What is non-gonococcal urethritis?
NGU (nongonococcal urethritis) is an condition of the urethra caused by pathogens (germs) other than gonorrhea. Several kinds of pathogens can cause NGU, including:
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- Ureaplasma urealyticum
- Trichomonas vaginalis (rare)
- Herpes simplex virus (rare)
- Haemophilus vaginalis
- Mycoplasm genitalium
NGU is most often caused by chlamydia, a common infection in men and women. The diagnosis of NGU is more commonly made in men than women, primarily due to anatomical differences.
How common is non-gonococcal urethritis?
This condition is quite common and can affect both men and women. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of non-gonococcal urethritis?
The common symptoms of non-gonococcal urethritis are:
In Men (urethral infection)
Some common signs and symptoms may manifest:
- Discharge from the penis
- Burning or pain when urinating (peeing)
- Itching, irritation, or tenderness
- Underwear stain
In Women (vaginal/urethral infection)
The germs that cause NGU in men might cause other infections in women. These might include vaginitis or mucopurulent cervicitis (MPC). Women may also be asymptomatic (have no symptoms). Symptoms of NGU in women can include:
- Discharge from the vagina
- Burning or pain when urinating (peeing)
- Abdominal pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding may be an indication that the infection has progressed to Pelvic inflammatory Disease (PID)
Anal or Oral Infections
Anal infection may result in rectal itching, discharge, or pain on defecation. Oral infection may occur. Most (90%) are asymptomatic, but some people might have a sore throat.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes non-gonococcal urethritis?
There are many causes of NGU. This is in part due to the large variety of organisms living in the urinary tract. Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma genitalium are some of the culprits.
The most common bacterial cause of NGU is Chlamydia trachomatis, but it can also be caused by Ureaplasma urealyticum, Haemophilus vaginalis, Mycoplasma genitalium, and E.coli.
Herpes simplex virus (rare), Adenovirus.
Parasitic causes include Trichomonas vaginalis (rare).
Urethritis can be caused by mechanical injury (from a urinary catheter or a cystoscope), or by an irritating chemical (antiseptics or some spermicides).
What increases my risk for non-gonococcal urethritis?
There are many risk factors for non-gonococcal urethritis, such as:
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Vascular disorders
- Alzheimer’s disease
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is non-gonococcal urethritis diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. It has been easy to test for the presence of gonorrhea by viewing a Gram stain of the urethral discharge under a microscope: The causative organism is distinctive in appearance; however, this works only with men because other non-pathogenic gram-negative microbes are present as normal flora of the vagina in women. Thus, one of the major causes of urethritis can be identified (in men) by a simple common test, and the distinction between gonococcal and non-gonococcal urethritis arose for this reason. Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) is diagnosed if a person with urethritis has no signs of gonorrhea bacteria on laboratory tests. The most frequent cause of NGU (23%-55% of cases) is C. trachomatis
How is non-gonococcal urethritis treated?
Treatment is based on the prescription and use of the proper antibiotics depending on the strain of the ureaplasma. Because of its multi-causative nature, initial treatment strategies involve using a broad range antibiotic that is effective against chlamydia (such as doxycycline). It is imperative that both the patient and any sexual contacts be treated. Women infected with the organisms that cause NGU may develop pelvic inflammatory disease. If symptoms persist, follow-up with a urologist may be necessary to identify the cause. According to a study, tinidazole used with doxycycline or azithromycin may cure NGU better than when doxycycline or azithromycin is used alone. If left untreated, complications include epididymitis and infertility. Consistent and correct use of latex condoms during sexual activity greatly reduces the likelihood of infection
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage non-gonococcal urethritis?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with non-gonococcal urethritis:
- Abstinence from sex is the best form of prevention.
- Using latex condoms from start to finish every time you have oral, vaginal or anal sex.
- Having sex with only one uninfected partner whom only has sex with you (mutual monogamy).
- Water-based spermicides can be used along with latex condoms for additional protection during vaginal intercourse. Use of spermicide is not recommended nor found to be effective for oral or anal intercourse.
- Have regular check-ups if you are sexually active.
- If you have an STD, don’t have sex (oral, vaginal, anal) until all partners have been treated.
- Prompt, qualified and appropriate medical intervention, treatment and follow-up are important steps in breaking the disease cycle.
- Know your partner(s). Careful consideration and open communication between partners may protect all partners involved from infection.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Non-gonococcal urethritis. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/ngu/ . Accessed January 17, 2017.
Non-gonococcal urethritis. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Non_specific_urethritis/Pages/Symptomspg.aspx . Accessed January 17, 2017.
Review Date: August 23, 2017 | Last Modified: August 23, 2017