Preventing non-gonococcal urethritis 

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 safer sex.

Using a condom when you have sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex, can help prevent you getting or passing on an STI.

Safer sex

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

  • keeping the number of sexual partners to a minimum
  • using a barrier method of contraception, such as condoms, every time you have vaginal or anal sex  
  • covering the penis with a condom or the female genitals with a latex or plastic square (dam) if you have oral sex  
  • avoid sharing sex toys; if you do share them, make sure you wash 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 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:

  • Sexual health line on 0300 123 7123 for confidential information and advice on sexual health
  • Worth Talking About on 0300 123 29 30 for advice on contraception, sexual health and relationships (Mon-Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-4pm)
  • Brook on 0808 802 1234 for confidential sexual health information and advice for young people under 25 (Mon-fri 11am-3pm)

You can also read and download leaflets about all STIs 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.

Video: using condoms

When you're about to have sex, how do you persuade your partner that using a condom can still be fun?

Media last reviewed:

Next review due:

Page last reviewed: 02/09/2014

Next review due: 02/09/2016