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Non-Specific Urethritis

Inflammation of the Urethra

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Updated December 27, 2006

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Non-specific urethritis (NSU), refers to inflammation of the urethra (the tube through which urine passes).

How is Non-specific urethritis (NSU) contracted?
In most cases it is a sexually transmitted disease that is passed on from an infected person during anal, oral or vaginal sex.The incubation period is highly variable but is thought to be between one week and one month. Very rarely non-specific urethritis can be caused by excessive friction during masturbation or sexual intercourse or an allergic reaction to soap or detergents or even excessive alcohol intake.

Time between infection and symptoms of NSU
Symptoms can happen at the time of infection or many months later. As symptoms can be very mild symptoms may be ignored. Up to 50% of men have no symptoms at all. Non-specific urethritis can also occur many years into a relationship.

Signs symptoms Non-Specific urethritis

  • Pain or a burning sensation when you pass urine.

  • A white or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis, especially noticeable first thing in the morning.
  • Frequently feeling you need to pass urine.
  • Diagnosis for NSU
    If you have symptoms, have been in sexual contact with someone who has been diagnosed with non-specific urethritis, or feel you need a general sexual health check-up then the tests are simple. A swab taken from the tip of the penis and or a urine test will look for evidence of infection. None of the tests are painful and the results are often available immediately.

    Treatment for Non-specific urethritis
    Treatment is with antibiotics. A seven day course or single dose type antibiotic can be prescribed. It is important to take the full course of medication. Tell you doctor if you are allergic to any antibiotics. Symptoms may persist for a few days after taking the single dose antibiotic.

    How can I prevent giving NSU to my sexual partner?
    You should not have penetrative sex (where the penis enters the vagina, mouth or anus) at all. Get a follow-up check to make sure you are clear of infection before you have penetrative sex. You should accompany your sexual partner for a medical consultation.

    Follow-up for NSU Non-specific urethritis
    It is advisable if you are sexually active to have regular sexual health check-ups.Using a condom for vaginal, anal or oral sex is an important way to avoid passing on sexually transmitted diseases. ComplicationsIf you do not treat NSU it can cause reduced fertility. Untreated, Reiters syndrome may occur the features of which are inflammation of the joints, eyes, urethra, sometimes with sores on the penis or soles of the feet. Inflammation of the testicles may also occur. It can also increase the chances of passing on HIV infection as breaks in the mucous membrane (the barriers) of the urethra increase the HIV cells in that area.

    Can reinfection with NSU recur?
    Yes, non-specific urethritis can recur. You build up no immunity to this sexually transmitted disease.

    03/21/2006

    More About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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