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Published: Sunday June 28, 2015 MYT 9:23:00 AM
Updated: Sunday June 28, 2015 MYT 10:53:21 AM

Penile ‘discharge’

Hunter S. Thompson, an American journalist and author, who founded the gonzo journalism movement and internationally known with the publication of Hell’s Angels once said: “Paranoia is just another word for ignorance” and “There is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment”. 

When it comes to sexually transmitted infection, many men (and women) would have the paranoia of catching infection at some point of their lives, having the “ignorance” of not using the protection. Indeed, the onset of the infection would not be a “paranoia” but a definite “the worst fears that will come true” at some point. 

Of course, the rule applies to all of us who are sexually active or have a history of a “mischievous” past. Can STI (sexually transmitted infections) inflict an individual who is completely “sexually naïve”? 

I think all of us would agree the answer is a definitely no! So when such individual is worried about catching STI when he or she is sexually inactive, that can be considered “paranoia”. 

The German physician, Wilhelm Wundt, well known as one of the founding figures of modern psychology once said: “Physiology is concerned with all those phenomena of life that present themselves to us in sense perception as bodily processes.” 

On the other hand, the Romanian philosopher and essayist Emil Cioran stated: “Everything is pathology, except for indifference.” I guess in life, there is a fine line between what is considered “physiological” or “pathological”. 

While we often associate penile discharge with “pathological” bad behavior, we often forget there is such a thing as normal “physiological” discharge. So, when is a penile “discharge” not a “discharge”? That is the question we need to address for a reader. 

Dear Dr G, 

If it is okay with doctor, I would prefer not mentioning my name. 

I am a 24-year-old man, have just finished my studies, and awaiting a job. I am single, never have sex, and never involve in any relationship.

For the past one week, I have been noticing yellowish discharge from my penis and it is worrying me. I do not have the tendency to urinate a lot.

I do not have any pain during urination and I also do not have leakage after urinating. 

I began to notice the yellowish discharge about one week ago when I was involved in “self indulgence”.

Initially I thought it was just some dirt, but throughout the week, whenever I am involved in the activity again, there will be discharge.

It was not smelly and it was not painful as well. I am usually active once every 2-3 days and sometimes once every week. Could this be infection? 

I would like to consult Dr G first before deciding to go to the clinic for further treatment.

After all, this is not something I am comfortable to talk about. Appreciate the attention and advice. 

Best regards,


Contrary to common beliefs, the penis is a rather complex organ. Apart from being a conduit for the outflow of urine, this is obviously an organ that is vital for sexual performance. 

In a reproductive sense, the male penis also plays a role in delivery millions of sperms, swimming in seminal secretion that is providing a medium for nutrition and sperm delivery. 

Although the main organ that provides the emissions necessary for reproduction comes from the prostate and seminal vesicles, there is also an important “discharge” arising from the male urethral to provide the “lubrication” easing penetrative intercourse. These are generated by the accessory sexual glands. 

Prostatorrhoea is a physiological “discharge” from the penis that describe the “escape” of the prostate fluid out of the penis independent of infection or orgasm.

Men typically noticed this when straining on urination or defecation. The “discharge” is typically clear or slightly white-yellowish and sticky in nature. 

This is merely an excess of secretion expressed by the pressure of hard stool on the prostate and seminal vesicle. As the “discharge” occurs both in sexually active and non-active men, it is often mistaken as gonorrhea.

Simple laboratory microscopic examination is usually confirmatory, as the liquid contains no pus or inflammatory cells. 

On the other hand, urethrorrhoea describes an “escape” of normal exudation from the penis without coitus.

This is simply an excess of secretion from the accessory sexual glands called the Cowper’s or Littre’s glands. The glands are located in the urethra, near the opening of the penis. 

The secretion occurs physiologically in some quantity at times of sexual excitement and before ejaculation.

Such incidence is more common in younger men, even with little or no sexual stimulations.

The ooze is typically viscid fluid that looks like mucus; again the laboratory tests can confirm the absence of infections. 

The famous French poet and journalist Anatole France once said: “It is well for the heart to be naïve and mind not to be.” 

We it comes to sexual health, it is good to be paranoid to explore the fine line between “physiological” and “pathological” secretions.

After all, it is naivety and ignorance that will usually get one into trouble! 

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.




Tags / Keywords: Health, penile, discharge, physiological, pathological

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