What Is the Urethral Meatus?

The urethral meatus is the opening through which vertebrates pass urine and semen. In males, the urethral meatus is located at the tip of the penis, while in females the urethral meatus is located in the folds of the labia. Occasionally, the urethral meatus can become damaged, injured or swollen, causing problems for the animal.

While the male urinary or urethral meatus carries both urine and semen, the female urinary meatus only carries urine. Sometimes, the opening forms in a problematic area, such as the bottom of the glans penis. This condition is called hypospadias, while the opposite condition, in which the meatus is located on the bottom of the glans penis, is called epispadias. Some males experience urethral damage during circumcision. If scar tissue forms near the meatus, it can become inflamed by clothing or diapers.

There is actually a meatus at both ends of the urethra. The interior urinary meatus occurs where the bladder joins the urethra, while the exterior urinary meatus forms the external opening.

The term “meatus” means a natural body opening or canal. The human body has a number of different meatuses, including the internal and external auditory meatuses as well as the meatuses of the nose.