both
men and women can develop this common type of infection.
People who have multiple sexual partners are more likely to
contract chlamydial urethritis than those who are monogamous. Men who do not
practice safe sex also have a higher risk of chlamydial urethritis. Condoms can
prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections. People under the age of
24 are also more likely to contract STIs in general including chlamydia (Mayo
of Chlamydial Urethritis in Men
Men with chlamydial urethritis may not show symptoms for several
weeks after exposure to the bacteria, if they develop any symptoms at all.
Symptoms of chlamydia and the related inflammation of the urethra usually occur
between one and three weeks after exposure to Chlamydia trachomatis.
Signs of infection include:
- pain or burning during urination
- itching, redness, or swelling of the head of the
- discharge from the penis
- painful, swollen testicles
The urethra becomes inflamed during a bout of urethritis, making
urination more difficult. Discomfort in the penis is generally limited to the
tip, where the urethra ends.
Symptoms of chlamydial urethritis in men can mimic the symptoms
of the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea. Gonorrhea and chlamydia
infections often occur at the same time, and infected persons may require
treatment for both STIs (NIH, 2010).
Chlamydial Urethritis in Men
Your doctor will perform a series of lab tests to diagnose
chlamydial urethritis. You will be asked to give a urine sample, which will be
tested for the presence of bacteria.
You may also need a urethral discharge culture (swab test) to
rule out gonorrhea (which causes symptoms similar to chlamydial urethritis). A
technician will swab the head of your penis with alcohol or another sterile
agent. Then, he or she will insert a cotton swab into your urethra at the tip
of your penis. The discharge or fluids collected will be analyzed to determine
the source of your infection.
for Chlamydial Urethritis in Men
When a man is diagnosed with chlamydial urethritis, both he and
his sexual partner(s) must be treated with antibiotics. Treating partners—even
if they do not show signs of infection—prevents reinfection. Without proper
treatment, sexual partners may continue to pass the bacteria back and forth.
Several antibiotics can eliminate chlamydial urethritis,
In most cases, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for five to
10 days. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that a
higher dose (1 gram) of Azithromycin taken once may also be an effective
Most infections will resolve within a week or two. During
treatment, it is important that you abstain from sex to prevent reinfection.
of Chlamydial Urethritis
It is important to seek treatment for STIs as soon as symptoms
occur. Untreated infections can spread and lead to more serious health
complications in men, including:
- infection and pain near the testicles
- infection of the prostate gland
- stricture (narrowing of the urethra due to
inflammation or infection)
Because men often do not show signs of infection right away,
regular screenings for STIs (especially when changing partners or if you have
multiple sexual partners) can diagnose STIs even if no symptoms are present.
to Prevent Chlamydial Urethritis in Men
Men who are sexually active can prevent STIs with safe sex
practices. Male and female condoms can greatly reduce the spread of infection.
Make sure you use a new condom for each sexual contact. Regular screenings for
STIs, including HIV, are important for anyone who is sexually active, and
especially for those with multiple partners.