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urethritis u·re·thri·tis (yur'ĭ-thrī'tĭs)
Inflammation of the urethra.
infection and inflammation of the urethra, the channel for passage of urine from the urinary bladder to the outside. Urethritis is more frequent in males than in females. Its causes vary with age, sexual practices, and hygienic standards. Urethritis due to fecal contamination or irritation due to physical or chemical substances is common in young children. After puberty, the most common known causes of the condition are Chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are spread through sexual intercourse. The cells of the mucous glands in the lining of the urethra serve as important harbouring places for the chlamydial and gonococcal bacteria, which invade the glands while the infection is just beginning and remain in them even after the mucous membrane has healed. Another common urethral infection is caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis, frequently resident in the vagina. Chemical irritants or the spread of infection from other parts of the urinary tract may also cause urethritis. Urethritis can also be caused by trauma, such as caused by the introduction of foreign bodies into the urethra.