Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU)

Nongonococcal urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra most commonly caused by bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. NGU can also be caused by other bacterium that may include Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma genitalium. Very rarely NGU may also be caused by herpes and Trichomonas vaginalis.


Nongonococcal urethritis is mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual contact and these include oral sex, vaginal sex or anal sex. NGU occurs mostly in men because the male urethra is more susceptible to bacterium infection whereas the female urethra does not get infected easily with the bacterium.

This evidence indicates women are able to harbor the bacterium without infection and unknowingly transmit the bacterium to men through unprotected sexual contact. Pregnant women infected with NGU can also transmit the infection to the newborn during childbirth.


The symptoms may appear within 1 to 21 days after infection or it may not show up at all. The most common symptoms in men with Nongonococcal urethritis include discharge from the penis (clear to white in color), mild burning during urination, itching and irritation of the penis, and frequent need to urinate.

The symptoms may disappear after two or three months without treatment but the disease can still be present in the body. If the infection is left untreated it may spread up and infect the prostate gland or it may spread down and infect the epididymis causing swelling testicles or it may lead to permanent sterility.

Women with Nongonococcal urethritis are less likely to experience any type of symptoms. When symptoms do occur women may experience itching, burning during urination, discharge from vagina, and frequent need to urinate.

Women are usually aren’t aware of the disease until her male partner is diagnosed with the infection. If the infection is left untreated it may spread up and infect the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries which can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The symptoms of PID may include fever, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, painful urination, and pain during intercourse. When PID is left untreated can lead to infertility and sterility.

Other Symptoms

Very rarely the infection may spread to other part of the body and cause different type of illness. New born infant have high risk of developing eye infection from infected mother during childbirth. The bacterium can also be transmitted to the throat from oral sex that usually cause sore throat but most people experience no symptoms. Anal infection may also occur from unprotected anal sex and the symptoms may include anal itching, rectal discharge, bleeding, and painful bowel movements.


Proper diagnosis is required to detect the presence of NGU if you believed you may be infected. NGU can be treated with a single dose of azithromycin or doxycyline taken for seven days. NGU can also be treated with erythromycin and ofloxacin. Pregnant women are usually treated with erythromycin and azithromycin.

Individual diagnosed with NGU should be treated completely before engaging in sexual activity. All the individuals’ sexual partners should also be diagnosed and treated completely before engaging in sexual activity to avoid serious complication and to prevent re-infection or infecting others unknowingly.

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