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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Urethritis (YUR-a-THRYT-is) is the inflammation of the urethra (you-REE-thruh), which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of your body. This condition is usually caused by exposure to a sexually-transmitted disease like gonorrhea (gone-oh-REE-uh) or chlamydia (klah-MID-ee-uh). It can also be caused by trauma to the urethra, as with the repetitive insertion of a catheter (KATH-uh-ter). Symptoms include frequent urination, a discharge from the penis ranging from clear and thin to thick and yellow, and a painful sensation during urination or ejaculation. If left untreated, urethritis can lead to more serious problems, including inflammation of the prostate gland. If you think you have any symptoms of urethritis, contact a physician; it's normally easy to treat with antibiotics. When the condition is the result of a sexually-transmitted disease, both partners should be treated. You should also avoid sexual contact until a doctor confirms that the problem has cleared up. Finally, to reduce the risk of developing urethritis, wear a condom during intercourse; use mild, unscented soap; and drink plenty of water.

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