Urethra: Wikis


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Female anatomy.png
Female anatomy. (Urethra labeled at bottom left.)
Male anatomy.png
Male anatomy. (Urethra opening labeled at bottom left, the bulbo-urethral gland at the base of the penis.)
Latin Female urethra: urethra feminina
Male urethra: urethra masculina
Gray's subject #256 1234
Artery Inferior vesical artery
Middle rectal artery
Internal pudendal artery
Vein Inferior vesical artery
Middle rectal artery
Internal pudendal vein
Nerve Pudendal nerve
Pelvic splanchnic nerves
Inferior hypogastric plexus
Lymph Internal iliac lymph nodes
Deep inguinal lymph nodes
Precursor Urogenital sinus
MeSH urethra
Dorlands/Elsevier Urethra

In anatomy, the urethra (from Greek οὐρήθρα - ourethra) is a tube which connects the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. In males, the urethra travels through the penis, and carries semen as well as urine. In females, the urethra is shorter and emerges above the vaginal opening.

The external urethral sphincter is a striated muscle that allows voluntary control over urination.


Medical problems of the urethra

Micrograph of urethral cancer (urothelial cell carcinoma), a rare problem of the urethra.
  • Hypospadias and epispadias are forms of abnormal development of the urethra in the male, where the meatus is not located at the distal end of the penis (it occurs lower than normal with hypospadias, and higher with epispadias). In a severe chordee, the urethra can develop between the penis and the scrotum.
  • Infection of the urethra is urethritis, said to be more common in females than males. Urethritis is a common cause of dysuria (pain when urinating).
  • Related to urethritis is so called urethral syndrome
  • Passage of kidney stones through the urethra can be painful and subsequently it can lead to urethral strictures.
  • Cancer of the urethra.
  • Foreign bodies in the urethra are uncommon, but there have been medical case reports of self-inflicted injuries, a result of insertion of foreign bodies into the urethra such as an electrical wire.[1]


Sexual physiology

The male urethra is the conduit for semen during sexual intercourse. It also serves as a passage for urine to flow.

Additional images

See also


External links

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|A male urethra]] The urethra is a tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body. It allows people and animals to remove urine from the body. People and animals control urination using the urethral sphincter.

The urethra is part of the urinary system in mammals. Because humans are mammals, they have urethras. In male mammals, the urethra is also a part of the reproductive system, because males use it as a tube for sperm during sex.

Human anatomy

In human anatomy, men have longer urethras then women. This means that women have bladder infections more often, because their bladders are closer to the outside. Because the male urethra is longer and is not straight, inserting a catheter (tube to help urination) is more difficult in men.

In women, the urethra is 2.5-4 cm (1-1.5 in) long. Its opening to the outside of the body is part of the vulva (the area between a woman's legs). The female urethra is between the clitoris and the opening to the vagina. In men, the urethra is about 20 cm (8 in) long and its opening to the outside of the body is at the end of the penis.

The male urethra has three sections:

  • The prostatic urethra crosses the prostate gland. The vas deferens also opens into the urethra in this section.
  • The membranous urethra is a short section that goes through the urethral sphincter. It is 1 or 2 cm long, and is the narrowest (least wide) part of the urethra.
  • The spongy or penile urethra goes through the penis on its lower side. This section is 15-16 cm (6 in) long and goes through the corpus spongiosum.

Medical problems

  • Hypospadias is where the opening of the male urethra is lower than it should be.
  • Epispadias is where the opening of the male urethra is higher than it should be.
  • A chordee is where the urethra develops between the penis and the scrotum.
  • Urethritis is infection of the urethra. It often causes dysuria (pain when urinating).
  • Urethral syndrome is related to urethritis.
  • Kidney stones that go through the urethra can be painful and can lead to urethral strictures.

Medical procedures

  • To send a tube up the urethra to help drain urine is a common type of catheterization.
  • To send a tube up the urethra to see the inside of the bladder is called cystoscopy.

Urinary system (edit)
Kidneys | Ureters | Urinary bladder | Urethral sphincters | Urethra

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