Health A to Z
Complications of non-gonococcal urethritis
Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) can have serious complications, although these are rare.
The most common complication of NGU is persistent or recurrent urethritis. This is when you still have urethritis 1 to 3 months after being treated for NGU. This affects 1 or 2 men in every 10 who are treated for NGU, and can affect women too.
If you still have symptoms two weeks after starting a course of antibiotics, you should return to the genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or sexual health clinic.
Reactive arthritis is an uncommon complication of NGU, estimated to affect less than 1 in 100 people with the condition.
Reactive arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissue for an unknown reason, rather than the bacteria responsible for NGU.
This can cause:
- joint pain
- conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eyes)
- recurring urethritis
Read more about reactive arthritis.
Epididymo-orchitis is a possible complication of NGU in men. It is a combination of epididymitis and orchitis:
- epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis – a long coiled tube in the testicles that helps store and transport sperm
- orchitis is inflammation of the testicles
Epididymo-orchitis affects fewer than 1 in 100 men with NGU.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
In women, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can be a result of NSU if left untreated. PID is a serious condition that can increase the risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
[View original article on NHS Choices website]