Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra, the bladder outlet tube) shares some symptoms with cystitis, but is more often due to chemical or mechanical triggers than infection. Over concentrated urine, allergens, foreign bodies and contact with irritants such as shampoo, deodorants and condoms are all common culprits.
Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra, the bladder outlet tube) shares some symptoms with cystitis, but is more often due to chemical or mechanical triggers than infection. Over concentrated urine, allergens, foreign bodies and contact with irritants such as shampoo, deodorants and condoms are all common culprits. The majority of sufferers are women.
- A burning sensation on passing urine
- Need to pass urine more often
- Discomfort often starts immediately after intercourse
- Symptoms are relieved by sitting in a tepid bath
Hydrotherapy is recommended in terms of drinking adequate amounts of fresh or bottled water daily (more when appreciable amounts are lost as sweat), and of using water to relieve symptoms. Sitting in a warm or tepid bath, splashing the vulval and urethral area with cold water, bathing after intercourse and applying cold compresses all relieve the stinging.
A wholefood diet would be recommended, avoiding common food allergens. Freshly squeezed carrot juice mixed in equal proportions with either apple or celery is a recognized remedy for urethritis symptoms.
Specific dietary supplements are antioxidant vitamins and minerals similar to those suggested for mouth ulcers (such as beta-carotene, which relieves inflammation and helps to repair mucous membranes).
Medicines containing extracts of cranberry, goldenseal root, nasturtium flowers and juniper berry are all recognized treatments for urethral inflammation.
Add a drop or two of essential oils of cypress, pine (which is particularly beneficial), parsley or niaouli to cool water and bathe the urethral opening with quick splashing movements, or soak a clean cloth, soft paper towel or cotton wool in it and apply to the sore area.
Urethritis is often misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection; this is because a scalding sensation when urinating is such a common feature of cystitis. As it is customary (and wise) in the case of cystitis to start an antibiotic course before the laboratory results of the urine sample are known, many patients with urethritis find themselves taking antibiotics unnecessarily. Doctors treat urethritis, when it can be identified, with advice to avoid likely irritants, and with alkalizing agents to reduce the urine’s acidity (and hence the pain of passing it). A teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with a little warm water and a squeeze of orange juice for flavor has the same effect.
- Drink plenty of water – dehydration over concentrates urine.
- Avoid spicy dishes, onions, beans, strong coffee and tea, alcohol, cola drinks and chocolate.
- Change out of wet swimsuits as soon as possible after swimming.
- Resist the temptation to sit on hot radiators or very cold surfaces.
- Urethritis without infection does not cause fever, loin pain or blood in the urine.
- Ask your doctor’s advice about symptoms persisting despite relief measures.
- All suspected cases should be investigated by a doctor, in case the cause is Chlamydia or a similar infection.