Concerned about an infection


Q: I'm here to ask mostly one question: What are the chances of my symptoms being something like a urinary tract infection or something more serious?

Symptoms:  Light to medium discharge only in the last few drops of urine, no intense itching or pain. The discharge was only present for about 1-2 hours max then cleared itself up after very light, almost needle point sized pain in my urethra. Discharge that was collected on a paper towel either faded to almost colorless or an orange color, not so much pink or red. Would appreciate as much insight as you have to offer.

A:   Hi.
Thank you for writing to ATD.

Any discharge after urination is not normal and may be a sign of infection. Pain is again a corroborating factor for infection. Non-specific urethritis (NSU) is a common cause of penis discharge. ‘Urethritis’ is the inflammation of the tube, and ‘non-specific’ means that is difficult to know the exact cause. NSU causes a discharge that is usually clear and is worse in the mornings. You may find it uncomfortable to pass urine, and you may feel irritation along the urethra inside the penis.
Gonorrhoea is caused by a bacteria called Gonococcus. Like NSU, it is caught during sex, and often causes a discharge and pain when you pass urine. The discharge can be any colour – yellow, green, white, cloudy or clear. The symptoms may be so slight that you hardly notice them, or there may be a lot of discharge. Gonorrhoea can spread to the testicles, causing pain, swelling and redness.
Occasionally, the urethra can become inflamed without there being any infection. For example, if you poke anything up the urethra you can damage the lining, which will become inflamed and cause a discharge. Similarly, antiseptics, perfumed bubble baths or strong soaps can inflame the urethra if you are very sensitive to them. And check to make sure the discharge is actually coming from the urethral opening, rather than from a sore area under the foreskin.
Any discharge from the penis needs to be checked out by a doctor – either your family doctor or, preferably, a doctor at a genitourinary medicine clinic. This is because chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be easily treated with the correct antibiotics but can cause problems for you and your future partners if they are not treated properly. Some types of the bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are resistant to certain antibiotics, but the genitourinary medicine clinic will be able to test you to select the correct one.

Hope this helps.

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