What is Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU) ?
Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU) is an infection of the urethra caused by some organism other than the bacteria that cause gonorrhea. The urethra is the tube running from the bladder through the penis in men or the labia in women through which urine passes. This infection can be caused by any of several different organisms, although the most frequent cause of NGU is Chlamydia trachomitis. NGU is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) spread from one person to another during vaginal or anal sex.
Other organisms that can cause NGU include:
- Ureaplasma urealyticum – a gram negative bacterium that infects the human genital tract
- Trichomonas vaginalis (rare)
- Herpes simplex virus (rare)
- Adenoviruses – common viruses that can cause a number of conditions
- Gardnerella vaginalis – a gram negative bacterium that infects the female genital tract
- Mycoplasm genitalium – a bacterium that infects the mucous membranes of the urethra, cervix, anus and less commonly the throat.
NGU is usually found in men because the organisms that cause this infection are sexually transmitted and the female urethra is seldom infected during intercourse. Men who have multiple sexual partners and are between the ages of 15 and 30 are the most at risk for this infection.
Symptoms of Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU):
Some people never show any symptoms with this condition. Those that do usually develop them within several weeks of infection. They may experience a slight burning or tingling during urination and there may also be a slight, usually clear, discharge from the urethra.
Treatment of Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU):
Nongonococcal urethritis is usually treated with antibiotics that kill the bacteria that caused the infection, regardless of the species involved.
Most people with NGU are prescribed antibiotic tablets or capsules. This may be:
- azithromycin, taken as a single dose
- doxycycline, taken twice a day for seven days
Antibiotics can cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. It can also disturb the normal bacterial flora of the body and in women this can result in yeast infections.
If you have this condition, you should inform sexual partners so they can also be treated. You should refrain from sexual activity until you are treated.
Long Term Effects of NGU:
NGU does not tend to cause any noticeable symptoms in women, but can still affect a woman’s long-term health. The bacteria associated with NGU can trigger the development of more serious pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).