Skip to main content

Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (NGU)

Non-Gonococcal urethritis (NGU) is an infection of the male urethra. Nongonococcal means it is not caused by gonorrhea. NGU is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection, but it may also be caused by a virus. Antibiotic treatment, when taken exactly as directed, can cure NGU.

For more information on symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention see the Overview section.

Information for Health Professionals

Urethritis is an infection of the male urethra, or the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Nongonococcal means it is not caused by gonorrhea. To find out if you have nongonococcal urethritis (NGU), you must be examined by a doctor or nurse and have lab tests done. 

NGU is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection, but it may also be caused by a virus. One of the causes, chlamydia, can lead to complications in men and women.  


Symptoms in men may include a slight burning feeling when urinating, an itching inside the penis, or a clear to creamy white fluid from the urethra. 

Some men with NGU show no symptoms, or mild symptoms that may be unnoticeable. Usually, the symptoms are seen or experienced more in the morning.  


NGU is often a sexually transmitted infection. It does not require penetration to spread between partners - oral sex or close physical contact may be enough. NGU is usually spread by having unprotected sex with someone who is infected with a bacteria or a virus capable of causing NGU, such as chlamydia.


If not treated, chlamydia can cause pain and swelling in one or both testicles and can result in infertility. As well, the bacteria or virus that causes NGU can cause complications in women.  Therefore, female partners of men diagnosed with NGU also require treatment. 


Diagnosis of NGU requires a medical exam that includes samples taken from the penis. 

If you have different sexual partners, or if your partner has different partners, you should also be tested for other STIs.


The treatment for NGU is antibiotic pills. Carefully follow instructions for taking the pills, and continue to take them until all pills are taken. People you have had sex with, male or female, must also be tested and treated.  


You can reduce your risk of spreading or becoming infected with NGU by practicing safe sex:

  • Use condoms.
  • Avoid sexual contact if you have symptoms of an STI or are being treated for an STI.
  • Avoid sexual contact with anyone who has symptoms of an STI or who may have been exposed to an STI.

Your risk for an STI increases if you have several sex partners.

SOURCE: Non-Gonococcal Urethritis (NGU) ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Centre for Disease Control. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2019 Provincial Health Services Authority.