Is Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU) an STD?

Unlike most infections which can attack the bodies of either men or women, Nongonococcal Urethritis, or NGU, is an affliction which primarily affects men.


Figuring out whether or not NGU was caused from a sexual partner can be a bit confusing though.

What is Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU)?

Basically, NGU is an infection of the male urethra. So, the unpleasant symptoms can range from a clear discharge or dripping from the penis to burning and pain during urination to itching, tenderness, swollen testicles and irritation. Some men even report seeing visible stains in their underwear or on their sheets when they have NGU.

Men between the ages of 15-30 make up the highest percentage of people who have had NGU. If you have had it before and have been treated for it, this does not make you immune to catching it again. From the time you contract it until the time you are cured, NGU is considered to be contagious. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic for NGU is azithromycin. The CDC recommends men to abstain for sex for 7 days after taking azithromycin to prevent reinfection by passing the NGU back and forth between partners.

If left untreated, NGU can cause a slew of problems ranging from new onset premature ejaculation, pelvic pain and chronic prostatitis. To protect yourself against contracting NGU, it is imperative to use a male condom or female condom as a protective barrier when coming into contact with a partner’s mucous membranes (oral, vaginal and rectal) and to carefully wash the penis after sex.

Signs of Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU)

NGU can easily be transmitted through unprotected sexual activities, including oral sex, and is commonly linked with the bacteria known as chlamydia. The bacteria enters through the urethra of the penis and causes an infection.

On the other hand, there are a slew of other male health issues which can lead to NGU. Some nonsexual ways of contracting NGU are: bacterial infection of the prostate gland, urinary tract infections, a narrowing of the urethral tube, having recently had a catheter inserted and from a tightening of the foreskin known as phimosa (not the same thing as phimosis).

As you can clearly see, the origins of NGU are anything but cut and dry. However, getting a test for chlamydia along with a urinalysis should help you to determine the exact cause of your NGU. Keep this in mind when getting your test results: a lot of people hear the NGU diagnosis and make an assumption about the sound of this infection’s name. Even though the name Nongonococcal shares some similarities with the word gonorrhea, NGU is NOT caused by gonorrheal infections.

About Condom Depot

The Condom Depot Learning Center provides free safer sex ed and has recently been resourced by Men's Health, Go Ask Alice, Her Campus, LifeHacker, Scarleteen, Bustle, Madame Noire, Jezebel, Vice, Stallion Style, aPlus, Sex Talk Tuesday and Adult Sex Ed Month.

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