Get exclusive member benefits & effect social change. Join Today
The urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. In men, the urethra is a long tube located inside the penis. In women, it is shorter and located inside the pelvis. Pain in the urethra may be dull or sharp, constant or intermittent (meaning it comes and goes). New onset of pain is called acute. When the pain continues for a long period of time, it is considered to be chronic.
Problems in the urethra can occur due to injury, tissue damage, infection, illness, or aging.
Irritation temporarily may cause pain in your urethra. Sources of irritation include:
In most cases, avoiding irritants will alleviate the pain.
Pain in the urethra can also be a symptom of a wide variety of underlying medical conditions, including:
You will need to be able to describe your pain accurately in order to assist the doctor in diagnosing your problem. Symptoms that can accompany pain in the urethra include:
Seek medical attention if you experience one or more of these symptoms along with pain in your urethra.
Depending on your symptoms, a variety of diagnostic tests may be ordered. In most cases, once the diagnosis is made, treatment will usually resolve the pain.
Diagnosis will require a complete history and physical, including palpating (feeling) the abdomen for tenderness. For women, a pelvic examination may be necessary. It is likely that your doctor will also order a urinalysis and urine culture.
Depending on your symptoms and the results of your physical, additional tests that may help your doctor reach a diagnosis include:
Treatment will depend entirely on the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is infection, an appropriate course of antibiotics will be given. Drinking plenty of fluids and frequent urination may help speed your recovery. Other medications may include:
If an irritant caused your pain, you will be advised to avoid it in the future. Surgery can be an effective treatment for narrowing of the urethra.
Treatment of underlying conditions usually results in relief of pain.
Written by: The Healthline Editorial Team
Published on: Mar 28, 2013
Medically reviewed on: Jun 29, 2016: [Ljava.lang.Object;@2f6fc19e
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members save 10% on the monthly service charge of qualified AT&T wireless plans.
Members pay $9.50 for Regal ePremiere Tickets purchased online.
Members earn points on select Walgreens-brand health and wellness products.
Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.