This little-known male STI could be to blame if you're experiencing penis discharge and pain when you pee.
What is it?
Non-specific urethritis (NSU) is a common STD found in males. It is thought to be caused by bacteria including chlamydia and ureaplasmas, and rarely by the herpes virus. It is not a very well understood condition, and the exact cause is often never found.
What are the symptoms?
- A slight discharge from the end of the penis, usually clear or greyish
- Sometimes pain or irritation during urination
Tests and treatment
At the clinic, a swab of the discharge is taken and the genital area is examined by a doctor or nurse. Treatment is with a short course of antibiotics, such as erythromycin or tetracycline. Avoid sex and alcohol during the treatment.
Rarely, NSU can flare up again without warning, and a different course of antibiotics is needed. If left untreated, it can lead to boils or abscesses around the scrotum and testicles, inflammation of the prostate gland, or narrowing of the urethra (urine tube inside the penis). If you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection, sort it out straight away. Go to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic, available at most large hospitals. GUM clinics give free and confidential advice and treatment. Or you can make an appointment to see your GP. You reduce your risk of infection by avoiding unsafe sex and using condoms.
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