Pain in urethra
Pain is an unpleasant sensation triggered in the nervous system that can range from mild discomfort to unbearable agony. Pain receptors located...

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Definition

Pain in the urethra is an unpleasant sensation ranging from mild discomfort to unbearable agony in the tube that drains urine from the bladder. The urethra is located inside the pelvis in women and inside the penis in men. The pain sensation can be due to actual injury, tissue damage or noxious stimulation of nerve fibers.

Alternative Names

Urethral pain, urethra pain, urethalgia, urethrodynia.

Synopsis

Pain is an unpleasant sensation triggered in the nervous system that can range from mild discomfort to unbearable agony. Pain receptors located throughout the body send electrical impulses via the spinal cord to the brain. Urethral pain is pain in the tube that drains urine from the bladder and may be acute (new onset) or chronic (long-standing). Pain may be dull or sharp, constant or intermittent (comes and goes), cramping or burning. Each individual has a unique ability to tolerate pain, depending on their age, personality and circumstances. You will need to be able to describe your pain accurately in order to assist the doctor who evaluates in diagnosing your problem. Pain in the urethra may be caused by a urinary tract infection or a sexually transmitted disease. In these cases, once the problem is treated, the pain will resolve.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Benign enlargement of prostate (BPH)
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder infection
  • Chlamydia
  • Epididymitis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Inflammation of prostate
  • Kidney stones
  • Low neutrophil count
  • Malignant neoplasm of ureter
  • Non-bacterial prostate inflammation
  • Orchitis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Postmenopausal atrophic vaginitis
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Urethral stricture
  • Urethritis
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Vulvovaginitis

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis is made by a complete history and physical, including palpating (feeling) the abdomen for tenderness. A urinalyis will be done. A urine culture may be done to determine if there is an infection. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is infection, a course of antibiotics will be given.

Call your provider if:

  • Pain is severe
  • You are unable to pass urine
  • Redness or discharge are present at the urethra

Written by: JC Jones MA, RN
Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD
Written: October 4, 2007
Last Updated: October 31, 2007
Published By: Healthline Networks Inc.
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