Urethritis is an infection of the Urethra; the tube that carries urine out of the body. When it is not associated with Gonorrhoea Urethritis is often referred to as NGU (Non-Gonococcal-Urethritis). When no cause at all can be traced it is commonly referred to as NSU (Non-Specific-Urethritis).

If you live and/or work in London and you suspect you may have Urethritis, the walk-in service that Broadgate Clinic London Wall provides a fast, efficient and convenient way of being diagnosed and if necessary, treated. As no appointment is necessary, visits to our discrete, sexual health screening services can be fitted into any busy work schedule as and when the opportunity arises.

Urethritis is seldom experienced or diagnosed in women

The symptoms of NSU usually only present themselves in men, and not women. As far as women are concerned there are different names for similar conditions. The standard test for NSU is only possible to administer to male patients. When symptoms do present in women, they are similar to, or could indicate, the presence of Chlamydia or PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). These symptoms include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Bleeding in between periods or after sexual intercourse

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The rest of this web-page is directed specifically at NSU in male subjects.

The common symptoms of NSU in men

A small minority of men with NSU do not display any symptoms. If they do have the disease however, even though it has no symptoms, it can still be passed on to sexual partners through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The most common symptoms of NSU in men include:

  • Acute discomfort when urinating – often described as a burning sensation
  • The tip of the penis becoming inflamed, irritated and sore
  • A discharge (usually described as being white or cloudy) from the tip of the penis
  • A “tickling” sensation in the Urethra
  • A more frequent need to urinate

What causes NSU?               

The name – Non-Specific-Urethritis – is given on the basis that the cause on the Urethritis is unknown. When it is caused by an STI, it is not referred to as NSU. It has been speculated that NSU could be caused by the germs mycoplasma and/or ureaplasma. This is however only speculation and has yet to be proven. In all diagnosed instances of NSU, no germs are detected. Here in the UK approximately 80,000 men per year are diagnosed with NSU.

Although NSU itself is not classed as an STI, it can still be passed on during intimate, sexual activity.

What should you do if you suspect you may have NSU?

The first thing you should do if you suspect you may have developed NSU is to go and see you doctor. Alternatively, if you work in London and making an appointment with an out of town doctor is problematic, you can always use the no appointment, walk-in sexual health screening services that we here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall offer.

If you are worried that you may have contracted NSU you should also cease from taking part in any sexual activity with immediate effect. Even though NSU is not an STI it can still be passed on through sexual activity.

How you will be tested for NSU

The testing for NSU is carried out in 3 quick, simple stages.

  • A brief examination of your genital area (some clinics may not carry out a visual examination)
  • A swab of fluid will be collected from the tip of the penis (this is a painless procedure)
  • You will be asked to provide a urine sample

If you are going to be tested for NSU, it is recommended that you should refrain from urinating for 2 hours prior to your test.

The swab can be analysed under a microscope immediately for signs of infection. The urine sample will be tested at a laboratory, so results can take anything from a few minutes to take few days to be available, depending on the facilities of the clinic where you are tested. If the swab test indicates the presence of inflammation, you may then be invited to be tested for STIs; namely Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. These tests are not compulsory, but it is in your best interests to take them if they’re offered.

What happens if you have a positive diagnosis?

If you diagnose positive for an NSU infection the clinicians will advise you to refrain from any sexual activity and from consuming alcohol until the infection is cured. You will also be advised to communicate the diagnosis to any recent sexual partners.

Here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall we offer a confidential, discrete sexual health advice service if you have any questions, or you feel you might like some professional advice.

How is NSU treated?

This advice relates specifically to Non-Specific-Urethritis. If tests show that you have tested positive for NSU and it has been caused by a Gonorrhoea infection, different treatment will be offered. This can be evaluated from the Gonorrhoea webpage here on this website.

In the vast majority of cases NSU can be treated very effectively with antibiotics, either in tablet or capsule form. The most common antibiotics prescribed are:

  • Azithromycin – self administered in one single dose
  • Doxycylcine – self-administered over 7 days (2 tablets per day)

You will be advised to abstain from any sexual activity until:

  • 7 days after taking Azithromycin
  • Having completed a 7 day course of Doxycycline  

Neither should you indulge in any sexual activity with any partners who may have NSU until they have undergone treatment, in the same timeframes.

Where to get diagnosed and treated for NSU

You can get diagnosed and/or treated for NSU at any GUM or sexual health clinic anywhere in the UK. If however you work on London and time is of the essence, you may prefer to avail yourself of the walk-in, discrete, sexual health screening services of Broadgate clinic London Wall. No appointment is necessary.


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