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Non-Specific Urethritis

Symptoms and treatment options for NSU

Non-specific urethritis is a bacterial infection that primarily affects men, though women can also experience it. It’s commonly spread by chlamydia but can also be caused by damage to the urethra through vigorous sexual intercourse. The reason it’s called non-specific urethritis is that the direct cause is unknown.

This infection causes inflammation of the urethra which, if left untreated, can lead to an inflammation of the testicles. With time this can even cause infertility.

Azithromycin Effective short course antibiotic treatment Doxycycline Doxycycline pack Lower risk of side effects than other antibiotics

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What are the symptoms of non-specific urethritis?

Often non-specific urethritis doesn’t present visible symptoms. If it does, they are often so mild that they are overlooked.

Men who have non-specific urethritis may experience a burning sensation when urinating; white cloudy discharge; an increased need to urinate; and a red, raw and sore tip of the penis. Women will only show symptoms once this infection has reached the urethra, womb and fallopian tubes, when they will feel pain and discomfort.

Experiencing symptoms of non-specific urethritis is one of the most common reasons why men go to their local genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic, where they undergo a range of tests to establish the cause of symptoms. In the majority of cases, a sexually transmitted infection will be present.

What causes non-specific urethritis?

Non-specific urethritis is caused by a bacterial infection, though the exact cause isn’t known. This infection is usually caused by bacteria responsible for other STIs; in half of studies chlamydia was found to be the underlying cause of infection. Non-specific urethritis can also be caused by the human papilloma virus, which causes genital warts; the herpes simplex virus, which causes genital herpes; and trichomonas vaginalis, which causes trichomoniasis.

You can develop non-specific urethritis if you have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner.

It’s possible to develop non-specific urethritis without being infected by bacteria. In this case, something causes the urethra to become inflamed, which could be irritation from a product used on the genital area, or damage caused by rigorous sex or by inserting an object into the urethra such as a catheter.

What are the risks of non-specific urethritis?

If you don’t treat non-specific urethritis it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, as well as irregular discharge; lower abdominal pain; vomiting, irregular bleeding between periods and feverish symptoms. Over time, non-specific urethritis can cause a thinning of the fallopian tubes, and even block these tubes or cause ectopic pregnancy.

How can you treat non-specific urethritis?

There are two options when it comes to treating this infection: a five day course (2 x 250mg on day one; 1 x 250mg on days two to five) of Azithromycin, or a lower dose treatment of Doxycycline which is taken twice a day for seven days. Both are effective, but the higher dose of Azithromycin is more likely to cause mild side effects.

It’s vital that you complete the course of antibiotics; if you don’t finish your medication, the infection could remain in your system and attack your body again.

Hilary Jones

"NSU is an infection that can often spread alongside infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. The direct cause is not known, but it can be dangerous if left untreated."

Dr Hilary Jones

HealthExpress Medical Advisor

Finding treatment

You can choose either a course of Azithromycin or Doxycycline to successfully treat this infection. Azithromycin should be taken in a single daily treatment of 500mg x 2 dose. The infection may take up to a week to be fully treated. Doxycycline must be taken twice a day for seven days. Both dosages are effective in treating non-specific urethritis. You should always take the full course of antibiotics, even if your symptoms of non-specific urethritis disappear before you finish the course.

Obtaining treatment from us could not be easier and will take minutes.

Step 1 - Simply complete our online consultation which will be reviewed by one of our registered UK doctors.

Step 2 - They will be able to recommend a range of beneficial treatments. You will receive a diagnosis in a secure email.

Step 3 - If deemed suitable, you will have the access to login, directly to your personalised member's area, from where you will be able to place your order and receive it the next working day.

Taking an online consultation

If you have tested positive for non-specific urethritis, you can buy treatment online from To get started, you need to complete a consultation with one of our registered doctors who will assess your medical history and decide if it’s safe for you to take an STI medication. Once they write a prescription, the medication will be dispensed by our registered pharmacy and will then be sent to your home with free-next day delivery.

Start your order by completing the free no obligation online consultation

Treatments start from as little as €39.95 including free next-day delivery

Start Your Free Online Consultation Now
Available Medication
Gonorrhoea Pack
Warticon (Wartec)
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