What You Should Know About a Smelly Penis

What You Should Know About a Smelly Penis

It is normal to notice odor coming from your penis. However, if you notice a different scent or it has become stronger, it could be a warning symptom of a medical condition.

Most times, these conditions are not severe and is easily treated without much hassle. For instance, men that are not circumcised could experience a buildup of skin cells beneath their foreskin.

Most times, this is caused by bad hygiene habits and could result in an infection. STIs could also cause your penis to smell.

These are the major causes of a smelly penis;


This is referred to as the buildup of oils, skin cells, and moisture in the area near the penis shaft. It is a lot common in men that are not circumcised. The area around foreskin consistently requires this to act as a lubricant.

If you sweat too much or don’t regularly clean your penis, it could lead to excessive buildup of smegma, which would result in the development of white smelly lumps that could lead to the growth of bacteria.

If you don’t treat this condition, your penis could become infected or inflamed.

What to do

If you want to get rid of smegma, follow these steps;

  • Pull back your foreskin
  • Then, have your penis washed-down
  • Next, you should have your penis rinsed
  • Use a clean, soft towel to pat your penis dry, ensure you do not rub it
  • After successfully cleaning the smegma, revert your foreskin to its normal position

If the smegma is properly washed away, your penis would no longer be smelling. If the smegma persists, try these steps again.

Also, visit your healthcare provider if these signs occur;

  • Foreskin that won’t return to its normal position
  • Reddishness
  • Inflammation
  • Soreness

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections happen when a bacteria or virus infects anywhere in your urinary tract. This infection is mostly caused by;

  • swelling groinSexual activities
  • Urinary retention, where you do not empty your bladder of urine
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • Enlarged prostate

When you get a UTI, you might notice a fish-like odor coming from your penis. In addition to the other, you may notice other symptoms like;

  • Constantly needing to urinate, despite not passing a lot of urine.
  • While urinating, you might experience a burning feeling
  • Urine that is pink or pale

Uncircumcised men are more susceptible to having urinary tract infections. These infections are not usually severe, but they could cause kidney infections if left untreated.

What to do

When you have a urinary tract infection, ensure you visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Using OTC medications like phenazopyridine can help to ease aches and prevent the spread of the condition until you can see your doctor.

Once you have been diagnosed with a UTI, your healthcare provider will give you antibiotics to help with the infection. The most likely options include;

  • Fosfomycin (Monurol)
  • Cephalexin (Keflex)
  • Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin)

People that are prone to getting UTIs are often given antibiotics in small doses, which would be taken for a couple of months.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection of the penis occurs if there is an uncontrollable growth of Candida fungus. A yeast infection is also referred to as thrush. This condition can cause your penis to have a bad smell.

These are the other symptoms of a yeast infection include;

  • Irritation or redness
  • Burning or itching
  • Development of white, thick materials in some areas
  • Unusually moist, shiny, or white skin of the penis

Yeast infection can also be as a result of not cleaning your penis regularly, particularly if you are uncircumcised. Also, you can get it through sex if your partner has the infection.

A yeast infection can also result in additional infections and inflammation when not treated for an extended period.

What to do

Visit your healthcare provider if you are having symptoms of this condition. They will provide your with medications to help with the condition.

Common options include;

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Miconazole (Desenex)
  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)
  • Imidazole (Canesten)

These are accessible as OTC medications.


Balanitis happens when there is an inflammation that affects the penis head. A similar condition known as balanoposthitis occurs if there is an inflammation of the foreskin.

This condition can be as a result of;

  • Poor hygiene
  • Having sex without protection
  • Buildup of smegma
  • Infections
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Fragranced body wash or soaps

Almost all of these factors could give your penis a bad odor. Other symptoms of balanitis include;

  • A buildup of fluid under the skin
  • Redness
  • Irritation and itching
  • Swelling
  • While urination, you will get a burning feeling

Also, uncircumcised men tend to suffer from balanitis more. If you don’t treat it, balanitis could make your foreskin become tight and no longer able to withdraw.

