Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra (the passage in the penis that urine and semen pass through). It can be specific or non-specific caused by gonorrhoea or chlamydia respectively. NSU one of the most common STDs can be acquired through vaginal sex or, less commonly, through anal or oral sex with men or women. It can also be contracted with out sexual contact. NSU can be caused by a number of different micro-organisms, one of them is Chlamydia trachomatis which is responsible for around 50% of the infections. It is commonly found in the rectum, urethra, conjunctiva of the eye, vagina, cervix and mouth.
• White, clear or yellowish discharge from the penis
• Stinging or burning sensation during urination
• Itching, tingling, burning or irritation inside the penis.
• Pain or swelling in the testicles in advanced infections.
If nonspecific urethritis is left untreated, it can cause complications. It can spread to the bladder which will cause pain during urinating and perhaps some bleeding. It may also spread to the testicles and cause infection or inflammation which will result in pain, swelling and tenderness of the testicles and/or rectum. If NSU spreads to the prostate there will be pain in the groin. Less commonly there may be conjunctivitis or pain and inflammation in the joints. In extreme cases it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women and infertility in both men and women.
A sample of the discharge is taken to detect the micro-organism present. The sample is then examined in the laboratory for signs of infection. Samples should be taken 3 or 4 hours after you last passed urine. Although NSU does not cause symptoms in women, female partners of men with NSU may need to be examined.
The infection is treated with tetracycline or alternative antibiotics if allergies are a concern until the infection is clear. It is completely curable but symptoms can reoccur and may require further treatment.
It is better not to have sex until all results of your tests are back and you have finished taking all the tablets. Antibiotics treatment should be given to sexual partners, even if they do not show symptoms and barrier methods of contraception should be used to prevent re-infection.
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