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Pus in semen is a sign of bacterial or fungal infection in the urinary tract. Common causes of the symptom include the sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) chlamydia and gonorrhea, thrush, and non-specific urethritis. In some cases, prostatitis patients also experience pus in semen. Treatment of the underlying infection will cause the pus to disappear over time. Severe infections might require surgical drainage of the affected areas in order to eliminate any remaining pus.
Chlamydia is one of the most commonly-contracted STDs and, as such, is a primary cause for pus in semen. The disease is caused by a chlamydia trachomatis infection, spread primarily through sexual contact. Men with chlamydia often do not show signs of infection until one to three weeks after the initial exposure. Several other symptoms might accompany the abnormal discharge, including burning sensations in the genitals, testicular pain, and itching in the affected area. Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotic medications, such as doxycycline and azithromycin.
Gonorrhea is another leading cause of pus in semen, with over 700,000 infections per year in the United States alone. Males infected with Neisseria gonorrhoeae might not exhibit any symptoms of infection; those that do, however, might experience symptoms similar to chlamydia any time between one to four days after initial exposure. Although the infection can be treated with antibiotics, new strains of gonorrhea have developed a resistance to drugs, leading many doctors to recommend two types of antibiotic medication for treatment.
Penile thrush, more commonly known as a male yeast infection, occurs when the fungus Candida albicans proliferates in or around the genitalia, particularly in the urethra. Symptoms that might occur alongside pus in semen include the development of red sores on the penis, itching, and an unusual smell from the penis or discharge. Thrush can be treated by keeping the affected area clean and dry and by taking anti-fungal or antibiotic medication. The same treatment follows for non-specific urethritis, a swelling of the urethra caused by bacteria or fungi outside of those previously identified.
Prostatitis is a swelling of the prostate gland commonly caused by bacterial infection, although there have been cases in which no infection was identified. The gland's enlargement can cause significant discomfort to the patient and is worsened by the possible accumulation of pus around or within the gland. Depending on the severity of the infection, doctors might need to surgically drain the prostate of any remaining pus or dead cells to ease the patient's symptoms. Bacterial prostatitis can be treated with antibiotics; prostatitis with no clear infection, however, has no known effective cure. Symptoms can only be temporarily alleviated with pain-relievers and other pain management techniques.