Penile discharge is defined as the abnormal loss of fluid from the penis that is neither urine or semen. In most cases, penile discharge is a sign that an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) is present. Because of that serious and highly likely probability, should you be experiencing penile discharge you should seek a formal diagnosis from an MD and a treatment plan.
The discharge itself does not have to be an ever present condition in which large amounts of fluid are lost. It can be a very small amount of discharge experienced intermittently throughout the day. In many cases, a man will identify penile discharge from the discolored splotches on their underwear where the discharge came in contact with the fabric causing a stain. The color can be clear contrary to the popular belief that it is always yellow and pus like. In some cases the discharge can even be green, and if you have green penile discharge you need to see a doctor faster than immediately.
Some of the symptoms that accompany penile discharge can include dysuria which is a burning sensation when urinating, or the need to urinate frequently. Nocturia which is when you have to frequently urinate at night is another sign to watch for as are swollen groin lymph nodes and rashes in the genital area.
In most cases, penile discharge is due to gonococcal urethritis or non-gonococcal urethritis. Gonococal urethritis is better known as gonorrhea which has a 2-5 day incubation period from the point of infection which will peak in about two weeks. If untreated, infertility is a possible but rare late stage complication, but more common are bloodstream infections, arthritis of the knees, hands and wrists, skin lesions, red spots or bumps on the feet and/or hands, and chills.
In the case of penile discharge due to non-specific urethritis (non-gonococcal) this is most common in the age range of 20-35 and can be transmitted by several bugs including ureaplasma urealyticum, trichamonis vaginalis, mycoplasma genitalium, herpes simplex, or Chlamydia trachomatis. In the case of some of these “bugs” no sexual contact is needed to be come infected.
Testing for the genesis of penile discharge is simple albeit uncomfortable to most. A urethral swab is performed in most cases although in some a first catch urine sample will suffice. From either of those samples a white blood cell test will be run to formulate a diagnosis and a treatment plan will be laid out for the patient. In most cases that are caught early antibiotics can sufficiently eradicate whatever the underlying cause is that has prompted penile discharge.