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Male reproductive anatomy
Male reproductive anatomy


Chlamydial urethritis - male

Definition:

Chlamydial urethritis is a sexually transmitted disease involving infection of the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder).



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Chlamydial urethritis is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.

Chlamydia can cause a type of swelling (inflammation) of the urethra ( urethritis ). Chlamydia and gonorrhea often occur together.

People who are sexually active and those with multiple sexual partners are at highest risk for chlamydia infection.

Different strains of chlamydia cause genital, eye, lymph node, and respiratory infections. A child born to a woman with a chlamydia infection of the cervix may develop an eye or lung infection.



Symptoms:
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Redness, swelling, itching of the opening of the urethra at tip of the penis
  • Swelling and tenderness of the testicles

The symptoms can appear similar to those of infection with gonorrhea , but continue even after after treatment for gonorrhea.



Signs and tests:
  • Taking a sample of secretions from the penis and sending it to a lab for a culture or a test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Urethral discharge culture or genital fluid testing for gonorrhea
  • Urine test


Treatment:

Chlamydia can be treated with a variety of antibiotics, including:

  • Azithromycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Quinolones
  • Tetracyclines

Both sexual partners must be treated for both gonorrhea and chlamydia to prevent passing the infections back and forth. Even partners without symptoms need to be treated.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Antibiotic treatment is usually successful.



Complications:

Narrowing (strictures) of the urethra may occur. This may require surgery to correct.

The infection may come back (recur) if you do not take your medicine as directed, or if your sexual partners are not treated.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of a chlamydia infection.



Prevention:

Screening for other sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis and HIV, is important when you've been diagnosed with a new chlamydia infection.

Having a sexual relationship with one partner (monogamous) who is not infected is one way to avoid chlamydia. The proper use of condoms during intercourse usually prevents infection.



References:

McCormack WM. Urethritis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 106.




Review Date: 4/28/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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