Penis Discharge


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By Medicover Hospitals / 11 Mar 2021
Home | symptoms | penis-discharge
  • The normal discharges from the penis are pre-ejaculation and ejaculation, which occur with sexual arousal and sexual activity. Smegma, which is often seen in uncircumcised men who have an intact penile foreskin, is also a normal occurrence
  • Article Context:

    1. What is Penis Discharge?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Prevention
    7. FAQ's

    What is Penis Discharge?

  • Penis discharge may be watery (clear), cloudy (containing pus), or bloody. Urinary tract infection (UTI) or a sexually transmitted infection are common causes of discharge from the penis. Discharge from the penis is often accompanied by pain or burning when urinating and the need to urinate frequently. Itching can also accompany discharge from the penis. Discharge from the penis is commonly a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and requires prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment, usually by staff at a specialized sexual health clinic.
  • Causes:


  • Pre-ejaculation is a liquid that comes out of the penis during arousal. People also refer to it as "pre-cum." Cowper's glands produce pre-ejaculation, which exits the penis in the same way as semen and urine. In most cases, there are only a few drops of pre-ejaculate, so some people may not notice it at all.
  • Urinary tract infection:

  • UTIs are rare in men younger than 50 years old, and the risk increases as they age. Men with UTIs may find it very painful to urinate or not being able to empty the bladder. Some people may have incontinence or a heavy need to urinate. There may be white or foamy discharge from the penis, and sometimes, there may also be blood in the urine. A UTI is a bacterial infection. Most of the time, antibiotics will be needed to treat the infection. A doctor must prescribe the correct type of antibiotics to kill bacteria, so people should avoid self-medicating or using old antibiotics.
  • Balanitis:

  • Balanitis is a disease in which the head of the penis becomes inflamed. This common infection affects 3 to 11% of men in their life. Anything that irritates the foreskin or head of the penis, including harsh soaps and other chemicals, can cause balanitis. Balanitis can cause swelling or itching at the head of the penis. It's even possible to notice discharge under the foreskin or on the penis' head. Yeast infections are the most common cause of balanitis.
  • Diabetes is a risk factor for yeast infections, so balanitis may be more common among people living with this condition.
  • Prostatitis:

  • The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that surrounds the urethra and is in the front of the rectum. The prostate produces prostate fluid, which helps lubricate semen.
  • Men with prostatitis may experience:
    • Prostate pain
    • Difficulty urinating
    • Discharge from the penis
  • Prostatitis occurs when the prostate becomes inflamed and irritated, which is sometimes due to a bacterial infection. Prostatitis can be acute or chronic. Chronic prostatitis can develop due to a problem with the immune system or after damage to the prostate or surrounding nerves.
  • Smegma:

  • Smegma is a combination of dead skin cells, water, and sebum from skin oil. It is usually white or yellow in color. Smegma lubricates the head of the penis, helping to prevent friction pain, especially during sexual activity. Smegma also contains bacteria. These bacteria are generally healthy and beneficial, but harmful bacteria sometimes grow out of control on smegma. An overgrowth of harmful bacteria can cause odor and can play a role in certain infections, including urinary tract infections.
  • Diagnosis:

  • Discharge from the penis or urethritis is diagnosed by finding white blood cells (neutrophils or pus cells) on a urethral swab or in a "first-feed" urine sample (that is, urine is removed from the moment you begin to urinate). The infecting organism could be identified from these samples. Ideally, the patient should be seen at a sexual health clinic for rapid specimen examination because transferring specimens to a hospital laboratory can lead to misdiagnosis. The color and consistency of the discharge do not help distinguish NSU from gonococcal urethritis. Gonococcal urethritis is diagnosed in 98 percent of men by microscopic examination of discharge from a urethral swab.
  • Treatment:

  • Treatment will depend on the cause of the discharge from the penis.
    • Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics
    • Fungal infections, such as those that result from yeast, are fought with antifungals
    • Allergic irritation can be soothed by steroids

    When to visit a Doctor?

  • Not all male discharges are a sign of a problem. Sometimes it appears due to the temporary production of more smegma or pre-ejaculation. In other cases, an individual may simply notice the discharge more, perhaps because they are paying more attention to their penis or because they are suddenly feeling self-conscious. A person should consult a doctor about discharge from the penis if they experience:
    • discharge that is not from pre-ejaculation or ejaculation.
    • pain when urinating, having sex, or bathing.
    • swelling in or around the penis.
    • a foul smell coming from the penis.
    • fever, or other signs of infection, such as nausea.


  • Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, follow the treatment plan that you and your healthcare professional specifically designed to reduce the risk of possible complications, including:
    • Difficulty or inability to retract the foreskin
    • The opening of the penis is scarred and shortened
    • Scarring of the penis
    • Spread of cancer
    • Spread of infection

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Male discharge that does not have an STD cause may be a variation of normal discharge or it could be a sign of an infection that requires treatment.
  • It can be white and thick or clear and watery, depending on the underlying cause. While discharge from the penis is a common symptom of many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea and chlamydia, other things can also cause it.
  • Without treatment, symptoms of urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) and purulent discharge (containing pus) peak within two weeks.
  • This usually goes away in a short time without any specific treatment. Chronic urethritis (when the condition lasts for weeks or months or goes away and comes back) can be caused by bacteria, or it can also be caused by a narrowing of the tube (urethra).
  • Citations:

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