Once you start taking antibiotics, infectious urethritis improves rapidly. Without treatment, the symptoms of gonococcal and nongonococcal urethritis usually go away within three months. However, people continue to remain infectious, and spread the bacteria to others even when they have no symptoms. Untreated infections can spread from the cervix to the fallopian tubes in women, where they can cause permanent scarring and infertility.
Urethritis caused by injury or chemical irritation goes away without treatment once the cause is identified and avoided.