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Urethra

In anatomy, the urethra is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. The urethra has an excretory function in both sexes, to pass urine to the outside, and also a reproductive function in the male, as a passage for sperm.

The external urethral sphincter is the skeletal muscle that allows voluntary control over urination.

  • In the human female, the urethra is about 1-1.5 inches (25-38 mm) long and opens in the vulva between the clitoris and the vaginal opening.
  • In the human male, the urethra is about 8 inches (200 mm) long and opens at the end of the penis.

Medical problems of the urethra:

  • Hypospadias[?] is a form of abnormal development of the urethra in the male, where the opening is not quite where it should be (it occurs lower than normal in hypospadias). A chordee[?] is when the urethra develops 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[?]

Endoscopy of the bladder via the urethra is called cystoscopy.

See also: Vulvovaginal health, urethral sponge[?], G-spot



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