Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (NGU)

What is Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (NGU)?
What are the signs and symptoms of NGU?
How is NGU diagnosed?
How is NGU treated?
Is there any follow up required following treatment of NGU?
How is NGU prevented?

What is NGU?

Urethritis is the medical term for inflammation of the urethra (urine canal). For treatment purposes, it is usually classified as gonococcal uretheritis caused by gonorrhoea or non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU). In Ireland it is frequently called non-specific urethritis (NSU).

By the end of the third quarter of 2011, up to the end of September, there were 684 cases of NGU/NSU reported in Ireland. The commonest cause of NGU is chlamydia, but the bacteria Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma genitalium are also implicated. Viral causes are rare and include Herpes simplex and Adenovirus. Parasitic causes include trichomonas vaginalis, which is less common in Ireland than gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Non-infectious causes of NGU include irritating chemicals, such as shower gels and douches, spermacides and antiseptics and mechanical injury from a catheter.

What are the signs and symptoms of NGU?

Men may infrequently complain of a discharge from the penis, usually white or cloudy, with burning or pain when urinating, itch or irritation of the penis.

Women may have vaginal discharge or pain urinating, abdominal pain or bleeding between menstrual periods, and occasionally have no symptoms.

How is NGU diagnosed?

NGU is diagnosed when a person with urethritis tests negative for gonorrhoea on laboratory testing.

The commonest cause of NGU is chlamydia (20% – 50%) which is diagnosed in men by urine testing. Because so many other organisms could potentially cause NGU, a routing search is not carried out, and treatment is given based on the fact that it usually responds to certain antibiotics.

How is NGU treated?

NGU is treated with antibiotics.

Is there any follow up required following treatment of NGU?

Unless symptoms persist, follow up of NGU is not required.

How is NGU prevented?

NGU is best prevented by consistent and correct latex male condoms.

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