Urethritis history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Seyedmahdi Pahlavani, M.D. [2]


A detailed history, particularly with regard to sexual activity, must be taken. Symptoms suggestive for urethritis include dysuria and urethral discharge. History should specifically include, recent sexual activities, number of sex partners, or any new partner, use of condoms, history of prior STDs, and history of recent urethral instrumentation (e.g., urethral catheters).


It is necessary to obtain a detailed and thorough history from the patient. Specific areas of focus when obtaining a history from the patient include:[1]

  • Recent sexual activities
  • Number of sex partners or any new partner
  • Use of condoms
  • History of prior STDs
  • History of recent urethral instrumentation (e.g., urethral catheters)


Between 5 and 10 percent of cases of gonococcal urethritis, and up to 42 percent of nongonococcal urethritis are asymptomatic.[2]
Common symptoms of urethritis include:[3][4][5]


Urethral discharge

  • Urethral discharge could be a small amount of meatal moisture, or an apparent discharge of clear or frankly purulent meatal secretion with a wide range of colors.


  1. "Information from your family doctor. Urethritis in men". Am Fam Physician. 81 (7): 879. 2010. PMID 20358658.
  2. McNagny SE, Parker RM, Zenilman JM, Lewis JS (1992). "Urinary leukocyte esterase test: a screening method for the detection of asymptomatic chlamydial and gonococcal infections in men". J. Infect. Dis. 165 (3): 573–6. PMID 1538163.
  3. Taylor-Robinson D (1996). "The history of nongonococcal urethritis. Thomas Parran Award Lecture". Sex Transm Dis. 23 (1): 86–91. PMID 8801649.
  4. Bennett, John (2015). Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's principles and practice of infectious diseases. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier/Saunders. ISBN 9781455748013.
  5. Brill JR (2010). "Diagnosis and treatment of urethritis in men". Am Fam Physician. 81 (7): 873–8. PMID 20353145.

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