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All You Need to Know About How to Treat Penile Discharge

Medically reviewed by Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD · General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Jul 28, 2020

    All You Need to Know About How to Treat Penile Discharge

    What is Penile Discharge?

    Any liquid flowing out of the penis that is not urine or semen is called penile discharge or urethral discharge. Penile discharge is a common occurrence when there is inflammation in the urethra (urethritis). 

    Penile discharge may vary in texture (watery or cloudy), color (white, red, greenish, or yellowish), and odor. Bloody urine (hematuria) may also come along with it. 

    Penile discharge can occur regardless if a man is sexually active or not. Uncircumcised men can also suffer from penile discharge due to “balanitis” or the swelling of the foreskin.  

    Sexually transmitted disease (STD) and urinary tract infection (UTI) are the main causes of penile discharge.  Suffering from penile discharge can be stressful. These people can have pain, burning, or stinging when they urinate. This makes it important to know how to treat penile discharge.


    Other than the unusual color, odor, and texture of fluid that comes out of the penis, there are other symptoms that might come with penile discharge such as:

    • Pain and burning feeling while urinating (dysuria)
    • Blood in the urine (hematuria) and semen
    • Pain during sexual intercourse
    • Urinating more often than normal
    • Painful masturbation
    • Redness, swelling or soreness of the tip of the penis
    • Pain, discharge and swelling of the anal region.
    Pain, swelling, or tenderness of the testicles.

    When not treated immediately, a person suffering penile discharge might also see symptoms in other parts of the body like:

    • Vomiting
    • Rash in other parts of the body
    • Flu symptoms such as fever, cough, headache, body ache, sore throat, and drowsiness.

    A minor penile discharge may point to a more serious problem that might need urgent medical attention. Knowing how to treat penile discharge is not enough. When you are experiencing the following, then it is the time to visit your doctor or call an emergency number:

    • Extreme pain in the testicles
    • Fever higher than 39 degrees Celsius
    • Spreading inflammation and redness in the groin

    To know how to treat penile discharge, one must be aware of its causes. Some of the well-known causes of penile discharge are urinary tract infection (UTI) and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.

    Penile discharge caused by sexual interaction include: 

    1. Urethritis – inflammation of the urethra that is caused by bacterial infection. According to a study, about 4 million Americans suffer from urethritis annually. 
    2. Trichomoniasis –  caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, trichomoniasis causes urethritis that kicks off penile discharge. 
    3. Genital herpes – can result in pain, soreness, and itchiness in the genitalia. It is a common STD that originates from a herpes simplex virus (HSV). 
    4. Mycoplasma genitalium – another STD that leads to urethritis. People infected by mycoplasma are often asymptomatic. 
    5. Prostatitis – due to swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland, prostatitis causes pain and difficulty in urination leading to penile discharge.

    Urethral discharge is also caused by:

    1. Chemical irritation – discomfort caused by chemicals found in products such as soap, deodorant, detergent, and others.  
    2. Balanitis – inflammation or irritation of the foreskin frequently caused by fungal infection due to poor hygiene. 
    3. Smegma – is the accumulated dead skin cells, oils, and moisture in the folds of the foreskin. It is not harmful as it helps to lubricate the penis during sexual interaction. If not cleaned properly, bad bacteria in smegma can cause irritation and can lead to UTI. Uncircumcised men can frequently have noticeable smegma.
    4. Pre-ejaculate – a clear and sticky fluid that comes out of the penis during sexual arousal. Often referred to as “pre-cum”. 
    5. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – commonly known as one of the main causes of penile discharge, UTI can result in frequent urination, burning sensation while urinating, bad odor and cloudy urine. Among men, mostly only adults who are more than 50 years old have the possibility of acquiring the infection. 


    Not all penile discharges are harmful to your reproductive health, but if not treated, it may lead to more serious conditions. Having enough knowledge about how to treat penile discharge may help you lessen its risks. 

    You must visit your doctor if you’re experiencing:

    • Pain during urination, bathing, and sexual intercourse
    • Fluid discharge that is neither urine or semen
    • Swollen and inflamed penis
    • Discoloration and bad odor from urine
    • Nausea with fever and vomiting
    You should also see a doctor if any of your sexual partners have been diagnosed with STDs. Even if you have no symptoms, you could be infected.

    Penile discharge can be treated if you are aware of what might be causing it. If STD is one of your concerns, it is best to get tested as early as possible to prevent the spread of the disease. Having fewer sexual partners and being less sexually active can also alleviate the chances of dealing with penile discharge. 

    Key Takeaways

    Penile discharge is not normal and is usually a sign of an ongoing infection of the urinary tract. It is important to seek medical attention as a means of how to treat penile discharge when feeling uneasy about your condition.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD

    General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

    Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao · Updated Jul 28, 2020

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