For guys, the urethra runs through the middle of the penis to the opening at the head of the penis (glans), and carries urine (pee) during urination or semen (cum) during ejaculation. Penile discharge is not urine, but a watery or thickened fluid that sometimes comes out of the penis.
It’s normal for guys to have mucous-like fluid (pre cum) when the penis is erect or sexually aroused.
This fluid is usually clear to whitish and can vary in amount.
Cum is released when guys orgasm (ejaculate). This fluid is made of semen and sperm, usually spurts out, and can also differ in amount.
Smegma is also normal! Smegma is a cheesy white material produced by small glands on the glans that collects under the foreskin in uncircumcised men.
Any other discharge from the penis is unusual. The causes may include:
Chlamydia: Guys may experience a burning pain when peeing and a whitish discharge from the penis. But 1 in 2 guys don’t feel any of this. At all! That’s why it’s best to get tested if you’ve had unsafe sex with new or casual partners.
Non- specific urethritis: Urethritis is the swelling of a guy’s urethra. Non-specific urethritis is exactly that – non-specific, as it can be caused by many different bacterial infections. Guys may notice unusual fluid-like discharge leaking from the opening of the penis.
Acute prostatitis: Is inflammation in the prostate and is also caused by different types of bacteria and STIs. Symptoms may include foul-smelling urine, or blood in the urine or cum.
Balanitis: Is a fungal or bacterial infection under the foreskin of uncircumcised men. Guys may experience redness and swelling of the glans, along with tightened foreskin and discharge.
Wow. What a list! Remember, safe sex practices and simple hygiene habits can help prevent these infections. Use condoms with all vaginal, anal (bum), and oral sex, and test regularly for STIs. Keeping the penis clean by washing daily, pulling back the foreskin to clean and dry the glans thoroughly will also help.
See a doctor or your local Sexual Health Clinic if you have any concerns about discharge or STIs. Or you can ring 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline.