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.
Sexually-transmitted infection (STD, STI)
Yeast infection / thrush