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Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) is usually treated with a short course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that caused the infection.

The healthcare professionals at the sexual health clinic (also known as a GUM clinic) will arrange your treatment.

If your urethritis is caused by gonorrhoea, this may be treated differently.

Treatment with antibiotics may be started before you receive your test results. Most people with NGU are prescribed antibiotic tablets or capsules.

This may be:

You will not usually need to return to the clinic as long as you've:

  • taken your treatment
  • made sure that any recent partners have been treated
  • not had any sex until a week after everyone has been treated

It may sometimes take 2 or 3 weeks for your symptoms to disappear completely.

Do not have sex, including vaginal, anal and oral sex, until:

  • you've finished your course of doxycycline, or it's been 7 days since you took azithromycin
  • you have no symptoms
  • your partner or partners have also been treated

Side effects

Antibiotics may cause some side effects, such as:

It's possible to pass on NGU during sex, so it's makes sense to treat all cases of NGU as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and ensure all recent partners have been treated.

You also should not have any kind of sex until you're certain the condition has cleared up.

It's recommended that you inform any person you've had sex with in the last 3 months, but this timeframe can vary. The healthcare professionals at the sexual health clinic can advise you.

Some people can feel angry, upset or embarrassed about discussing STIs with their current partner or previous partners.

However, do not be afraid to discuss your concerns with the healthcare professionals at the sexual health clinic. They can advise you about who to contact and the best way to contact them.

With your permission, the clinic can arrange for a "contact slip" to be given to your former partner or partners.

The slip explains that they may have been exposed to an STI and advises them to have a check-up. It does not have your name on it, and your details will remain totally confidential.

Nobody can force you to tell any of your partners about your STI, but it's strongly recommended that you do. Without treatment, STIs such as chlamydia can have serious effects on a person's health, particularly for women.

Complications of untreated chlamydia include:

If you still have the symptoms of non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) after you have finished your course of antibiotics, return to the sexual health clinic.

You may be asked if you took the medicine correctly and whether anyone with untreated NGU could have passed the infection back to you.

You may need further tests to confirm your diagnosis and check for any STIs.

In some cases, you may be given a new prescription for some different antibiotics to treat the NGU.