What is Urethral Syndrome?
Urethral Syndrome is defined as a collection of symptoms that develops when the urethra becomes inflamed and irritated. The function of the urethra is to carry urine from the bladder and eliminating it out of the body. Urethral Syndrome is seen mostly in females in the age range of 15-70 years. The condition primarily presents itself in the form of pain and discomfort in the suprapubic area. There is a significant increase in urinary frequency and dysuria. It is not quite easy to diagnose Urethral Syndrome as symptoms are quite similar to other medical conditions and requires multiple tests and studies to rule them out before diagnosing Urethral Syndrome .
Females with a prior history of smoking and suffering from hematuria should go for an urgent evaluation to rule out any chances of a tumor or cancer. It is the urinary symptoms that concern patients but a detailed history and a physical examination is also of utmost importance when trying to diagnose Urethral Syndrome. The primary cause of Urethral Syndrome is not yet known .
Earlier, a stenosed urethra was believed to be the cause of this condition which led to numerous dilatations being done but this was believed to be the cause in only a handful of cases and thus could not be considered as an etiology. Other than this, there is no single cause that has been identified to cause Urethral Syndrome .
In some instances, hormonal imbalance, allergic reaction to certain food, or environmental factors like exposure to certain chemicals, and even use of contraceptives have all been linked to Urethral Syndrome. Read below for details of the signs and symptoms of Urethral Syndrome and ways to manage the condition .
What Are The Presenting Features Of Urethral Syndrome?
The primary presenting features of Urethral Syndrome include increased urinary frequency and urgency with a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. The female also will complain of painful voiding. Urethral Syndrome also causes frequent bouts of intense pain in the abdominal area along with pain in the low back and the genitals.
Dyspareunia is yet another presenting feature of Urethral Syndrome .
In cases of males, abnormal discharge from the penis is the primary presenting feature of Urethral Syndrome. The sexual function also gets adversely affected due to this condition in males, namely complaints of swelling of the testicles, painful ejaculation, and traces of blood in the semen .
How is Urethral Syndrome Treated?
The management of Urethral Syndrome depends on the underlying cause. If sexually transmitted infection or a urinary tract infection is believed to be causing this condition then the treating physician will prescribe medications to get rid of the infection, which in most cases will resolve the symptoms of Urethral Syndrome. For this, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed. To calm down the pain and inflammation, pain killers will have to be prescribed. If cosmetics are believed to be the cause of the symptoms then a change of soaps or shampoos or switching to an alternative will be advised which should be good enough to clear away the symptoms .
Making certain dietary modifications at times also help in treating the symptoms of Urethral Syndrome. This has been substantiated by various studies, specifically one done in 2002 where females in the study were asked to follow a strict diet plan for a period of three months avoiding all forms of caffeine, fatty and greasy food, and alcohol .
Out of the 600 odd females who participated, around 90% of them reported complete relief of symptoms by the end of the three month period just by diet restrictions alone. This proved the importance of diet in treating Urethral Syndrome .
Can Urethral Syndrome Be Prevented?
Urethral Syndrome is a condition that cannot always be prevented. However, the risk for getting it can definitely be reduced by practicing safe sex like using a condom.
Additionally, using fragrance and chemical free cosmetic products is also good way of preventing Urethral Syndrome. Alcohol and caffeine intake should be kept in moderation and trying to avoid hot spicy and greasy foods is preferable to prevent Urethral Syndrome, if someone is at an increased risk for such a condition .
In conclusion, Urethral Syndrome is a collection of symptoms affecting the urethra. It is seen mostly in females even though there have been cases of males suffering from this condition as well. The primary presenting feature of Urethral Syndrome is increased urinary urgency and frequency and pain with voiding. Pain in the lower abdomen and low back pain are also quite common in people with Urethral Syndrome [1, 2].
The etiology of this condition is not fully known but there are certain risk factors which increase the chances of an individual having Urethral Syndrome. From alcohol and caffeine intake to eating spicy and greasy foods all contribute towards increasing the risk for Urethral Syndrome. Cosmetic and hygienic products with chemicals in them also increase the risk for Urethral Syndrome and hence should be avoided [1, 2].
The management of Urethral Syndrome depends on the underlying cause and once that is identified the physician recommends either medications or dietary modifications to best treat the condition [1, 2].