Penile discharge – Symptoms and Causes

Penile discharge – Symptoms and Causes

Penile discharge is any fluid that comes out of penis, that is not urine or semen. The discharge usually come out of urethra, tube that transmits urine from bladder and ejacutory ducts. The discharge can be white and thick or clear and watery, depending on the cause of the discharge.

Normal penile discharges are considered pre-ejaculate and ejaculate, which is connected with sexual activity and arousal.

Penile discharges which are not associated with sexual arousal, are not considered normal and they can be caused by a variety of conditions. These include:

  • urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • prostatitis
  • balanitis
  • urethritis
  • sexualy transmitted diseases (STDs).


Urinary tract infections in men (UTI)

Bacteria which are normally present in the rectum can get transmitted into the urinary tract, where they act as pathogen and cause UTIs. UTIs more commonly affect women, but can occur in men as well.

Common symptoms of UTI:

  • clear or pus-tinged penile discharge
  • frequent urination
  • pain or burning sensation during urination



Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra.

The signs of urethritis include:

  • a yellow or green penile discharge
  • burning sensation during urination
  • frequent urination,

but it is possible to have no symptoms at all. Urethritis is commonly caused by a bacterial infection, some of which may cause STDs, such as:

  • chlamydia
  • herpes simplex virus
  • gonorrhoea,

but also, by UTI causing bacteria.



Balanitis is an inflammation of the penile head. It can occur in circumcised and uncircumcised men, but according to scientific research, it is more common in uncircumcised men.

Symptoms of balanitis include:

  • penile rash
  • pain during urination
  • itching
  • oozing discharge from under the foreskin.


Common causes of balanitis are:

  • Poor hygiene: Accumulation of sweat, urine and dead skin under the foreskin can contribute to bacterial and fungal growth, causing irritation.
  • Allergy
  • Sexually transmitted disease


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

STDs which cause penile discharge include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Ureaplasma


Syphilis can also cause penile discharge, but is it less common. STDs usually cause pus-filled discharge with blood, where pus develops as body's attempt to fight of the infection. Blood in the discharge is a result of an inflammation.

Any discharge not connected to sexual arousal is considered not normal and is a reason for booking doctor’s appointment or having an STD testing done.