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What Are the Common Causes of Pus in Semen?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By fBoyle — On Oct 29, 2013

I didn't even know that a male yeast infection is possible until I got it. Apparently, the symptoms of a yeast infection in men and women are basically the same. I had itching and white colored pus in my semen. My wife was the one who pointed out that these are symptoms of yeast infections and the doctor confirmed it.

By literally45 — On Oct 29, 2013

Pus in semen caused by infections can be yellow or green. It might or might not have a foul odor.

There is a condition where urine enters the prostate and turns semen yellow too. So yellow semen does not have to be a sign of STDs. But urine can cause infection in the prostate.

If there is actually a yellow or green pus discharge from the penis (called a drip), that's a sure sign of infection and an STD is highly likely.

When doctors see these symptoms though, they usually test for STDs along with other infections automatically. So the cause is determined fairly quickly.

I had gonorrhea several years back and I had a green drip along with a burning sensation while urinating. Thankfully, gonorrhea is easy to treat. I only needed a round of antibiotics.

By serenesurface — On Oct 28, 2013

What does pus in semen caused by gonorrhea look like?

Does it have a particular color or odor?

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