Non Specific Urethritis

This form of sexually transmitted infection is most commonly found in men, though it can have far reaching consequences for infected women. It is mainly focused around the urethra and bladder, causing some discomfort and abnormal discharge. It can be passed all through most types of sexual contact. In around two in five cases the urethritis occurs as a direct result of Chlamydia. However while Chlamydia is one cause, other less common bacteria found in the mouth or anus can be passed on through oral and anal sex which then develops into a non specific urethritis. It is important to remember that this disorder can often be part and parcel of gonorrhea which offers a much more severe version of the disorder. Therefore, diagnosis and definition is required before treatment begins.

What are the symptoms?

Males may experience a burning sensation during urination, with the tip of the penis also appeared red, raw and sore. White cloudy discharge may also emanate from the penis and the frequency of urination may also be increased. However, the symptoms may not always noticeable as other STIs can occasionally be the cause.

In females there are often no noticeable symptoms, until the infection has reached the urethra womb and fallopian tubes. If this occurs, the patient may experience some very painful symptoms linked to pelvic inflammatory disease and should seek consult a doctor as soon as possible.

What can this lead to?

If passed onto a woman, the infection can lead to serious pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Problems include irregular vaginal discharge, feverish symptoms, vomiting, vaginal bleeding between periods and some rectal, sex and lower abdominal pain. If left untreated PID can lead to the thinning and blockage of the fallopian tubes and in some instances the extremely dangerous scenario of ectopic pregnancy, where the egg begins to develop in the fallopian tube, causing rupture, pain and some internal bleeding. PID can lead to infections of the testicles in males and cervix in females and with both sexes there remains a risk of damage to fertility levels.

How do I diagnose it?

A doctor should always administer the diagnosis. The procedure itself is nearly identical for both men and women. They will usually start by taking a swab from the urethra for any sign of the infection. A urine sample is also taken with both examine under a microscope to identify the source of the infection. Depending on the type of service used in testing, you may get the results any time from hours to weeks later.

How can I treat it?

If the doctor is able to identify the bacteria as the source of the urethritis, antibiotic tablets will be administered. They will usually need to be taken twice daily for around a week. A follow up appointment is then required to check that the disorder has cleared up. If it has not, a combination of antibiotics will be administered to help clear up the problem. It should be noted that in around 1 in every 100 cases, patients have been known to suffer a condition called “Reiter’s Syndrome” whereby the medication instead attacks healthy tissue in the body, leading to join pain, conjunctivitis and some other flu like symptoms.

Where do I go?

Genito-Urinary Medicine clinics are highly recommended for the treatment of non specific urethritis conditions, due to the high frequency of these cases amongst their patients, which makes them experts in both diagnosing and treating the condition. However, your local doctor or a sexual health clinic can also be approached to deal with what is a relatively common disorder, where in some instances symptoms can be mild and pass within a few months.

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