The tube that connects the urinary bladder to the outside of the body is Urethra. In males, conduit for semen during sexual intercourse is the Urethra. Also, It serves as a passage for the flow of urine. In case of females, the Urethra is shorter and surfaces above the vaginal opening.

What is Urethra?

Urethra is the muscular duct that starts from the bladder and acts like a canal to excrete the urine from our body.

How does the length of male Urethra differ from that of female?

The male Urethra is comparatively longer than that of the female. The male Urethra is nearly 20 cms long and that of female is about 4 cms. The difference in the length is because the female Urethra embedded in the vaginal wall has lesser distance to travel until it reaches its opening than that of male Urethra. As it emerges from the Urethral sphincter of the bladder, the male Urethra is divided into three parts: the prostatic Urethra which runs by the prostate (semen producing gland), following it is the membranous Urethra which becomes the longest penile Urethra within penis.

What is the function of Urethra?

The only function of the female Urethra is to transport urine from the bladder and excrete it outside the body. On the other hand, male Urethra has two functions: one is the transfer of urine outside the body and the other is the ejaculation of seminal fluid, which contains sperm.

What are the disorders of Urethra?

Urethral problems may occur due to various reasons like aging, injury or illness. The major disorders of Urethra are as follows:

  • Urethrocele: The Urethra becomes curvy and widened when the muscles and tissues does not support it well

  • Urethritis: It is the swelling of the urinary tube, including the Urethra, due to microbial infection

  • Urethral strictures: It is the narrowing down of the Urethral opening

What are the common symptoms of Urethral disorder?

At the time of Urethral disorder, one will have symptoms such as severe pain and difficulty in passing or discharge of urine and even bleeding.

How can such disorders be determined?

One needs to undergo certain clinical tests in order to determine the disorders. The tests include urine tests, cystoscopy (with the help of a tool called cystoscope, the doctor gets to see the inside of the Urethra) and X-ray techniques.

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