Penile Discharge – Should I be Worried?

Warning: this article includes graphic image some readers may find disturbing.

Abnormal discharge from the penis is something that many men are terrified of.

Unlike women, men do not normally have spontaneous discharge from the genitals. So when this happens, men naturally get extremely anxious and paranoid. Almost always, they would relate this to diseases they are most terrified of such as HIV and cancer.

Do I have HIV?”, “Do I have cancer?”, “What should I do?”, “Is it curable?”, “Where did I get this from?

These are some of the most common questions men ask when they come to see us. Of course, Google is our best friend these days. Most people would have already done some internet search and had some ideas of what it might be before they speak to a doctor. Unfortunately, as human beings, we always think of the worst case scenario. Let us explain penile discharge in details so you have a better understanding of this symptom.


Click here to view image of Penile Discharge – Click Here

What is penile discharge?

The small opening at the end of the penis is called urethral opening. Urethra is the tube that carries urine and semen out of your body into the environment. Yes, only urine and semen comes out from there. If you have a fluid other than urine or semen that comes out from your urethral opening, it is abnormal. This is when you know you have penile discharge. It is the result of inflammation of the urethra. An abnormal discharge may be watery (clear), white, yellow, green or even bloody. 

I also have other symptoms. Are they related?

Most likely. Along with penile discharge, you may also have:

  • painful urination
  • frequent need to pass urine
  • rash in the genital area
  • swollen lymph nodes in the groin

What causes penile discharge?

You are right. Penile discharge almost always is a sign of infection. Before thinking too far and relating this to diseases such as HIV, let us look at the common infective causes of penile discharge.


This is one of the most common STDs around. It always manifest as white/yellow/green discharge from the penis, and painful urination. Unlike men, only 10-20% of women with gonorrhoea have an abnormal discharge. It is curable with antibiotics. If left untreated for a period of time, it may lead to infertility. It may also enter the bloodstream and cause problems to the skin and joints.

Penile discharge is almost always caused by STDs

Non-specific urethritis (NSU) or non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU)

These two terms essentially mean the same thing. Urethritis basically means inflammation of the urethra (refer to “what is penile discharge”). NSU/NGU means urethritis that is caused by anything other than gonorrhoea.

NSU is caught during sex. Therefore, it is also a part of STD screening. It is in fact the most common cause of penile discharge. Men aged between 20 and 35 years are most commonly affected. Several different organisms can cause NSU:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis 
  • Mycoplasma genitalium 
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum 
  • Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Herpes simplex (rare)

These names may sound very complicated but a full STD screening would be able to detect these organisms and pinpoint the cause of penile discharge. However, no cause can be found sometimes. 

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTI is a common term used to describe infection in any part of the urinary tract (ureter, bladder, urethra). It could be STD or non-STD. Non-STD bacteria that cause a UTI include E. coli, Klebsiella and Staphylococcus saprophyticus. Again, these fancy names may sound scary but they can be easily detected in a urine sample and treatable with antibiotics. 

UTI is not common in men. If diagnosed with a UTI, they will require further investigations such as an ultrasound of the urinary tract system to find out the underlying problem. 

What should I do?

See a doctor

As mentioned earlier, penile discharge is not normal. Consult a doctor for a proper assessment. The doctor will definitely speak to you about your sexual history. You will also require some tests to find out what the culprit is. STD screening is essential because most penile discharge are related to STDs. You will most likely be advised to have a comprehensive STD screening done to rule out all possibilities. 

See a doctor, get tested and treated!

Abstain from sex

Hold off all sexual activities (including oral and anal sex) until your test results are out and you have been adequately treated.  It is best to wait seven days after you have had your treatment course. This is important because if you have been infected with STD, you may potentially infect your partner(s) and cause more problems. If you REALLY have to engage in sexual intercourse, do use a condom, although condom is not 100% and you may still infect your partner(s).

Inform your sexual partner(s)

This is called contact tracing. If your penile discharge is due to a STD, your sexual partner(s) may have been infected as well – you may have got it from your partner(s), or vice versa. This includes your sexual partner(s) for the past 6 months. 

Tell your sexual partner (s) to see a doctor to get tested even if they do not have any symptoms.

