Why am I having urethral discharge?

urethra, urethral discharge, stds, sex,infection

You should be examined for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections

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What you need to know:

  • Since the discharge has been present for several months, it would be advisable for you to have analysis and culture of samples from the urine and discharge, checking for obvious infection, and also checking for other specific possible infections such as chlamydia test, herpes simplex test; cytomegalovirus test, trichomoniasis test, among others.
  • This is important because many of these infections are not normally visible in the routine tests.

My name is Billy, 27.

I have been having this problem for almost five months now – a mild clear urethral discharge.  All tests show no sign of any bacterial infection. What could be the possible cause? The discharge is clear, no odour.
 

Dear Billy,
When you have discharge from the urethra, you are most likely to have infection, which may be bacterial, viral, parasitic or fungal. The infection may be restricted to the urethra or may have spread to other parts such as the urinary bladder, the prostrate or the epididymis. If the infection is not treated or is under-treated, then the symptoms may persist for a while.

Since the discharge has been present for several months, it would be advisable for you to have analysis and culture of samples from the urine and discharge, checking for obvious infection, and also checking for other specific possible infections such as chlamydia test, herpes simplex test; cytomegalovirus test, trichomoniasis test, among others.

This is important because many of these infections are not normally visible in the routine tests. You should also be examined for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. It may also be advisable to have the prostrate and the testicles examined by a urologist. Other tests are done depending on other symptoms that you may have. 

Despite testing negative for bacterial infection, it is advisable to get treatment then re-assess after 21 days. Any current or recent (six months before discharge started) sexual partner should also be treated to avoid reinfection. Also avoid anything that may irritate the urethra or cause inflammation, and avoid pressing the penis to check for discharge.

Recurrent discharge usually means there is recurrent inflammation that puts someone at high risk of developing complications like urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra) and cancer, and it is therefore important for it to be treated early and to avoid recurrence.


What is the difference between hyperventilation, asphyxiation, shortness of breath and asthmatic attacks? Could you shed light on respiratory symptoms that afflict Covid victims? How can one preserve the lungs?
Alnashir

Dear Alnashir,
Hyperventilation is breathing faster or more deeply than usual. It may happen due to anxiety, nausea, exercise, or due to respiratory disease, or it may be used as part of treatment for brain edema.

Shortness of breath or dyspnea refers to feeling as though you cannot get enough air because the chest feels tight, or there is difficulty breathing or you feel suffocated.

Asphyxia is lack of blood flow and oxygen in the brain, leading to damage or death of brain cells.

An asthmatic attack is a worsening or exacerbation of asthma, where a trigger causes a severe allergic reaction in the airways leading to narrowing of the airways due to muscle contraction, inflammation of the airways and excessive mucus production. This usually causes wheezing, cough and difficulty breathing. 

In most people, Covid-19 will cause fever, fatigue, loss of taste or smell and cough. The disease can affect many body systems, and the respiratory systems include cough, sore throat, runny nose, chest pain and difficulty breathing

The lungs are part of the respiratory system; whose purpose is to help you to breath. All cells in the body need oxygen and produce carbon dioxide as a waste gas. When you breathe in, the lungs remove oxygen from the breathed-in air, and this oxygen passes into the blood stream and is supplied to each cell. The waste gas carbon dioxide is then released from the cells into the bloodstream, which carries it back to the lungs and is removed from the body when you breathe out. This process is essential for life, and therefore the health of the lungs is vital.

It is impossible to completely prevent lung problems, but there are measures that can be taken to optimise lung health. One is to engage in regular exercise so as to make the lungs more efficient, which also helps to delay the detrimental effects of aging on lung health and the effects of lung diseases.

Another is to regularly perform deep breathing exercise. Also, avoid exposure to pollutants and irritants like smoke (cigarettes, charcoal, wood, other fuel), mold, dust, synthetic air fresheners and harsh cleaning products. Make sure your living space is always well ventilated. In addition, you can prevent infections by maintaining good general health, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, staying well hydrated, practising hand hygiene, avoiding crowded places, getting vaccinated and early treatment of illness. To prevent Covid-19, practise social distancing, wear a mask, practise hand hygiene and get vaccinated.

Hi doc, what's the difference between retractile testicle and ascending testicle? And what are their treatments?
B.C.

Dear B.C.,
The testicles are formed within the abdomen and go down to the scrotum during the last three months of pregnancy, so most baby boys are born with both testicles in the scrotum. If the testicles have not descended by the time of birth, in most boys, they will come down within the first six months. In most cases, the missing testicle or testicles are undescended, meaning they are trapped in the path between the abdomen and the scrotum or within the abdomen and have never reached the scrotum. A scan may be done to determine the exact location of the missing testicle and surgery may be done to place it correctly or remove it completely depending on where it is found and the condition it is in.

A retractile testicle on the other hand is a testicle that descended normally into the scrotum but does not stay there: it moves back and forth between the scrotum and pubic/groin area, and can be moved by hand. This happens because of an overactive cremaster muscle, the muscle that holds the testes. The muscle normally pulls the testicles back into the groin in response to cold, anxiety or fear, or stimulation of a particular nerve root. If this muscle is overactive, then there is testicular retraction and it usually happens with just one testicle. This  happens in young boys and resolves by itself with the testicle settling in the correct place in the scrotum permanently before or during puberty without any intervention. 

Rarely, the testicle retracts to the groin area and gets stuck there, and cannot be moved. This is called an ascended testicle or acquired undescended testicle. The doctor will observe this for a while, allowing time for the problem to resolve itself. If it doesn’t, then surgery can be done to permanently place it in the scrotum.

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