Male Urethra vs. Female Urethra: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

The male urethra is larger in length than female urethra and has differentiated into four parts while female urethra has no differentiation.

Comparison Chart

Male Urethra Female Urethra
Length Its length is about 20 cm It is almost 4 cm in length
Diameter 8-9 mm 6 mm
Parts It has four parts; pre-prostatic region; prostatic region, membranous and penial. It has no specific regions.
Opening It opens at the top of the penis by the urinogenital aperture. It opens in front of the vaginal aperture by the urinary aperture.
Role It transports urine as well as semen to the exterior. It transports only urine to the exterior.
Common Diseases Kidney stones Urethritis and kidney stones
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What is Male Urethra?

Word “urethra” has derived from the Greek language. It is a tube in placental mammals that connects the urinary bladder to the urinary meatus for the removal of fluids specifically urine from the body to the external world. Males use their urethra for two purposes, urination and ejaculation. The external sphincter of male urethra is a striated muscle that allows voluntary control over urination and this additional internal urethral sphincter muscle is present only in males. Semen travels through the urethra during intercourse in males. The urethra connects the bladder, the collection site for urine to the outside world. In males, the urethra is 8 inches long and divides into four parts. First part is pre-prostatic urethra which is intramural part of this organ and about 0.5 to 1.5 cm in length depending on the fullness of the bladder. Its second part is prostatic urethra which crosses through the prostate gland. There are several openings; the ejaculatory duct gets sperms from the vas deferens and ejaculates fluid from the seminal vesicle; several prostatic ducts where fluid from the prostate enters and contributes to the ejaculate; the prostatic utricle, which is merely an indentation. All these openings are called verumontanum collectively. The third part of the male urethra is membranous urethra which is a small portion passing through the external urethral sphincter and almost 1 to 2 cm in length. This is the smallest in diameter part of the urethra. It is present in the deep perineal pouch. The bulbourethral glands and found posterior to this region but open in the spongy urethra. Its fourth part is spongy urethra which runs along the length of the penis on its ventral surface. It is almost 15 to 16 cm in length and travels through the corpus spongiosun. The duct from the urethral gland enters here. The opening parts of the bulbourethral glands are also located here. Path of urine getting from bladder to the external world is more curving which makes a characterization of males harder than females.

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What is Female Urethra?

The female urethra is the part of the female urinary system. It has developed from the endoderm and the splanchnic mesoderm of the urogenital sinus. The paramesonephretic tubercle divides the urogenital sinus into pelvic which will later become a vesicourethral unit and a phallic portion which later becomes a vagina. Female urethra develops in the 12th gestational week. The female urethra is relatively a simple tubular structure that has the only purpose of urination. It is a short organ without complex investing structure. It is a richly vascular spongy cylinder and is designed to provide continence. Although female urethra less prone to intrinsic pathology as compared to male urethra but infection can be started because of its short length. Urethritis is common inflammation of the urethra.  It also causes painful urination. Urethritis can also be caused by viral and bacterial infections. Its symptoms are urgent urination and pus like excretions and discharges. Treatment of urethritis depends on the exact causes and symptoms but mostly involve different types of medicines. Kidney stones is another disease that strikes female urethra.

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Male Urethra vs. Female Urethra

  • Male urethra is longer than female urethra in length
  • Both are important parts of body useful for excretion.
  • In females, the path which urine takes getting from the bladder to the external world is more direct.
  • In males, the path which urine takes getting from the bladder to the external world is more curving.

Explanatory Video

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