Penile Discharge

Testing & treatment for abnormal discharge

  • Rule out infection & get appropriate treatment
  • GP appointments with experienced male doctors
  • Full sexual health screening available if necessary
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There are a number of common causes for unusual penile discharge. This is a condition in which fluid builds up in the urethra & becomes visible at the tip of the penis. It can be watery, clear, cloudy, or thick, & may be white, yellow, or green in colour.

The pain symptom of penile discharge is a fluid exiting from the tip of the penis (the urethra, the tube through which semen & urine travel), or from under the foreskin.

The symptoms of penile discharge are:

  • Clear, white, yellow, or green fluid at the tip of the penis or under the foreskin
  • Watery or thick discharge
  • May be smelly or odourless

Depending on the cause, a penile discharge may be accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Painful urination
  • Burning sensation on urination
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Tenderness or soreness at the head of the penis
  • Redness or swelling at the head of the penis
  • Rash or itchy patches around the genitals

The main causes of penile discharge are:

  • Balanitis – this is inflammation of the head of the penis (the glans), which will usually also be red & sore. It is caused by a build-up of smegma, a natural lubricant produced beneath the foreskin. If smegma builds up, it can cause difficulty in moving the foreskin, create a strong odour, & potentially cause infection. It can be caused by poor hygiene, infection (yeast infection, or thrush), skin conditions or rashes, or irritation.
  • Sexually transmitted disease (STD or STI) – the two most common STIs that cause penile discharge are chlamydia & gonorrhoea. With chlamydia, the discharge is white or cloudy, & you may also have pain in the testicles or with urination. With gonorrhoea, the discharge is thick, white, yellow, or green, & the head of the penis is usually inflamed.
  • Urethritis – this is when the urethra becomes inflamed, & may or may not be due to infection. The discharge with urethritis is typically white or cloudy, & is accompanied by a burning sensation with urination.

Whatever the cause, it is important to get checked by a doctor. Infections & inflammation are curable, so do not hesitate to come in & get treated.

During your appointment, the doctor will ask you about your symptoms, when they started, & anything that might have caused them. If necessary, they will perform a physical examination. If the doctor suspects that you have an infection, they may need to take a swab of the discharge, in order to have it tested at the laboratory.