Symptoms of Urethritis

There are various symptoms associated with urethritis and all men don’t experience the same symptoms.  Some cases of urethritis even have no symptoms at all.  The symptoms of urethritis vary from no symptoms at all to having a thick urethral discharge with pain and other lower urinary tract symptoms.  The following symptoms are associated with urethritis:

  • Dysuria
  • Dysuria is when pain is felt when urinating.  This is the most common symptom experienced by men with urethritis.  This pain is usually a burning type of pain and is worst during the first morning void when the urine is the most concentrated.

  • Difficulty urinating
  • A feeling of the urethra being blocked (which makes it difficult to urinate) is a symptom of urethritis.  Some men may report that they feel they have to use a lot of force to initiate urination.

  • Discharge
  • A urethral discharge is a thick, fluid substance secreted from the urethra which may be yellow, green or brown in colour.  The secretion of this discharge is unrelated to sexual activity. (This means the discharge is not only excreted during sexual intercourse.)  A urethral discharge is more common in men that have Gonococcal infection.  A urethral discharge used to be considered the main and most important sign used to diagnose urethritis in men but recent studies have shown that urethritis may still be present in men who don’t have a urethral discharge.


    Blood in the urine is hematuria

  • Blood
  • Blood may be seen in the urine when urinating or in the semen when ejaculating.  A man’s reason for visiting the doctor may be because he sees blood in his urine or semen.  The medical term for blood in the urine is hematuria.

  • Urinary frequency
  • Urinary frequency means that the patient feels the need to urinate a lot more than usual and finds himself going to the toilet to urinate many times in the day, and sometimes, even many times at night.  When this symptom is present the man may have a bladder infection as well as urethritis.

  • Itching or burning
  • An itchy or burning feeling may be felt near the opening of the penis.  Patients with urethritis also describe this sensation as an annoying feeling inside their penis which almost feels as if something is inside their urethra.

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lymph nodes in the groin area may be swollen and tender when the patient has urethritis.  These lymph nodes feel like swollen, rubbery masses which are about 2cm in diameter and are painful when palpated.

  • Asymptomatic
  • When no symptoms of urethritis are present and a man is found to have urethritis, it is said to be asymptomatic (without symptoms). This is often the case when the urethritis developed because of a chlamydia or trichomoniasis infection.  Men with asymptomatic urethritis can still pass the infection on to their sexual partners even if they don’t have any symptoms themselves.  Up to 25% of men with urethritis are asymptomatic.

  • Systemic symptoms
  • Systemic symptoms like fever, sweats and nausea are usually absent.  If they are present it may be because of systemic spread of the infection.  This means that the infection that was present in the urethra has spread to other sites in the body.  When systemic symptoms are present with symptoms of urethritis, there should be an investigation for other infections which may be present at the same time as urethritis, or infections that may have resulted from the spread of the urethral infection.