Non-specific urethritis

Preventing non-gonococcal urethritis

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As most cases of non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) are caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), the best way to protect yourself is to practise safe sex.

Using a condom when you have sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex, can help prevent a sexually transmitted infection (STI) spreading.

Safe sex

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you are having safe sex, such as:

  • Keeping the number of your sexual partners to a minimum. 
  • Using a barrier method of contraception, such as condoms, every time you have vaginal or anal sex. 
  • If you have oral sex, covering the penis with a condom or the female genitals with a latex or plastic square (dam). 
  • Avoid sharing sex toys. If you do share them, make sure you wash them or cover them with a new condom before anyone else uses them.

Read more about how to use condoms.

You and your partner(s) should have regular check-ups for STIs. If you are not in a stable relationship and are sexually active, you should have a check-up every year. You should have tests more often than this if you have unprotected sex with a new partner, or if you notice any symptoms that worry you.

Testing can be done at your GP surgery or at a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or sexual health clinic.

You can use the 'Find services' directory to find sexual health services in your area.

Further help and advice

If you are worried about immediate sexual problems, read about needing help now.

Alternatively, you can call the sexual health direct helpline, which is run by the FPA, on 0845 122 8690. They can give you confidential information and advice on all STI, contraception, sexual wellbeing and pregnancy questions. The sexual health direct helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Leaflets about all STIs can also be downloaded from the FPA website, or read about sexual health for general information.

Other causes

Not all cases of NGU are caused by an STI. It can also be the result of irritation caused by creams, lotions and objects.

To prevent NGU developing in this way, you should avoid putting anything into the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body), and stop using creams that cause discomfort around your genitals.