Discharge from the penis that is not associated with sexual arousal is not considered normal and may be caused by various conditions, which include:

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTI is an infection of your urinary system.

  • UTIs typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder.
  • Not everyone with a UTI develops recognizable signs and symptoms, but most people have at least one or more of the following symptoms:
    • A persistent urge to urinate
    • A stinging or burning sensation when urinating
    • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
    • Blood in the urine or cloudy, strong-smelling urine (unusual discharge from the penis)
  • Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for UTIs. Usually, UTI symptoms clear up within a few days of treatment. However, you may need to continue antibiotics for a week or more. It is very important to complete the entire course of antibiotics recommended by your doctor to ensure that the infection is completely eradicated. Drinking plenty of water to flush out the bacteria helps too.

Prostatitis

Prostatitis is swelling of the prostate gland and sometimes the area around it.

  • Apart from unusual discharge from the penis, prostatitis can cause pain in your penis, testicles, anus, lower abdomen and lower back.
  • To treat acute bacterial prostatitis, you must take antibiotics that can penetrate the prostate tissue (such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) for at least 30 days. Taking antibiotics for less time may lead to a chronic (long-standing) infection. Most men can be treated at home and take antibiotics by mouth. However, occasionally, they may need to be hospitalized for intravenous antibiotics. Severe bacterial prostatitis can be difficult to cure. If a prostate abscess occurs, surgical drainage is usually necessary.

Balanitis

Balanitis is characterized by swelling of the foreskin and head of the penis. It can cause redness and discharge under the foreskin.

  • Symptoms may include rash, itching or pain, foul smell and ulcers. Swelling may be due to infections or irritation. It often occurs in people with high blood sugars.
  • Treatment depends on the cause.
    • Salt baths are soothing while treatment takes effect.
    • Anti-yeast cream is the most common treatment because most cases are due to candida.
    • Antibiotics will clear infection caused by bacteria.
    • Mild steroid cream to reduce inflammation is useful for balanitis caused by allergies or irritants.
    • Sometimes, steroid cream is used in addition to anti-yeast or antibiotic medication to reduce inflammation caused by infection.
    • If you have recurrent balanitis and have phimosis, then circumcision is an option to remove the foreskin.

Urethritis

  • The urethra is the tube that runs from the bladder through the penis. When the urethra is swollen, it is called urethritis.
  • Urethritis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection.
  • Symptoms may include
    • Burning pain when you urinate
    • Itching or tingling of the penis or pus discharge from the penis
    • Pain when you have sex or masturbate
  • Treatment depends on the cause of urethritis.
    • Doctors may give antibiotics and antiviral medications in the form of tablets or injections.
    • They may add medications to the regimen that treat pain and swelling.

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

STDs are infections that spread from person to person most commonly through bodily fluids or direct skin-to-skin contact during oral, vagina, and anal sexual activities. Some STDs, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), can spread through hypodermic needles. Pubic lice can spread through objects such as used damp towels or wet clothing.

  • There are more than 30 bacteria, viruses and parasites that are known to be transmitted sexually. The most common of these include:
  • Symptoms may include
  • Treatment for STDs varies depending on the specific type. Some STDs can be treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications. Viral infections can be managed but not always cured. Some medications help ease the severity of symptoms. There is no cure available for HIV, but it can often be treated with a combination of medications.
  • STDs are serious infections that may cause lifelong or recurring symptoms and side effects. If you think you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you should see your doctor. Avoid sex until you have been examined. If your doctor diagnoses you with an STI, be sure to notify your sexual partner(s) right away. They may need testing or treatment, too.
  • Remember that some people may contract herpes, chlamydia, and other STIs, but exhibit no symptoms. It is possible to transmit STDs even when no symptoms are present. Hence, practicing safe sex is a must.
  • It is recommended to maintain genital hygiene to avoid any penile discharge. Keep your penis and scrotal area clean and dry. Wash the area daily using unscented soap and water.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/6/2021
References
Queensland Health: "Penis Discharge"

Mayo Clinic: "Penis health: Identify and prevent problems"