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Urethral syndrome is a condition that affects the urethra, which is the tube that extends from your bladder to the outside of your body. The urethra is responsible for transporting urine (and semen, in people with male genitalia) out of the body. People with urethral syndrome have an inflamed or irritated urethra.
Urethral syndrome is also known as symptomatic abacteriuria. It has many of the same symptoms as urethritis, which is an infection and inflammation of the urethra. These symptoms include abdominal pain and frequent, painful urination. Both conditions cause irritation to your urethra. Urethritis usually develops because of a bacteria or virus, but urethral syndrome often has no clear cause.
Adults of any age can develop this condition, but it’s most common in women.
Urethral syndrome has various causes. Common causes may include physical problems with the urethra, such as abnormal narrowing or urethral irritation or injury.
The following can cause irritation to the urethra:
Injury to the urethra can be caused by certain activities, such as:
The condition is considered urethritis if a bacterial or viral infection is found. In some cases, however, tests won’t be able to find any infection. If this happens, your doctor will treat your symptoms as urethral syndrome.
These factors may increase your risk of developing urethral syndrome:
In both sexes, urethral syndrome can cause:
There are also a few symptoms found only in men. These include:
In women, urethral syndrome can also cause discomfort in the vulvar area.
A diagnosis is usually made when more common causes of the symptoms are ruled out. These causes include infections caused by viruses and bacteria.
Your doctor will first want to review your symptoms and medical history. They may also perform a physical examination and take a urine sample. Your doctor may decide to take a blood sample or perform an ultrasound on your pelvic region.
If the first few treatments don’t work, your doctor may need to use a scope to view the inside of your urethra.
Doctors may use a number of approaches to treat this condition. Lifestyle changes, medications, and (in rare cases) surgery can help relieve your symptoms and prevent the condition from coming back.
Your doctor may ask you to stop using products or doing activities that can irritate your urethra, such as using scented soaps or going on long bike rides.
The following are the most common classes of medications used for urethral syndrome:
In some cases, your doctor may need to widen your urethra by performing surgery or using dilators. Surgery is done only if the symptoms are thought to be due to constriction of the urethra. Constriction can occur due to injury, inflammation, and scar tissue.
If you’ve had this condition in the past, you can take these steps to help ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future:
There’s often no obvious bacterial or viral cause for urethral syndrome, but the symptoms, pain, and discomfort that the condition causes often require treatment. Talk to your doctor to figure out if medications or lifestyle changes are best for you. These can provide relief and help prevent your symptoms from returning.
Written by: Krista O'Connellon: Jun 23, 2017
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