Sexually Transmitted Infections.
What is NSU? (Non Specific Urethritis)
Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra, the tube that carries urine (pee) from the bladder out of the body. It's usually caused by an infection, most often sexually transmitted.
The term non-specific urethritis (NSU) is used when standard tests for STI's such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea are negative and no cause can be found. NSU affects men and is treated as a sexually transmitted infection.
What are the symptoms?
- Pain or burning when passing urine (peeing)
- A white or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
- Irritation at the tip or opening of the penis
What is it caused by?
NSU can be caused by a number of bacteria or germs for which there are no available tests. Very rarely it can result from friction during sex, an allergy or chemicals and other irritants.
How do you get tested for NSU?
By taking a sample of fluid from the tip of the penis using a tiny plastic loop. This should not be painful. It is best if you have not passed urine for at least 2 hours before this test.
How is it treated?
It is treated with a course of antibiotics. You can get these from a Sexual Health clinic.
It is important that your sexual partner is tested for STI's and they will usually be given the same antibiotic treatment as you even if they have no symptoms.
You should avoid having sex, including oral and anal, until you and your partner have finished treatment and your symptoms have settled.
It may take a week for your symptoms to settle after treatment. If your symptoms do not settle then you should return to your sexual health clinic.
What happens if it’s not treated?
If left untreated the infection could spread to the testicles causing pain and swelling (a condition called epididymo-orchitis). Very rarely this may affect fertility.
You can get NSU again. To prevent this make sure that your partner is treated before having sex with them again and protect yourself with new partners by practising safer sex as explained below.
You cannot tell by looking at someone if they have a sexually transmitted infection, so if you are having sex (oral, anal or vaginal) the only way to make sure you are not putting yourself at risk is to practise safer sex.
- Always using condoms or femidoms (female condom inserted within the vagina) for vaginal sex.
- Always using condoms with water based lube for anal sex. Do not use condoms with spermicide if you are having anal sex.
- Always using flavoured condoms or dental dams (a latex shield that covers the mouth) when having oral sex.
- Trying non-penetrative sex like massage or mutual masturbation.
- Not sharing sex toys. If you do share sex toys, wash them or cover them with a new condom between each person who uses them.
Condoms / Femidoms also protect you from other STIs including HIV. Always check the packaging for the British Standard kitemark or European product mark as well as the date of expiry.
Free condoms are available throughout Dumfries & Galloway. See the Clinic List.
Testing and treatment is available from:
If you wish to be seen or are seeking sexual health advice:
Mon - Fri 9.00am - 4.00pm