The key difference between male and female urethra anatomy is that the male urethra is longer while the female urethra is shorter in structure. Also, unlike female urethra, the male urethra is a complex structure and has subparts.
In Anatomy, urethra refers to the functional duct, which is responsible for transporting urine from the bladder to the exterior. It is present in both males and females. However, the male urethra is longer in structure since it is responsible for transporting semen as well to the exterior in addition to urine. In contrast, the female urethra is shorter in structure and transports only urine to the exterior. Due to the difference in the anatomical structure of the male and the female urethra, the functional properties of the male and the female urethra also change. Therefore, studying the difference between male and female urethra anatomy is important in urological studies.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Male Urethra Anatomy
3. What is Female Urethra Anatomy
4. Similarities Between Male and Female Urethra Anatomy
5. Side by Side Comparison – Male vs Female Urethra Anatomy in Tabular Form
What is Male Urethra Anatomy?
The male urethra anatomy is totally dependent on the function and structure of the male urethra. Male urethra involves in performing two functions. They are the transport of urine to the exterior and the transport of semen to the exterior. Because of its additional function, the male urethra has a length of 20 cm. Its diameter is about 8 – 9 mm. Furthermore, stratified and transitional columnar epithelia line the urethra . Also, the male urethra has an external sphincter, which functions as a voluntary control. Striated muscle lines this external sphincter.
Moreover, the anatomy of the male urethra contains four parts.
- Pro – prostatic urethra: This is in the length of 0.5 – 1.5 cm and is the intramural part of the male urethra.
- Prostatic urethra: This is the second part that crosses the prostate glands in the male.
- Membranous urethra: The third part, which is the small opening. It is of length 1 – 2 cm. It locates in the deep perineal pouch.
- Spongy urethra: The final part of the urethra that lies along the length of the penis. It is about 15-16 cm in length.
Prostatic plexus supplies the nerve to the male urethra. Thus, this contains both sympathetic and parasympathetic functions. In terms of urethral infections, females are more prone to infections compared to males since female urethra directly exposes to the environment.
What is Female Urethra Anatomy?
Female urethra performs mainly one function, which is the transportation of urine to the exterior. We can explain the female urethra anatomy by its short structure. The length of the female urethra is about 4 cm and the diameter is about 6 mm. It has a shape of a simple tubular structure. Also, the female urethra has no subparts in comparison to male urethra.
Moreover, the female urethra linings are transitional and columnar epithelia. It opens to the exterior in front of the vaginal aperture. Furthermore, the female urethra is not a structurally complicated structure compared to male urethra. Beesides, the development of the female urethra takes place in the 12th gestational week.
What are the Similarities Between Male and Female Urethra Anatomy?
- Male and Female Urethra is used in the excretion of urine to the exterior.
- Hence, they both are a part of the excretory system.
- Also, both connect with the bladder.
- Furthermore, the transitional or columnar epithelia line both urethrae.
What is the Difference Between Male and Female Urethra Anatomy?
Urethra is a tube that connects with the urinary bladder and transports urine to the exterior. However, there is some difference between male and female urethra anatomy. Male urethra is longer and functions for two major activities such as urination and semen transportation. In contrast, female urethra is shorter and functions only to transport urines. This is the key difference between male and female urethra anatomy. Furthermore, due to its functions, the male urethra is a complex structure that has subparts while the female urethra is not a complex structure as well as has no subparts.
The below infographic shows more details on the difference between male and female urethra anatomy.
Summary – Male vs Female Urethra Anatomy
The male and female urethral anatomy give an insight into the structure of the female and male urethra. In males, the urethral anatomy has been designed for the transport of both urine and semen. In contrast, the female urethral anatomy has been designed for the transport of urine only. The key difference between male and female urethra anatomy is the length of the structures. That is, the male urethra is longer in comparison to the female urethra. Furthermore, the male urethra is a much more complex structure than the structure of the female urethra. Hence, this is the difference between male and female urethra anatomy.
1.Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Urethra.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1 Mar. 2016. Available here
2.“The Urethra.” TeachMeAnatomy, 7 Sept. 2018. Available here
1.”Female and Male Urethra”By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. Jun 19, 2013., (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Female anatomy with g-spot-en”By Tsaitgaist – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia