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White Discharge in Men: What Does It Mean?

Man sitting on bed in his underwear

Summary

White penile discharge can indicate a deeper health problem. It can be caused by urinary tract infections (UTIs), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other disorders like balanitis and prostatitis. Leaving abnormal penile discharge unaddressed can lead to serious health complications, so it’s vital to seek a diagnosis and medical care as soon as possible. You can find out if an STD is causing your discharge at the doctor or privately at your home with an at-home STD test.

Have you ever wondered what white discharge in men means? While it’s not uncommon for men to experience some type of discharge, it can still be concerning when it’s a different color.

In this article, we’ll discuss what it means if a man has white discharge and what you should do if you’re experiencing it. We’ll also share some of the possible causes of white discharge in men, the risks of leaving it unaddressed, when you should seek medical care, and how you can test for the cause using at-home tests like myLAB Box’s sexual health tests.

Causes of White Discharge in Men

What does white discharge mean in men? It usually indicates an underlying health problem. There are a variety of underlying health problems that can cause white penile discharge.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary system, including the:

  • Kidneys
  • Ureters (the tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder)
  • Bladder
  • Urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body when you urinate)

UTIs are more common in women than men, but men can still get UTIs. They’re often caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra.

When you have a UTI, you may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Pain or a burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Lower abdominal pain or discomfort

One of the less common symptoms of a UTI is a milky white discharge in men. This discharge is caused by inflammation and irritation of the urethra. In some cases, the discharge may be yellow or green and have a foul odor.

Since UTI symptoms often resemble those of more serious conditions like STDs and STIs, it’s important to test as soon as you notice any changes in your discharge or urinary habits. Get a simple urine test at a health care clinic or do it from the comfort of your home with myLAB Box’s rapid UTI home test kit.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

More serious conditions that can cause colored penile discharge are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can cause white penile discharge in men. They’re caused by bacteria and can easily be transmitted during unprotected sexual activity — such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex — with an infected partner.

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can infect both men and women. It can cause white cloudy discharge in men, as well as pain or burning during urination.

Gonorrhea is another bacterial infection that can cause thick white discharge in men. It can also cause other symptoms, such as:

  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Itching
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding from the penis

The white penile discharge resulting from chlamydia and gonorrhea is usually a sign of inflammation or infection of the urethra. In some cases, the discharge may be yellow or green and have a bad odor.

Since the symptoms can often resemble each other, it’s important to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea often — especially if you’re sexually active.

You can get tested by your urologist or at a sexual health clinic. You can also test yourself privately from the comfort of your home with a home test like myLAB Box’s at-home chlamydia and gonorrhea test.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis (trich) is an STI caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. It’s more common in women, but men can still get it. It’s often asymptomatic in men, but you still may experience a range of symptoms.

The white penile discharge caused by trich can be accompanied by other symptoms that affect the genital area, such as:

  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Soreness
  • Pain or burning during urination

The discharge may be thin or thick and may have a foul odor.

Preventing trich involves practicing safe sex by using barrier contraception and getting regular STI testing. You can get tested by visiting your doctor or do it yourself using an at-home test like myLAB Box’s at-home trich test.

Mycoplasma Genitalium

Mycoplasma genitalium (MG or Mgen) is a type of bacterium that can cause an STI in both men and women. It’s often asymptomatic, but you may experience symptoms like:

  • White or clear penile discharge
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Pain or discomfort during sex

The discharge may be thin and watery or thick and puslike. Mgen is difficult to detect through traditional STI testing methods, so it may require a special test to confirm the presence of the bacteria.

If you notice any symptoms of the infection, you can visit your health care professional or take a specialized at-home STI test made specifically for Mgen, such as myLAB Box’s Mycoplasma genitalium home test.

Balanitis

Balanitis is a common condition that occurs when the head of the penis becomes inflamed.

The white or yellow penile discharge you experience with balanitis is usually accompanied by other symptoms that affect the penis, such as:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching or burning skin
  • Pain or discomfort during sex

The fluids from the discharge may be thin or thick and may have a foul odor.

You can prevent balanitis by maintaining good hygiene, avoiding irritants, and practicing safe sex. You should also complete regular STI testing to detect and treat any infections before they become too severe.

Prostatitis

Prostatitis is another common condition that occurs when your prostate glands become inflamed. A variety of factors can cause it, including bacterial infection, STDs/STIs, injury, or an autoimmune disorder.

Men with prostatitis experience a range of symptoms in addition to white or yellow discharge, including:

  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Pain or discomfort in the genital area

The discharge may be thin or thick and may have a foul odor.

The Risks of Leaving Abnormal Penile Discharge Unaddressed

If left untreated, the underlying conditions that abnormal penile discharge can lead to serious health complications for men, including:

  • UTIs: Kidney infection, chronic kidney damage, sepsis, and prostatitis
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea: Chronic pain, infertility, prostatitis, epididymitis (painful inflammation of the tube that carries sperm from the testicles), increased risk of contracting other STIs, and rectal infections
  • Trich: Increased risk of catching other STIs, urethritis (painful inflammation of the urethra), and persistent genital itching, burning, and discharge that disrupts daily life
  • Mycoplasma genitalium: Urethritis, increased risk of contracting other STIs, persistent genital itching, burning, and discharge that disrupts daily life, and possible infertility
  • Balanitis: Scarring of the penis, difficulty urinating, and increased risk of contracting other STIs
  • Prostatitis: Chronic pain, infertility, and increased risk of prostate cancer

When To Seek Medical Care

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a UTI, STI, or conditions like balanitis and prostatitis, it’s important to see a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

If the discharge is accompanied by pain, discomfort, or difficulty urinating, it could be a sign of an infection or inflammation of the urinary tract, prostate gland, or reproductive organs. If it’s accompanied by itching, burning, or redness, it could be a sign of an STI.

If it occurs after unprotected sexual activity, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to rule out the possibility of an STI.

No matter the cause, prompt diagnosis and proper treatment can help prevent the spread of infection to other people and reduce the risk of complications.

Find Out if an STD Is Causing Your Discharge

White discharge in men can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections and STDs. While some amount of discharge may be normal, it’s important to pay attention to any changes in color, consistency, or odor because they could be signs of an underlying issue. If you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms or concerns, it’s always best to get tested and speak with a health care provider for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Getting tested for STDs and infections can be expensive, inconvenient, and embarrassing. That’s why myLAB Box offers an excellent alternative to traditional doctor visits. We provide a wide range of at-home sexual health tests so you can privately and discreetly test for any underlying causes of penile discharge from the comfort of your own home. Check out our home sexual health tests today to begin taking control of your sexual health.

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