Non-gonococcal urethritis : Symptoms

Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) can cause different symptoms in men and women. In some cases, NGU does not cause any symptoms at all.


Symptoms of NGU in men

The symptoms of NGU in men can include:

  • a white or cloudy discharge from the tip of your penis
  • a burning or painful sensation when you pee
  • the tip of your penis feeling irritated and sore

Depending on the cause of NGU, symptoms may begin a few weeks or several months after an infection.

If NGU has a non-infectious cause, such as irritation or damage to the urethra, symptoms may begin after a couple of days.

Symptoms that start a day or 2 after sex are not usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but testing for STIs is still recommended.

Read about the causes of NGU.

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Symptoms of NGU in women

NGU usually causes no noticeable symptoms in women.

However, the infections that cause NGU in men can spread to other parts of the female reproductive system – for example, the womb or fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the womb.

If the infection does spread, a woman may develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

PID is a serious health condition that can cause persistent pain. Repeated episodes of PID are associated with an increased risk of infertility.

Some women with PID do not have symptoms. If there are symptoms, they include: 

  • pain around the pelvis or lower part of your stomach (abdomen)
  • discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse that is felt deep inside the pelvis
  • bleeding between periods and after sex
  • pain when you urinate
  • heavy or painful periods
  • unusual vaginal discharge – especially if it is yellow or green

A few women with PID become very ill with:

  • severe lower abdominal pain
  • high temperature
  • feeling and being sick

Visit a GP or a sexual health clinic if you think you may have PID.

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