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Male discharge is fluid that seeps out of the urethra - but not urine or sperm. Such discharge often indicates a sexually transmitted disease. A visit to the doctor is inevitable.
Often the urethra has become inflamed and we are talking about urethritis. Gonorrheal urethritis is caused by gonococci, bacteria. These trigger the gonorrhea. Other bacteria, viruses, and fungi also cause urethritis, including chlamydia, mycoplasma, herpes viruses, and yeast.
The discharge is often white and translucent, but also yellowish and sometimes greasy or slimy.
Urethritis is also manifested by pain when urinating or itching in and on the penis, strong urge to urinate at night, pain in the lymph nodes, or itchy rash in the genital area.
Urethritis is only one cause of discharge in men. Allergies to fabrics in underwear, certain medications, or lubricants can also cause discharge.
Injuries are also associated with discharge, which can be blood as well as wound secretions. Such (minor) injuries can result from peeing or sexual intercourse, from rough pressure and strong shaking while masturbating, or from BDSM practices that pinch off the penis. Sexual acts involving the insertion of objects into the urethra can also lead to discharge.
The victim should not feel shame, but should tell the urologist exactly whether and how he could have been injured. Outflow sometimes points to far more dangerous illnesses, and the doctor should be familiar with harmless triggers so as not to needlessly carry out extensive examinations as to whether there are signs of a tumor in the prostate or urethra.
A weakened immune system is also often accompanied by male discharge, especially in diabetes mellitus or AIDS.
A urethral catheter, a narrowed urethra, or surgery can also cause discharge.
Self-treatment and prevention
To prevent infections of the urethra, adequate personal hygiene is recommended - i.e. wash. Many men fail to thoroughly clean their penis, and especially the glans area under the foreskin then becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and fungi. Even if it sounds banal, changing your underwear every day is part of it, which some men don't consider important either.
If someone suffers from venereal diseases such as chlamydia and the partner should absolutely know about the disease and seek treatment. It is advisable to avoid sexual intercourse during the illness, otherwise you should use a condom if necessary.
Anyone suffering from an allergy should avoid the substances that trigger the reaction, for example looking for alternatives to certain lubricants or medications.
Activating the body's defenses helps with urethritis as well as with inflammation in general. A balanced diet, light exercise, no nicotine, alcohol and other drugs, as well as sufficient vitamins and minerals weaken the inflammation.
Home remedies like nettle tea help with urethral infections. First, they flush the pathogens out and at the same time immunize the mucous membranes. All in all, drinking a lot helps, water as well as herbal tea or diluted juices.
Pruning or not?
Sometimes a foreskin narrowing is the cause of the discharge. First, such a narrowed foreskin hurts when it is pulled back, and in the worst case, intercourse like masturbation becomes torture; second, a narrowed foreskin favors infections.
One function of the foreskin is to protect the sensitive glans from irritation, and in particular to prevent injuries to this part of the body. However, if the foreskin is narrowed, it can no longer fulfill this function, since it is no longer pushed back and forth, secretions and foreign bodies accumulate.
In such cases, severing the foreskin prevents inflammation. A urologist should be consulted for the decision.
A general removal of a healthy foreskin from disease prevention is, however, superfluous and not advisable because of the possible psychological consequences. The foreskin is extremely rich in nerves and accordingly sensitive. Removing them over a large area robs the affected person of part of his sensation of pleasure.
In addition, it protects the glans and thus, with sufficient care, prevents infections. So if you want to prevent infections and don't suffer from a foreskin narrowing, soap and water are the better alternative to a scalpel.
Discharge from the urethra, although not necessarily, but can indicate serious illnesses. Therefore, if no "harmless" cause is known, a urologist should be consulted. Unfortunately, vaginal discharge is still a taboo subject among men, and many men find it difficult to talk relaxed about physical complaints in the genital area.
The genitals are as much a part of the body as the eyes, teeth or skin, and there is no reason to be ashamed - least of all to a doctor who specializes in such problems.
The doctor takes a urethra swab and examines whether and how many white blood cells it contains. White blood cells show that the immune system repels infection and therefore indicate urithritis.
In addition, the urine sample usually also shows the pathogen. The discharge on the other hand does not clearly show whether gonorrhea or other inflammation is present.
Under the microscope, the doctor recognizes the bacteria that are responsible for gonorrhea. Chlamydia can also be detected in the smear.
The Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium transmits gonorrhea. It takes two to eight days after the infection to show the first symptoms - especially in the form of a purulent discharge.
The patient has pain when urinating, that is, whether small splinters penetrate the urethra from the inside. The discharge is initially slimy, but then turns into a “cheese-like” cream. Three out of four suffer from purulent discharge, one in ten is flaky, one in twenty is clear. A relief is shown by the fact that the discharge from a mushy cream turns back into mucus.
The gonorhoee is transmitted almost exclusively through genital, oral and anal intercourse and lasts for months if it is not cured. As a result, the weakened genital area is also unable to ward off other pathogens; this often leads to further infections.
Gonorhoee is not only painful; If it spreads to the epididymis, it sometimes leads to impotence. The anus area can also be affected, especially if the infection runs through anal sex. Rare, but extremely uncomfortable is gonococcal sepsis: the infection spreads into the blood, causing arthritis, inflammation of the wrists, knees and hands, fever and chills.
Other inflammation of the urethra is usually shown by a translucent discharge, pain when peeing and a persistent burning pain in the urethra. Sexual intercourse is considered the main way to transmit the corresponding diseases such as chlamydia or herpes.
If it is chlamydia, antibiotics such as doxycycline, fluocholones or macrolides help.
The patient and sexual partner should go to the doctor for check-ups for at least two weeks to see if the infection persists or recurs.
The patient should report honestly about their sexual contacts in order to prevent other people from becoming infected and not to strain his intimate relationship. Recurrent inflammation of the urethra puts the patient and partner under considerable pressure. In some cases, partners suspected that the infected lied to them and became infected in secret sexual affairs. While this is not out of the question, a new infection by an untreated partner who shows no symptoms is much more common, or the cure was not complete. Both partners should therefore be fully informed about the disease. Medical confidentiality applies. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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