Penile Discharge – Causes, Diagnosis and its Treatment
Penile discharge or discharge of fluid from the penis can be a very discomforting and embarrassing condition for the patient. Penile discharge is mostly a symptom of either inflammation or infection in the male genitals. Although fully treatable, often a delay occurs in the treatment because the symptoms take a few days to appear, since the beginning of infection. It can often occur along with symptoms of common cold like sore throat, fever, cough, headache etc.
Penile discharge often results from infection or inflammation of urethra. The discharge from the urethra can be caused due to the following:-
- Urethritis- It is caused when bacteria enter the urethra. It can be caused by virus known as Herpes Simplex Virus or a micro-organism known as trichomonas that is transmitted sexually.
- Gonorrhea – It is transmitted sexually and is caused by a micro organism called neisseria gonorrhoeae, which requires warm environment to multiply. It gets transferred from one infected person to another. It is a common problem with people who engage in sexual activity with multiple partners.
- Chlamydia– It is caused by chlamydia trachomatis. It is a sexually transmitted disease which can be contracted from an infected person. A condition in which inflammation of rectum can occur (proctitis) can also be caused by Chlamydia.
- Herpes can also cause penile discharge.
- Epididymitis:- Presence of both gonorrhea and Chlamydia can cause infection in epididymis.
The symptoms for penile discharge vary with the cause:-
- Urethritis:- Along with discharge from the penis, urethritis causes pain in urination. Itching, discomfort and pain in the genitals can also be experienced. Also, in extreme cases blood may be detected in urine or semen.
- Gonorrhea- in this case, the color of the discharge may be yellow or whitish. Burning sensation during urination or swollen or painful testicles can also be experienced by the patient. The symptoms appear after almost two weeks of infection.
- Chlamydia- The symptoms of Chlamydia are similar to Gonorrhea. Apart from itching and burning in the genital area, small amount of clear or cloudy discharge can be seen from the penis tip. This condition also causes pain during urination.
A swab of sample of discharge may be taken from urethra to test for the cause of the problem. A physical examination of the genital area and assessment of medical history is also done. Since penile discharge most commonly results from sexual transmitted infection, the doctors also evaluate the patient’s sexual history to determine the precise cause for the discharge. Sometimes, anal or throat fluid samples are also taken in case of patients who engage in oral sex.
Treatment for Penile Discharge
The infection or inflammation of the urethra is curable and is treated with antibiotics. Chlamydia can be treated with prescribed doses of azithromycin or doxycycline. The treatment should normally cure the infection within a fortnight.
Urethritis is, again, treated with antibiotics like Adoxa, Oracea, doxycycline, zithromax etc. Also, antibiotics like ciprofloxacin or ofloxacin may also be prescribed. In case of non specified urethritis, doxycycline might be suggested to be taken twice in a day for a period of seven days. The treatment of NSU is done by observing symptoms as no specific micro organisms causing this condition have been specified. The treatment should be given to both the partners and not only to the one who is infected.
After the treatment, it is imperative that the patient is again checked to ensure that there are no more traces of infection.
Once diagnosed, it is vital that the condition is treated with right medication. If Gonorrhea is not treated in due time, it can lead to epididymitis. Also delay in treatment, leads gonorrhea to cause inflammation of the urethra which causes difficulty in urination. People with this condition are more susceptible to HIV.
Prolonged delay may even cause the opening of penis to narrow in size and may even lead to its scarring. In rare cases, infertility can also be one of the risks of the disease. Sometimes, the infection may run in the blood stream and result in skin lesions, fever, chills etc.
Even if the presence of infection is not confirmed but only suspected, it is advisable to stop having sexual intercourse immediately. Any abnormality in the genital area like inflammation or discharge is a warning signal to seek urgent treatment. Use of sexual protection like condoms is also advised. More number of sexual partners increases the risk of contracting the infection.
Discharge from the penis is normally not considered an emergency, but it is a transferrable condition and hence requires appropriate treatment. If not treated in time, it not only causes embarrassment and discomfort, it can become a potential cause of infertility. Unprotected sexual activity and involvement with multiple partners is one the biggest reasons for the condition, hence it is advised to practice safe sex.