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Is Male Discharge Normal?

A man's back looking into the distance

If you notice that you have irregular penile discharge, you might begin to worry that something’s wrong, or that you have an STD. However, male discharge doesn’t always indicate sexual transmitted infections, and it could be perfectly normal. Read on to learn more about male penile discharge.

What is male discharge?

Male penile discharge is a substance that comes out of the urethra, has a smell, varies in colour and viscosity and is not urine or semen. Penile discharge can be an STD symptom but it can also be a sign of another infection or inflammation.

Can you have penile discharge without having a STD?

You can experience penile discharge without having an STD. There are various conditions and infections that can cause male discharge. Pre-ejaculate is also considered by some as male discharge. 

What can cause male discharge?


Whilst sometimes considered as discharge, pre-ejaculate is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Pre-ejaculate is associated with arousal and exits the penis the same was as  regular ejaculate during sex. 

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by bacteria infecting the urinary tract. The infection could occur anywhere throughout the urinary tract, from the bladder right through to the urethra. Discharge as a result of a UTI may appear to be clear or pus-tinged flowing from the urethra. You may also feel an urgent need to urinate with a UTI, have a burning sensation when you urinate, and your urine might be cloudy or foul smelling. 


Balantis is inflammation of the head of the penis, usually caused by irritation from common items such as soaps and shampoos, as well as poor hygiene and allergies. With balantis, oozing discharge may occur under the foreskin, or on the head of the penis. 


Prostatitis occurs when the prostate becomes inflamed and irritated, sometimes caused by bacterial infection. With prostatitis, you may notice discharge coming from the urethra. 


Smegma is a build up of substances under the foreskin that looks like thick, white discharge. It is not actually classed as discharge, but looks very similar. It is usually made up of skin cells and naturally occurring body oils and fluids. Smegma is usually caused by poor hygiene.


There are a variety of STDs that cause male discharge, including chlamydia and gonorrhea. With chlamydia, male discharge may look watery or mucous-like, coming from the tip of the penis. Male discharge caused by gonorrhea may be white, yellow or green in colour. 

If you would like to find out more about gonorrhea, read one of our recent blogs: Gonorrhoea – What You Need To Know

When to contact the doctor

Whilst any discharge that cannot be related to sexual arousal (ejaculate or pre-ejaculate) is not considered normal, and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible, it’s also a good idea to be checked for STDs to ensure that you’re treated effectively and don’t pass any infections on to sexual partners. 

Your Sexual Health offers a wide range of STD tests both in-clinic across the UK, or as home-testing kits. Visit our website to learn more, and to determine which test is right for you.