Prognosis of Non-Specific Urethritis


Non-Specific Urethritis Treatment

NSU (non-specific urethritis) is a condition that has become a bigger concern in the UK in recent years alongside the spread of sexually transmitted infections, one of the more common causes of NSU. NSU’s symptoms can be particularly unpleasant for men, how will experience pain while urination and an increase in their need to do so. While women don’t often experience any overt symptoms of the condition, NSU can become a more serious and complex condition affecting the reproductive tract if left untreated.

In this article we look at the prognosis of non-specific urethritis both without and with treatment.

Prognosis of NSU without treatment

The prognosis of NSU without treatment varies depending on gender. Men who don’t receive treatment from the infection will have to put up with the symptoms for some time, but in most cases will resolve over time. In cases where the NSU is actually a consequence of an underlying sexually transmitted infection it is important to seek treatment where possible to prevent the further spread of the STI or complicating effects of the infection.

Women who don’t receive treatment for their NSU can often suffer the progression of NSU to PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease. This is a more serious condition which involves the spread of non-specific urethritis to other structures of the female reproductive tract like the womb. PID can have more serious consequences and needs to be treated quickly. In the long term PID can increases the risk of infertility and a pregnancy complication where an embryo implants somewhere that isn’t the uterus (referred to as ectopic pregnancy).

If left untreated NSU in both men and women can result in a condition called persistent urethritis, where there NSU seemingly resolves and then recurs. Recurring NSU can occur after receiving treatment for the condition as well, and is thought to affect about 20% of male NSU sufferers and a  number of women as well.

Prognosis of NSU after treatment

NSU is very effectively treated with antibiotics, antibacterial drugs which attack the bacteria most often responsible for urethritis. The drugs are also administered in cases where urethritis is a consequence of injury as there is sometimes an infectious component in these instances as well.

It is important to follow the instructions provided with any course of antibiotics. The two most often applied to NSU are a seven day course of doxycycline (with two doses a day), or the substantially simpler single dose required for azithromycin. If the instructions are followed then the prognosis for NSU is very good, with symptoms resolving within 2-3 weeks. If symptoms don’t clear up then it may become necessary to seek further treatment and testing, and you should speak to a specialist at either a sexual health clinic or a genitourinary medicine clinic. In some cases alternative antibiotics may be prescribed, and most of the time some further testing for STIs will be performed.


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