The urethra is part of your urinary system, along with your kidneys, ureters and bladder. The urethra is positioned at the end of your urinary system where fluid is excreted from your body. The urethra differs in length between men and women, and pain can be caused by several conditions. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you have urethra pain.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Inflammation and Swelling
Inflammation and swelling can cause urethra pain. Urethritis is a general term that describes all types of urethra inflammation. Common causes of urethritis include bacterial and viral infections. Risk for urethritis increases with high-risk sexual behavior, history of sexually transmitted diseases, numerous sexual partners, males between the ages 20 and 35, and young women in their reproductive years 1. Common signs and symptoms of urethritis in men include burning pain with urination, blood in the urine, penile discharge and pain with ejaculation. Common signs and symptoms in women include burning pain with urination, abdominal pain, pelvic pain and vaginal discharge.
- Inflammation and swelling can cause urethra pain.
- Common signs and symptoms of urethritis in men include burning pain with urination, blood in the urine, penile discharge and pain with ejaculation.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
What Are the Causes of Painful Ejaculation?
Sexually transmitted diseases -- including chlamydia and gonorrhea -- often cause urethra pain 2. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection among Americans. These conditions, which are curable, can lead to serious health complications, including epididymitis in men and pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women, if left untreated. Other signs and symptoms of these diseases include mucus or pus discharge from the vagina or penis, and pain with urination.
- Sexually transmitted diseases -- including chlamydia and gonorrhea -- often cause urethra pain 2.
- Other signs and symptoms of these diseases include mucus or pus discharge from the vagina or penis, and pain with urination.
Kidney stones can cause urethra pain. Kidney stones are solid masses comprised of salts and minerals in the urine. Many kidney stones pass through the urinary tract without causing pain, although a larger stone can become lodged in a ureter, bladder or urethra. Obstruction of urinary flow at any of these points can cause excruciating pain. Medical intervention or surgery may be required to treat large kidney stones.
- Kidney stones can cause urethra pain.
- Obstruction of urinary flow at any of these points can cause excruciating pain.
What Are the Causes of Painful Ejaculation?
Causes of White Blood Cells in Urine
Causes of Prostate Pain When Sitting
Causes of Pain in the Lower Right Quadrant
Fibroids & Leg Pain
Infections Caused by Untreated Kidney Stones
What STDs Cause Frequent Urination?
What Are the Treatments for Inflammation of the Urethra?
What Are the Causes of Left Flank Pain?
Magnesium & Urinary Tract Infection
- The Journal of Adolescent Health: Idiopathic Urethritis in Young Men in the United States -- Prevalence and Comparison to Infections with Known Sexually Transmitted Pathogens
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sexually Transmitted Diseases -- Diseases Characterized by Urethritis and Cervicitis
- Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy: Kidney Stones -- An Update on Current Pharmacological Management and Future Directions
- Young A, Wray AA. (2019) Urethritis. Treasure Island, Florida: StatPearls Publishing [Internet].
- Ward H, Rönn M. Contribution of sexually transmitted infections to the sexual transmission of HIV. Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2010;5(4):305-10. doi:10.1097/COH.0b013e32833a8844
- Moi H, Blee K, Horner PJ. Management of non-gonococcal urethritis. BMC Infect Dis. 2015;15:294. doi:10.1186/s12879-015-1043-4
- Bachmann LH, Johnson RE, Cheng H, et al. Nucleic acid amplification tests for diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae oropharyngeal infections. J Clin Microbiol. 2009;47(4):902-7. doi:10.1128/JCM.01581-08
- Brill JR. Diagnosis and Treatment of Urethritis in Men. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Apr;81(7):873-8.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. Atlanta, Georgia; updated June 5, 2015.
- Bachmann L, Manhart LE, Martin DH, et al. Advances in the understanding and treatment of male urethritis. Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Dec 15;61 (Suppl 8):S763-9. doi:10.1093/cid/civ755
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.