Often men are quick to assume that they would know if they had an STD (sexually transmitted disease); unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Many STDs cause symptoms while others don’t. In most cases, the symptoms are easily mistaken for other conditions including common yeast infections or urinary tract infections (UTIs). Knowing the signs and symptoms of common STDs and understanding the risks associated with sexual activity will help you limit your exposure and help you understand treatment if an infection occurs. You can make an appointment to get tested for STDs at EZCare Clinic and see a doctor for any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing.
What is penile discharge?
Penile discharge is a condition in which fluid collects in the urethra as a result of an infection. The urethra is the tube through which urine and semen pass from the body. This material can be hardly noticeable or impossible to ignore. It can appear watery and transparent or opaque and cloudy containing pus and occasionally even blood. The odor may be unpleasant or not noticeable at all. It is easy to understand why this condition is so confusing for the average person considering the difference in the appearance of the discharge. Penile discharge is one of many signs of a more significant problem and should always be evaluated by a physician.
Causes of penile discharge
Several conditions can cause penile discharge. Urinary Tract or yeast infections are often the underlying factor and can be accompanied by pain or a burning sensation during urination as well as the need for frequent urination. These types of infection are generally easy to treat and with the proper medications, curable. Unfortunately, there are also several STDs that can result in this unwanted condition. The type of STD will determine treatment, but if caught early, almost all can be treated as well.
Urinary Tract Infections
Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) that is naturally present in our bodies. An infection occurs when the bacterium enters the urinary tract through the urethra. While men of all ages can get a UTI, it is more common among older men due to a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland called benign prostatic hyperplasia. This condition causes the prostate to wrap around the bladder where it connects to the urethra making it harder for urine to pass. Bacteria that is typically flushed out with the urine is retained inside the bladder allowing it to grow.
Other factors that increase your risk for UTIs in Men
- Being uncircumcised
- Fecal incontinence
- Dehydration or not drinking enough fluids
- Engaging in anal intercourse which exposes the urethra to more bacteria
If you are diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, it is necessary to drink plenty of fluids to increase urination levels. Urination will help flush the bacteria from your system. Antibiotics should be prescribed as well. It is always a good practice to take all the medications that your doctor prescribes. Discontinuing an antibiotic early encourages the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Occasionally, people will recommend drinking cranberry juice to eliminate a UTI or to speed up the recovery. While there have been promising experiments with mice that suggested cranberry juice is helpful, this method is unproven.
Penile discharge is only one of the symptoms that can be present with a UTI. Others can include burning during urination, lower back pain and the frequent urge to go to the bathroom. If any of these symptoms are present, consultation with a physician is recommended.
Candida yeasts are commonly found on the penis even though approximately only 37% of men with the yeast develop an infection. Unlike vaginal yeast infections, infections in men are usually, but not always, the result of sexual activity. To put it bluntly, the man has had sex with someone who is suffering from a yeast infection. However, it is important to note that this type of infection is not considered an STD because men can get the infection without having sex as well. Antibiotics, Diabetes, immune-suppressing illness (especially HIV) and the use of corticosteroids can increase a man’s chances of getting a yeast infection. Men who have never been circumcised also have a higher risk than those who have had the procedure. Common symptoms of a yeast infection in men are redness, swelling, rash-like bumps that may contain pus, pain during urination or sex, discharge, unpleasant odor and burning or itching around the head of the penis that worsens after having sex.
Like yeast infections in women, penile yeast infections are easily treated with antifungal drugs. There are also several over-the-counter and prescription based topical medicines that are effective in treating yeast infections. If you believe you have a yeast infection, but over-the-counter medications are not sufficient, a doctor’s visit is necessary.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
If your penile discharge isn’t caused by a UTI or yeast infection, the cause may be one of a more personal nature. Symptoms of several sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) include penile discharge. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common STDs in men with an estimated one to four million new cases diagnosed each year. Both infections can cause serious health concerns especially when left untreated. Because penile discharge is not considered to be a typical occurrence, medical advice should be sought for this condition.
Unfortunately, not everyone experiences symptoms with an STD until the disease is in advanced stages. If you are sexually active, yearly screenings are recommended to ensure your health and to prevent the spread of infections. The only way to completely avoid an STD is to refrain from all types of sexual activity, vaginal, anal and oral. Condoms and dental dams or barriers are proven to be an appropriate means of prevention, though not as effective as abstinence, but only when used correctly. To further help limit exposure to STDs, refrain from having sex with multiple partners or with anyone who has open sores, lesions, a rash or who has been diagnosed with an STD.
Support and Testing
If you live in the San Francisco area and are experiencing any penile discharge, call EZCare Clinic today. Our medical team is knowledgeable in treating delicate situations such as this. Whether you are sexually active or not, EZCare clinic can accurately diagnose your condition and offer effective treatment and prevention methods. Penile discharge, like any other medical condition, is no reason for embarrassment. Our facility is standing by to provide expert, confidential care. Appointments are appreciated but not necessary. You can walk-in, or reach us at (415) 966-0848 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, 7 days a week.