What is nongonococcal urethritis?

Nongonococcal urethritis (NGU), sometimes called nonspecific urethritis (NSU), is an infection of the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to outside the body). The symptoms of NGU are similar to gonorrhea, but the usual treatments for gonorrhea will not work.

How does nongonococcal urethritis spread?

NGU is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is passed from one person to another by unprotected sexual contact. It can be spread through vaginal sex, oral sex, or anal sex.

What causes nongonococcal urethritis?

NGU is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. There are several other bacteria—including Ureaplasma urealyticum, _Mycoplasma, _and Trichomonas—that can cause symptoms similar to those of NGU.

What are the symptoms of nongonococcal urethritis?

It usually takes one to three weeks after the infection occurs before a man develops any symptoms of NGU. The first symptom is usually a leakage of milky fluid (discharge) from the tip of the penis. The amount of discharge may vary from a little to quite a lot. There also may be mild burning in the penis during urination. If the symptoms are ignored, the discharge may decrease although the infection is still present. Sometimes there are no symptoms.

If the infection is not treated, it may move up around the testicles, causing pain, swelling, and sterility. The infection also may spread to other parts of the body, causing severe illness. A similar infection can occur in females and potentially lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (severe infection in the pelvis and reproductive organs) and sterility.

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