Clinical profile and co-infections of urethritis in males

Ital J Dermatol Venerol. 2021 Dec;156(6):681-685. doi: 10.23736/S2784-8671.20.06773-5. Epub 2021 Jan 11.


Background: Infectious urethritis are classified in N. gonorrhoeae (NG) urethritis and non-gonococcal urethritis, caused commonly by C. trachomatis (CT) or M. genitalium (MG) in Western Europe. The primary objective of the study is to evaluate the association between the clinical profile and the pathogens. Secondly, to assess the prevalence of co-infections.

Methods: The clinical profile of urethritis in men caused by NG, CT and MG confirmed by nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) on first void urine has been retrospectively collected. The clinical profiles comprised the assessment of dysuria and/or discharge and the clinical-dermoscopic examination of the genitalia. Serological tests for syphilis and HIV were also performed.

Results: A total of 101 episodes of NAAT confirmed NG, CT or MG urethritis were identified. The prevalence for each pathogen was 50.60%, 33.73% and 15.66%, respectively. Co-infections were observed in few cases (four MG+CT, one NG+CT, one NG+MG), with M. hominis, U. urealitycum and U. parvum positivity found concomitantly in 7-8% cases. The median age of patients was 33 years. Dysuria was reported in 88% cases (95% NG, 79% CT, 78% MG urethritis). Urethral discharge was found in 86% of cases, including purulent discharge in 61% (98% NG, 70% MG) and transparent in 25% (64% CT). Dysuria and purulent discharge were observed in 95% NG, 54% MG and 29% CT cases, whereas dysuria and transparent discharge were observed in 50% CT, 23% MG and in none of NG cases (P<0.01). Balanitis/meatitis was observed in 24% of cases, genital warts in 12% and proctalgia in 4%.

Conclusions: NAAT is crucial for defining urethritis etiology. Dysuria is the most common symptom. Gonococcal urethritis present with purulent discharge, whereas transparent discharge is associated with non-gonococcal pathogens. Co-infections are rare. Clinical exam may detect other infectious diseases, in particular genital warts.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections* / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Coinfection* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urethritis* / diagnosis