Men may experience a penile discharge for several reasons. While this can be alarming, it isn’t always a sign of an STI. Penile discharge that isn’t caused by pre-ejaculate or ejaculate is considered abnormal and should be checked.
Discharge from the penis can include smegma, which is a thick fluid that builds up around the head of the penis and acts as a natural lubricant.
The urethra is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the opening at the end of the penis. A small amount of fluid other than urine or semen coming out from the urethral opening is a sign that something is wrong. It may be watery (clear), yellow or green, or it might be bloody (as in the case of STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea) or even cheesy (if there is excess smegma on the foreskin).
While some people are at higher risk than others for getting urethritis, it can affect males and females of all ages. It is more common in men because their urethras are longer than women’s and it can be easier for bacteria to enter the urethra.
Infectious urethritis is usually caused by the germs that cause sexually transmitted diseases, but non-STI infections can also trigger it. The symptoms of infectious urethritis are similar to those of a urinary tract infection, and both conditions need to be treated with antibiotics.
Any discharge from the penis that is not urine, pre-ejaculate or ejaculate requires medical evaluation by health professionals at a sexual health clinic. These specialists will ask about your medical history, symptoms and perform a physical examination on the penis. They will also take a sample of the discharge to be sent away for tests. The sooner an STI is diagnosed, the faster it can be treated and symptoms will fade.
Almost always, penile discharge is a sign of infection, whether it’s from an STI or allergy. If you’re noticing penile discharge that is not clear and is not present during sexual activity, you should consult with a healthcare professional immediately. They’ll be able to diagnose the cause and provide the correct treatment. Additionally, if you aren’t using a condom during sexual activity, it’s important to have regular STD screening to prevent infection.
Most often, the condition that’s causing the penile discharge is gonorrhea or chlamydia. Both of these conditions are easily treated with antibiotics and can be prevented if you use a condom during all sexual activities. Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause urethritis, which is a condition in which the urethra becomes irritated and painful. A common symptom of urethritis is a yellow or green discharge.
The other symptom of urethritis is pain or burning during urination. These symptoms can also be a sign of a UTI, which is an infection in any part of the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections can be caused by E coli, STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia or non-STD bacteria, such as trichomoniasis and a yeast infection (Yeast Infection). Most UTIs are accompanied by pain when urinating, swelling of the foreskin and a thick foul smelling smegma buildup that can look similar to penile discharge.
Smegma is a thick, white, cheesy substance that can build up under the foreskin of your penis and in women’s vagina. It’s made up of a mixture of fatty oils, shed skin cells and bodily fluids. Tiny glands in the penis and vagina release smegma to lubricate these areas. It’s completely normal to have smegma, but it can cause problems if you don’t clean your genital area regularly. Smegma can create a foul odor and allow bacteria to grow, which can lead to pain or irritation.
If you’re worried about smegma, talk to your doctor. They’ll be able to reassure you that smegma is normal and nothing to worry about, especially if you don’t have any other symptoms like itching or redness. It’s also worth checking if you have a condition known as Phimosis, which causes the foreskin to narrow so it can’t be properly retracted and cleaned.
Smegma that looks watery or mucous-like may be caused by STIs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. These types of male discharge usually have a distinct smell and can be different in color to smegma. If you’re concerned about STIs, you can visit a specialist sexual health clinic to get an accurate diagnosis and the correct treatment. You can find a list of centres here. You can even book an appointment online, which makes it easy and convenient.
Urinary tract infection
While penile discharge can be normal, particularly when sexual arousal or intercourse is happening, it can also be a sign of something more serious. If the discharge has a foul smell and is not clear, it could be a sign of an infection in the urethra or prostate gland. The treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, fungal infections are combated with antifungal medications and allergic reactions are soothed by steroids.
If you notice a lot of penile discharge, it is important to see a doctor. They will be able to carry out the tests necessary and begin the appropriate medication as soon as possible.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be caused by bacteria that get into your urinary system through the urethra or the anus. They can be caused by things like a sneeze or blow to the genital area, contact with another person’s urine, or even from using an unclean condom. Women are more likely to have a UTI than men as their urethra is shorter and it’s easier for bacteria to enter their bladder.
The head of the penis, or the glans, can become swollen and red with the build-up of a fatty tissue called smegma. This is usually a symptom of balanitis, which can occur in all men but is more common in uncircumcised men.