Non-Specific Urethritis


200X Magnification of Chlamydia Trachomatis inclusion bodies (stained brown)

Non-specific urethritis (NSU) is also known as Chlamydial urethritis and non-Gonococcal urethritis (NGU), and is a sexually transmitted disease that is carried by women and infects men.

Most (but not all) cases of Non-Specific Urethritis (NSU) are caused by a Chlamydial infection, while unidentified bacteria are responsible for the other cases. Chlamydiae are a group of organisms that are not bacteria, but act as parasites inside human cells and eventually destroy the cell. They are spread by passing from a man to his female sexual partners, where it remains in the vagina to infect the woman’s next sex partner. In homosexuals, the infection may occur around the anus.

Chlamydiae may be identified by specific blood and swab tests, but they are not always reliable, and a negative test does not mean that the infection is not present.

Men have a white discharge from the penis, painful passing of urine, but rarely other symptoms, although sometimes the infection may spread from the penis up into the testes or prostate gland. In women there are usually no symptoms, but sometimes the infection may spread to cause salpingitis (infection of the Fallopian tubes).

Antibiotics such as tetracyclines and erythromycins are used very successfully in treatment, and all sexual contacts should be treated when the infection is discovered.

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