Urethra - Definition

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The urethra is a tube linking the bladder to the urinary meatus, the opening through which urine exits the body during urination. In this process, urine is ejected from the bladder out of the body, via the urethra. This body part differs in size and shape between men and women, for obvious anatomical reasons. In men, the urethra performs simultaneous functions of urination and reproduction, as the sperm is also ejected through this tube. It is also longer in men than in women, hence the reason why urinary infections are most commonly localized in the urethra and rarely the bladder in men, as the germs have more difficulty in traveling up this tube. In women, the urethra is shorter, thus facilitating the bacteria's progression up the tube, and explaining the higher incidence of cystitis in women.