The urethra is the tubular passage through which the urine accumulated in the human body is discharged from the bladder to the exterior of the body. This is the channel of the uro-genital tract that connects the bladder with the urethral orifice. The external urinary opening is known as the urinary meatus. The urethral orifice is characterized by the difference in the functions and morphologies, which are dependent on the sex of the human. In males the urethra conveys both the urine and the secretions of the reproductive organs, while in women its sole functions is the expulsion of urine. They consist of three main sections; penile, prostatic and membranous. They extend downward from the bladder through the prostate, which then secretes into a thin fluid. However the membranous portion of the urethra obtains the secretion of the bulbourethral glands. Afterwards the urethra then extends down through the main body of the penis to the openings, or meatus, at the tip of the penis. Along the entire length of the urethral passage are mucous glands. The average diameter of the conduit is about 10 mm, but this length varies according to the gender of the patient. The urethral tube in both that of males and females is connected to the bladder.


What is the urethra?

The urethra is the channel of the uro-genital tract that connects the bladder with orifice (meatus) urethral. In the case of the female urethra, the length is between 3 and 4 cm, and is almost rectilinear and connects the bladder with the urethral meatus. Its opening to the outside of the body is located between the clitoris and the vaginal orifice.

In men the urethra is about three times as long as that of the female urethra (10cm or more) and is divided into anterior and posterior urethra. The anterior portion of the urethra, is about 8 cm long, and goes through the scrotum and penis and eventually opens into the external urinary meatus, which is located on the top of the glans. The anterior urethra is surrounded, over its entire length, from the spongy body to a very vascularized tissue which plays a role of primary importance in the erection of the sexual male organ. The rear portion, also known as the prostatic urethra, is about 4 centimeters long and is surrounded by the prostate. In this portion of the urethra the ejaculatory ducts and the prostatic ducts engage the pouring of the sperm.


What function does the urethra serve?

The urethra in women is the last stretch of the urinary tract and its main function is to permit the elimination of the urine that has been accumulated within the body and produced by the kidneys.

In males, as well as allowing the elimination of urine, the urethra also provides for the transport of semen, which is deposited in them by the ejaculatory ducts and prostatic ducts, when engaged. In men the urethra is then, over the last part of the urinary tract and the last portion of the sperm ducts.