Non-Specific-Urinary Infection (NSU)

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  • What is it? NSU - is a Non-Specific Urinary infection and can be caused by having sex with someone who has the infection, but also by eating spicy foods, drinking to much alcohol. It is an inflammation of the urethra which is the tube inside the penis which passes urine and semen. NSU can be any infection in the urethra except those caused by Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. It is one of the most common STDs in men. Women who have sex with men with NSU are at risk of Chlamydia and this can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can cause infertility.
  • Symptoms: As the name suggests, the symptom of NSU is an inflamed urethra. Often there are no immediate symptoms if NSU is contracted through sexual intercourse. Then the symptoms appear two to four weeks after. The incubation period can be as long as 12 weeks. The first noticeable symptom in men is a tingling or burning at the tip of the penis, often in the morning. The pain can become severe and is usually followed by a discharge which is clear at first but can turn yellowish without treatment. The only symptoms in some are spots in the underwear or dampness under the foreskin. Left untreated the infection can spread to the prostate gland and testicles. In women NSU usually causes no symptoms, but some develop a vaginal discharge or burning with urination.
  • Transmission: NSU can be caused by several things. A common source of NSU is Chlamydia, so unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex could be a cause. Energetic sex or enthusiastic masturbation might also inflame the urethra, as may riding a bicycle for long periods or not drinking enough fluids. Drinking excess alcohol and rarer but treatable bacteria have also been implicated as a cause.
  • Treatment: To test for NSU doctor or trained nurse may carry out a physical examination of the genital area and take a swab sample from the urethra and study it under a microscope. If the doctor suspects the inflammation might be caused by Chlamydia then an effective course of antibiotics will be prescribed. If a test is returned as negative for Chlamydia the antibiotics are normally taken as a precaution to treat the rarer bacteria which may be a cause of the condition.
    In most clinics the result is available at the time of the first visit usually within an hour. NSU responds well to antibiotic treatment however, the condition may take longer to cure in certain people and recur in others. A 10-21 day course of antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline (which can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight) is the recognised treatment and one in five patients may need more than one course of medication. The condition is usually cleared after 10 to 14 days but it is vital to complete any course of antibiotics. Men are usually the first to seek treatment but it is important their partners are treated with antibiotics and tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. Sexual intercourse and masturbation must be avoided until the condition is cured.
  • Post Treatment: NSU may reappear, but rarely. The penis should not be squeezed to look for discharge because this will only irritate the condition. The symptoms are likely to disappear within two weeks after treatment. Some men continue to experience mild discomfort when urinating after treatment. Men with recurrent urethritis should be retreated with antibiotics if they failed to complete the first course. Also those who continue to have sexual intercourse or masturbate throughout the treatment may need a further course of antibiotics. Untreated men may develop epididymitis which causes inflammation of the tubes carrying sperm from the testicles (the epididimis) just next to the scrotum, chronic urethral irritation or chronic testicular discomfort. Serious complications can lead to reduced fertility. Click here for a list of agencies you can contact should you require further information or help.


If there are any health workers that could help us keep our pages updated please mail us as we are very aware that new research and information is constantly being published on NSU. Your help would be much appreciated.

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