What to do

An Epsom salt bath has been found to ease any swelling and aches. If you are experiencing symptoms that last for more than two days, you should visit your healthcare provider. They could find out the main cause and hook you up with the best treatment plan.

Common options include;

  • Antibiotic like bacitracin/polymyxin (Polysporin) help fight infections
  • Cream or ointment for irritation like hydrocortisone (Cortiad)
  • Antifungal creams like Clotrimazole (Lotrimin) help fight infections caused by fungus


This is an STI, and as such, it can be contracted from the anus, mouth, or vagina of an infected person. In addition to affecting your penis, it can also affect your throat and rectum. Gonorrhea does not usually cause symptoms.

However, if there are symptoms, you would have an odor in your penis and experience the following;

  • A burning feeling while urinating
  • Pain while pooping
  • Soreness, itching, or bleeding close to your genitals

What to do

Anytime you suspect gonorrhea, ensure you visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible. When you have been diagnosed, they will inject you with ceftriaxone (Rocephin) in addition to an oral medication like azithromycin (Zithromax) or doxycycline (Monodox).

It normally takes up to seven days to complete treatment and fully recover. This is a point where you could still pass the infection, which is why it is advisable to avoid sexual activities until after your treatment.


This is also a sexually transmitted infection, and it can be contracted by having anal, vaginal, or oral sex with a partner that has the infection. Chlamydia also doesn’t really cause symptoms, but you could have a smelly penis if there are symptoms.

shocked guyOther symptoms include;

  • Abnormal discharge
  • Swelling or pain of the testicle
  • A burning feeling while urinating

If not attended to, chlamydia could cause both partners to suffer from some reproductive issues.

What to do

When you suspect that you have been infected with chlamydia, you should visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible. When you have been diagnosed, your doctor would then give you antibiotics that would resolve the condition.

Some of the common options include;

  • Azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Doxycycline (Monodox)
  • Amoxicillin (Amoxil)

Treatment time for chlamydia is about seven days, and you are advised not to have sex during this period as the infection can still be passed.

Non-Gonococcal Urethritis

This is a condition that occurs when there is an inflammation of the urethra (opening that passes urine). It is referred to as non-gonococcal since gonorrhea is not the factor that causes it.

It could be as a result of bacteria and sometimes viruses that can be contracted through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Chlamydia is mostly responsible, although various organisms can also cause NGU.

Symptoms of this condition include;

  • Irritation or soreness
  • A burning feeling while urinating
  • Your penis releases a smelly, pale, or cloudy discharge

If this infection is left untreated, it could spread to the prostate gland or testicles, which could result in infertility.

What to do

Ensure you visit your healthcare provider if you start noticing symptoms of an NGU infection. When you have been diagnosed, your healthcare provider will give you antibiotics that would help resolve the condition.

Medications like azithromycin (Zithromax) and doxycycline (Monodox) are the most common. The typical period for recovery from an NGU infection after treatment is seven days.

Ensure that you do not engage in any sexual activity as you could still pass the infection.

Finding relief and preventing recurrence

If you follow these tips, you would efficiently improve your condition and prevent a recurrence.

  • If you are not circumcised, ensure you retract your foreskin while urinating as this helps to prevent irritation from the urine that gets under it.
  • Take you bathe as often as you should and properly wash your penis to prevent the buildup of bacteria and dirt.
  • Never dry your penis by rubbing as it could lead to irritation. Always remember to pat it dry.
  • Do not wear tight underwear, instead put on unrestricting underwear made of cotton. This would ensure that the area around the groin can breathe to help prevent the buildup of bacteria and sweat that could cause odor.
  • Try to keep the hair in the pubic area trimmed as lengthy hair in the pubic area can trap dirt, moisture, and bacteria. Do not completely shave off the hair, but keep it short.