Doctor, it burns when I pee! How often have we dreaded saying that to our physician or heard it as part of a joke? Urethritis is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact many of the causes are simple infections that can be cured with a round of antibiotics! Further on I will examine many facts to help familiarize you with this condition.
- What is Non-Gonococcal Urethritis? Simply put, it is an inflammation of the Urethra that is NOT caused by Gonorrhea. The distinction arose from the testing method since it is very easy to test for gonorrhea in men. Unfortunately this simple test is useless since the test is tripped by normal flora living in the vagina.
- It can be caused by bacteria, the most common being Chlamydia Trachomatis. Some of the other culprits are Ureplasma Urealyticum, Haemophilis Vaginalis, and Mycoplasma Genitalium.
- It can be caused by a virus. More common it is caused by Adenvirus but rarely is it also caused by the Herpes Simplex virus.
- It can be caused by a parasite. This is rare, but it can be caused by Trichomonas Vaginalis which just happens to be the most common parasite infections in industrialized countries.
- It can be caused by other sources. Usually these cases are from a mechanical injury from using a urinary catheter or by using irritating chemicals such as certain antiseptics and spermicides.
- What are the symptoms of Urethritis? The biggest is the painful sensation during urination, or dysuria as it is known. The next obvious is a white or cloudy discharge during urination. On top of that is the urge to urinate more frequently than is the norm. These symptoms can present differently based on one’s gender as well.
- In men the discharge occurs at the penis. There is also the painful burning sensation during urination, itching and irritation, and tenderness. It can also lead to Epididymitis which can cause acute testicular pain.
- In women the discharge occurs at the vagina. Along with the burning sensation during urination there are also anal or oral infections, abdominal pain, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. In many cases the last symptom indicates that the female patient has progressed into Pelvic Inflammatory disease which creates scar tissue in the reproductive areas and leads to infertility.
- The treatments for NGU vary depending on the specific cause. In most cases an antibiotic such as doxycycline will be administered. This is because of its effectiveness against chlamydia which is one of the more common causes of NGU. The use of latex condoms drastically decrease the chance of NGU occurring.
Hopefully by now you’ve realized that NGU is quite treatable so long as you see your physician in a timely manner. You not only prevent the spread to any sexual partners but more importantly you eliminate a manner in which women can become sterile! That’s right; Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is known to cause sterility in women. So let this be a lesson to you: if it hurts when you pee please go see your doctor!