Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (abbreviated NGU) is an infection of the urethra (the tube that connects the opening of the urinary tract with the bladder) by bacteria other than gonorrhea. There are, in fact, many bacteria that can cause NGU. NGU is really a blanket term for many types of STDs that all cause the same symptoms.
NGU is more commonly diagnosed in men than in women due to anatomical differences between men and women. The symptoms of NGU include one or more of the following: burning when urinating, discharge from the penis, itching of the penis, abdominal pain.
While NGU is most commonly caused by a sexually transmitted infection, there are other ways that the disease can be caused, including male urinary tract infections (when bacteria get into the body through the opening in the penis), inflammation of the prostate gland, and foreskin problems. Catheters inserted into the bladder from outside the body so that the bladder can drain (a frequent occurrence for some hospitalized patients) can also lead to NGU.
NGU is typically treated with antibiotics. Treatment for NGU is important, as untreated NGU can lead to epidiymitis (which is inflammation of a cord in the testes) which can make a man sterile. Reiter’s syndrome (in which NGU leads to painful joints) is another serious complication.
Like other bacterially transmitted STDs, NGU can be prevented through the use of good sexual hygiene: limited sexual partners or abstinence and proper use of barrier method contraception. Men diagnosed with NGU should inform recent sexual partners so that they can be examined and treated if necessary.