OBJECTIVE: To estimate the incidence of urethritis in men in Dutch general practice, the applied diagnostic procedures in relation to existing guidelines, and the underlying causes.
METHOD: The incidence of urethritis in the period 1998-2007 was calculated from data received from 45 GP sentinel stations. The network of participating general practices is nationally representative of age, sex and geographical distribution, and of distribution between town and countryside. From 2004 to 2007 additional questionnaires for each patient were filled in by the general practitioner, and were analysed for applied diagnostics and final diagnosis.
RESULTS: From 1998-2003 the incidence of urethritis increased from 17 to 25 per 10,000 men and decreased to 20 per 10,000 men in 2007. The highest incidence of urethritis was found in urban areas and in the 15-34 years age group. Penile discharge was reported in 82% of the men for whom a questionnaire was filled out. In 10% of the men without discharge the first voided urine sediment was assessed for the presence of leucocytes. Diagnostic tests were generally carried out on urethral smears and sometimes on urine samples. 10.5% of the men were not tested. In 76% of men both gonorrhoea and Chlamydia were tested and found to be positive in 11% and 28% respectively. The remaining cases (62%) were defined as non-specific urethritis, in which in the majority no microbiological pathogen was identified. Urethritis was more often caused by gonorrhoea and/or Chlamydia in younger men, while it was more often diagnosed as non-specific urethritis in older men.
CONCLUSION: One third of men with urethritis who underwent laboratory tests had a Chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection. In the majority of cases no pathogen was identified. Compliance with the diagnostic guidelines for urethritis may be improved by more frequent testing of first voided urine samples.
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|