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Non-gonococcal urethritis – causes, side effects and treatments at

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 by

Urethritis refers to the inflammation of the urethra, the tube that runs from the bladder through the penis (in men) and the labia (in women) that carries urine out of the body.

Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) is a type of urethritis caused by any of several different organisms, except gonorrhea. The most common cause of NGU is a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis, and is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Half of the cases of NGU is caused by chlamydia infection. It is spread almost exclusively through sexual contact. A person can spread NGU from the time they are infected until they are cured.

NGU is sometimes referred to as non-specific urethritis (NSU) when no cause can be found.

Other possible causes of NGU include:

  • Irritation or damage to the urethra
  • Other infections (e.g., UTI)

A non-infective problem could also cause NGU, albeit rarely. This includes:

  • Injury from a thin, flexible tube (e.g., a catheter)
  • Surgery to the tube between the bladder and the urethra
  • A narrowing (stenosis) of the urethra
  • Stones in the urethra
  • Conditions affecting the lining of the urethra (e.g., irritation from soaps, lotions or spermicide cream)

Known symptoms, risk factors for non-gonococcal urethritis

NGU can cause the following symptoms in men:

  • White or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis (drip)
  • Burning or painful sensation when urinating (dysuria)
  • Soreness, irritation or itch inside the penis
  • Wanting to pass urine frequently
  • In a small number of cases, the infection travels to the testes and causes pain and swelling in one or both testicles (epididymitis)

NGU rarely causes any symptoms in women.

Major risk factors include being sexually active under the age of 25 and have had a recent partner change; men who have sex with other men; unprotected vaginal intercourse; and an existing sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Body systems harmed by non-gonococcal urethritis

Serious complications are rare, but may include:

  • Reactive arthritis  – The immune system starts attacking healthy tissue, which can lead to joint pain and conjunctivitis.
  • Epididymo-orchitis  – Inflammation of the testicles.

While women are often asymptomatic, NGU can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if it’s caused by chlamydia and left untreated. PID can cause infertility in women.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent non-gonococcal urethritis

Herbal medicine is a safe way to improve the functioning of your body’s various systems, including the urinary tract.

  • Cranberry extracts may improve the health of your kidneys
  • Green tea possesses strong antioxidants
  • Cat’s claw extract has antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • Uva ursi leaves help combat bacterial infections, and treat bladder and kidney infections and disorders of the prostate gland. Uva ursi is both a urinary tract antiseptic and a diuretic.

Herbal and homeopathic treatments are best used in conjunction with conventional treatment methods for urethritis.

Treatments, management plans for non-gonococcal urethritis

NGU is commonly treated with a short course of antibiotics. Symptoms should clear up after about two weeks.

After treatment has been completed and the symptoms have disappeared, it should be safe to start having sex again.

It’s important that past and current sexual partners are also treated to prevent spreading any infection. There are other ways to prevent the spread of NGU:

  • Limit your number of sex partners
  • Use a condom
  • Carefully wash genitals after intercourse
  • If you suspect infection, avoid any sexual contact and visit your local STD clinic, a hospital or your healthcare provider
  • Notify all sexual contacts immediately so they can obtain examination and treatment

Where to learn more


Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) is a type of urethritis that’s not caused by gonorrhea. The most common cause of NGU is a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis.

NGU is a type of STD.

Sources include:


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