As you can see, HIV and cancer are not mentioned anywhere in this discussion. That does not mean that you should take penile discharge lightly. We would like to stress again that penile discharge is NOT NORMAL. If you have this symptom, it is important to get yourself assessed and treated properly so you do not run into more severe problems later on.

As long as you are sexually active, you are at risk of STDs. This is why you should undergo comprehensive STD testing regularly. As is true for most STDs, a large number of men with these infections do not experience any symptoms, so routine testing when you are sexually active is very important.


Need more advice?

To find out more about Penile Rash or other Men’s Health issues , please visit your doctor or visit Men’s Health Clinic.

Dr. Tan and Partners @Novena (Men’s Health Clinic)


10 Sinaran Drive,
#08-31, Novena Medical Centre
Singapore 307506

+65 6397 2095

Learn more about Andrology and Infection Centre at Novena Medical Center services.

Our Other Clinics:

1.) Robertson Walk  (+65 6238 7810)

2.) Bencoolen Street (+65 6884 4119)

3.) Scotts Medical Centre (+65 6694 2348)

4.) Somerset – Orchard Building (+65 6262 0762)

5.) Katong – East Coast Road (+65 6635 2551)

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Our Doctors are Fully Certified and Trained to conduct specialised STD and HIV Testing.


Please email your queries, feedback and suggestions on what other topics you want to see in the comments section below.

Other Topics:

  1. Penile Discharge (Should I be Worried?)
  2. Frenulum Breve and Penile Frenulectomy
  3. Warts
  4. Molluscum
  5. HIV Symptoms
  6. Syphilis
  7. Herpes
  8. STDs General Info
  9. Premature Ejaculation
  10. Erectile Dysfunction
  11. Erectile Dysfunction Treatment – Electro-shock-wave-treatment
  12. STD General Info
  13. Gonorrhoea
  14. STD Treatment Services
  15. Cost of HIV/STD Tests at our Clinic


  1. Now one

    Dr I have transparent sticky stuff coming out of the head of my penis is this bad ?

    • Hi, penile discharge is usually indicative of an infection, most commonly sexually transmitted. You should come down to our clinic for evaluation and treatment.

  2. Hi,

    My name is Sumit 30yrs and I am from india. I am searching for the solution of my problem and I came to your website I want to share my problem with you OK when I was a kid I rubbed my foreskin again and again and that time the tickling on my Penis gave me a orgsm type of feeling. Now for the last 15 yrs a fluid continously coming out of my Penis when I get erected, wdream about sex or anything relate to sex it makes me arouse but a thick whitish liquid comes from Penis in a big aquantity. It won’t hurt me but I am unmarried I never ever had sex with anyone in my life never. When I aroushed this liquid started flowing out of my Penis heavily. There is so much tickling, tingling in my Penis because I rubbed my foreskin so strongly in my childhood. I feel the orgsm not by sports, semen coming out but because of this thick liquid. It gave me the orgsm, tell satisfaction. I know that this liquid is not normal. I’ve read it on website that any liquid apart from urine, semen is not normal I know this is not normal please help me how to start a treatment and get away from this problem.

    • First of all please let me remind you that this website is not for dispensing medical advice. You should see your doctor for a formal medical consultation. As a simplistic guide, I can tell you that you may have prostatitis. Perhaps this can be a starting point for further discussion with your doctor.

  3. I had irritation inside my penis in my urethra and due to excessive rubbing of my penis I started feeling pains wen ever I urinate but previously I had no pains wen I urinate…after three days I started getting discharges too in my it because of the excessive rubbing that caused the urinal pain or its something else…

  4. Hi doctor, are the std test anonymous?

    • Only HIV test (at Robertson branch) is anonymous. The rest of the STD tests are not anonymous, but we ensure that they are discreet and confidential.

  5. Help 28M

    Hi doctor,

    My last sexual encounter June 2015. Now, I’ve had this discharge in my butt area. My butt crack will feel very wet (like a sweaty wet) and when I go to wipe it there’s this faint yellowish looking sticky liquid. Could it be Proctitis?

    In the mean time , I also have discharge coming out of my penis. The are cloudy white.

    Could I have multiple STI? What could it be?

    • Discharge from the anus and penis is not normal. It is a sign of infection. You could have been infected with STI. The only way to find out is to get tested. Please consult a doctor to get yourself assessed, tested and treated. You are welcomed to visit any of our clinics.

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