What causes penis discharge?

Penis discharge can have a number of different causes. Evaluating other symptoms in conjunction with this condition can help a health care practitioner identify the cause.

Sexually transmitted diseases are one cause of these symptoms. Certain sexually transmitted infections cause urethritis (urethral inflammation that may produce pus or discharge), including chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Men who are uncircumcised (who have the foreskin remaining around the penis) are prone to balanitis, an inflammation of the foreskin due to poor hygiene, irritants from soaps or detergents, or infection.

Sexually transmitted causes of penis discharge

Penis discharge may be caused by sexually transmitted diseases including:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • Trcihomonas vaginalis

Other causes of penis discharge

Penis discharge can also be caused by the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Balanitis (inflammation of the foreskin)
  • Chemical irritation caused by soaps, spermicides, or bath products
  • Dermatitis
  • Priapism (sustained erection that is painful)
  • Penile cancer
  • Urinary tract infections

Questions for diagnosing the cause of penis discharge

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your penis discharge including:

  • How long have you had the discharge?
  • Does it hurt to urinate or ejaculate?
  • Have you experienced this before?
  • Have you noticed a rash or bumps around your genitals?
  • Do you have any other symptoms such as itching?
  • Have you started using any new detergents or soaps?
  • Are you sexually active? Are you having unprotected sex, or do you have multiple partners?
  • What medications are you taking?

What are the potential complications of penis discharge?

Because penis discharge can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Difficulty with or inability to retract the foreskin
  • Scarring and narrowing of the opening of the penis
  • Scarring of the penis
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection


  1. Balanitis. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001865/.
  2. Genital problems in men. FamilyDoctor.org. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/539.printerview.html.

What is penis discharge?

Penis discharge occurs when fluid leaks from your penis. Both the thickness and color (milky white, greenish, or yellow) of the discharge may vary. The discharge may result from an infection, including a sexually transmitted infection. Urethritis is the term used to refer to inflammation of the urethra due to any cause, which is often accompanied by penis discharge.

... Read more about penis dischargeintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with penis discharge?

Penis discharge may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Genitourinary symptoms that may occur along with penis discharge

Penis discharge may accompany other symptoms affecting the genitourinary system including:

  • Blood in the semen
  • Bloody or pink-colored urine (hematuria) Read more about penis dischargesymptoms

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Male Reproductive System