what is the difference between male and female urethra?
Both the male and female reproductive systems have urethra. The core function of urethra is to pass urine from the bladder to the external opening in the perineum. However, male urethra and female urethra tend to have some slight differences.
The core difference between male and female urethra is that the male urethra belongs to both the reproductive and urinary system while the female urethra belongs to the urinary system alone.
What Is Male Urethra?
The male urethra is an organ where both urine and semen pass through in men. The tube originates from the bladder and opens to the outside of the penis tip.
The organ also serves the purpose of semen passage during ejaculation and this is the reason behind being part of the male reproductive system.
The main parts of the male urethra are the pre-prostatic urethra, prostatic urethra, membranous urethra, and penile urethra.
Penile urethra runs through the penis while prostatic urethra runs through the prostate gland. The pre-prostatic urethra runs through the front of the prostate.
What Is Female Urethra?
The female urethra is the canal through which urine passes from the bladder to the outside of the women’s body. The female urethra is generally shorter than those of men.
The opening of female urethra occurs between the clitoris and the vagina. The female urethra is termed as a urinary system due to its core function.
The short size of the female urethra makes it be highly susceptible to bacterial infection. The bacterial infection can spread to the bladder and it is recommended to be cautious.
Comparison Chart: Male Vs Female Urethra
|Basic Terms||Male Urethra||Female Urethra|
|Meaning||It is a canal through which urine and semen pass through in males||It is the canal through which urine passes through in females|
|Length||Measure about 20 cm||Measure about 4 cm|
|Diameter||About 8-9 mm||About 6mm|
|Opening||Open to the outside at the tip of the penis||Open to the outside between the clitoris and vagina|
|Belong to||Reproductive and urinary system||Only the urinary system|
|Significance||The passage of both semen during ejaculation and urine||Passage of urine|
|Sphincter||Control the movement of urine and semen||Control the flow of urine|
|Path||Tend to be curvy||Tend to be straight|
|Catheterization||Tend to be difficult due to curvy nature||Tend to be quite easy|
|Bacterial Infections||Less common||Quite common|
|Passing of Kidney Stones||The long length makes it susceptible to kidney stones||Less affected by kidney stones|
|Regions||It has four parts such as the pre-prostatic urethra, prostatic urethra, membranous urethra, and penile urethra.||It is not differentiated|
|Nerves||Has both sympathetic, parasympathetic and visceral afferent fibers||Has the pelvic splanchnic nerve|
Core Difference between Male and Female Urethra
- The male urethra is the canal that allows movement of both urine and semen while female urethra allows passage of urine alone.
- The male urethra is part of both reproductive and urinary system while female urethra is part of the urinary system
- The male urethra is longer than female urethra
- Male urethra has an opening diameter of about 8-9 mm while female urethra has a diameter of about 6cm
- The male urethra is responsible for the passage of urine and semen during ejaculation while female urethra for the passage of urine
- The male urethra has sphincter which controls the passage of urine and semen while female urethra has sphincter which controls urine passage
- The male urethra is not prone to bacterial infection while female urethra is prone to bacterial infection
- The length of male urethra makes it susceptible to kidney stones while female urethra is not susceptible to kidney stones
- The curvy nature of male urethra makes it difficult for catheterization which is common in female urethra.
- The male urethra is differentiated into the pre-prostatic urethra, prostatic urethra, membranous urethra, and penile urethra while female urethra is not differentiated
- The path of the male urethra is curvy while that of the female urethra is straight
- Male urethra has nerve supply such as sympathetic, parasympathetic and visceral afferent fibers while for female urethra is pelvic splanchnic nerve
Read More: Difference between Sperm and Semen
Similarities between Male and Female Urethra
- Both are the final part of the urinary system
- Both originate from the bladder
- Both are the passage of urine out of the body
- Both have transitional epithelium in the lining
Both the male and female urethra systems are vital structures in the urinary system. However, the male urethra also allows the passage of semen during ejaculation. Another core difference between male and female urethra is male urethra is longer while female urethra is shorter.