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Non-specific urethritis

Non-specific urethritis

What is non-specific urethritis?

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra (the tube that caries urine from the bladder).  This can happened for a number of reasons including irritation (such as a reaction to soap) or as a  result of an infection. Doctors use the term non-specific when there is no obvious cause.

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How is non-specific urethritis passed on? 

It can be passed on during unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex where organisms which cause inflammation can pass into the bladder. 
Not all cases of non-specific urethritis are caused by having sex.

To help protect yourself from non-specific urethritis 

  • Use condoms (male or female) every time you have vaginal or anal sex. 
  • If you have oral sex, use a condom to cover the penis, or a latex or dental dam to cover the female genitals or male or female anus. 
  • Avoid sharing sex toys. If you do share them, wash them or cover them with a new condom before anyone else uses them.

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How do I know if I have non-specific urethritis? 

Not all men who have inflammation will show signs and symptoms, or they may be so mild they may go unnoticed.

If you do get signs and symptoms you may notice:

A white or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis, usually more noticeable first thing in the morning.

  • Difficulty, pain or a burning sensation when passing urine.
  • The feeling that you need to pass urine frequently.
  • Itching or irritation at the end of the urethra.

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How is non-specific urethritis treated?

It is treated with antibiotics. 

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Should I tests for non-specific urethritis?

If you think you have an infection don’t delay getting tested.  You can have a test even if you haven’t got symptoms. 

The test may involve a doctor or nurse

  • using a swab to collect a sample of cells from the entrance of the urethra 
  • asking you to give urine sample 
  • examining your penis.

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Where should I get tested?

You can get a test at a range of sexual health clinics (sometimes called GUMs) across Greater Manchester.

Sexual Health testing services in Greater Manchester.

Free and confidential advice and support

Contact a sexual health adviser


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