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Nonspecific Urethritis (NSU) & Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (NGU)

Nov 6, 1998

I have had what the doctors call a non-specific urithritis for about two months. Tests for both clamydia and gonorrhea have come back negative, though I still suffer from symptoms similar to those produced by these diseases. Two doses of antibiotics have not relieved the problem. My partner does not show any symptoms. Now I'm wondering if I suffer from a disease or something else that's not contagious.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

Nonspecific Urethritis (NSU), and Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (NGU) are generic terms, generally referring to inflammation of the urethra due to causes other than gonorrhea. Symptoms can include a burning sensation when you pee (painful urination), and sometimes a discharge. Chlamydia is the most common cause of NSU/NGU. If a person has urethritis, doing laboratory tests for both chlamydia and gonorrhea are very important to determine which of these bacterial infections are the cause, and which antibiotics to use for treatment. If laboratory tests rule out both chlamydia and gonorrhea, there are some other possible causes of NSU/NGU. In approximately 10-30% of these cases, NSU/NGU is caused by either Ureaplasma or Mycoplasma. On very rare occasions, Trichomonas or Herpes Simplex may be the cause.

Treatments for NSU/NGU generally involve giving broad spectrum antibiotics that are effective against both chlamydia and gonorrhea. If these antibiotics are taken exactly as prescribed but are still ineffective, other medications may be used, including those capable of treating a suspected Ureaplasma, Mycoplasma, or Trichomonas infection. Since these infections are sexually transmitted, treatment of all of your sexual partners at the same time is very important, whether they are showing symptoms or not. You should not have unprotected sex with anyone until your symptoms have gone away, and you have completed your antibiotic therapy. In addition, you should not have unprotected sex with any of your sexual partners, until all of them have completed antibiotic therapy as well.

If your symptoms continue despite antibiotic therapy, please talk to your doctor regarding changing your treatments, or being referred to a specialist.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

Ureaplasma and Mycoplasma
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