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Urethritis: Care Instructions

The urinary tract

Your Care Instructions

Urethritis is an infection of the tube that takes urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This tube is called the urethra.

The infection is often caused by bacteria. This can happen if you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). But a virus may also be a cause.

Urethritis is usually treated with antibiotics. Most cases clear up with treatment. Proper treatment is very important. If you don't treat it, the infection can lead to lasting damage of the urethra. Other parts of the urinary system can also be damaged.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve), if needed. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Do not have sex until you are done with treatment. If you do have sex, be sure to use a condom. Your sex partner or partners should be tested too if your urethritis was caused by an STI.
  • If your infection was caused by an injury or chemicals, avoid those things if you can.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You can't urinate.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary infection. For example:
    • You have blood or pus in your urine.
    • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
    • You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
    • It hurts to urinate.
    • You have groin or belly pain.
  • You have a hard time urinating when your bladder is full.
  • You notice mental changes or feel confused.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.