Even if you have no other symptoms, blood coming from your penis can be alarming. While there are many effective treatment options for what’s causing blood in your urine or semen, it’s important to see your healthcare provider.
Reasons for bleeding from the penis can range from an especially vigorous workout to more serious medical conditions.
In some cases, the presence of other symptoms can help narrow down possible causes. Your doctor will do some testing to determine the underlying cause of your condition and make a diagnosis.
The penis has two main jobs. It helps carry urine and semen out of the body. These two tasks are the end results of complex processes that involve other body parts and functions. A problem upstream can lead to bleeding from the penis and other symptoms.
Blood in urine
Blood in semen
Other discharge from your penis could be a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
See your doctor or a urologist
If the bleeding coincides with a fever, you may have an infection that could require antibiotics or other medications to treat it.
Regardless of the cause or specific symptoms, you should see your doctor or a urologist. A urologist is a physician who specializes in the health of male reproductive organs and treating diseases of the male and female urinary tracts.
Hematospermia and hematuria are common symptoms that urologists see every day. Though you may feel awkward at first discussing your symptoms, rest assured that your doctor has heard it all before.
Because the signs of some causes tend to overlap, it’s important to be as thorough as possible in describing your symptoms and when they first started. This will help your doctor diagnose your condition.
The prostate is a small gland that helps produce some of the fluid that makes up semen. It’s located just below the bladder, and it surrounds the urethra. Usually, it’s the size of a walnut. As a man ages, it’s common for the prostate to increase in size and begin to squeeze the urethra.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) happens when the prostate becomes enlarged. Common symptoms of BPH include:
- small amounts of blood in the urine (often invisible to the naked eye, but detectable in a urine test)
- frequent urination
- difficulty with urination
Pressure on the urethra can cause some blood to appear in your urine. A physical exam and imaging, such as an ultrasound, can help diagnose BPH.
Medications, including alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, may be helpful in shrinking the prostate.
BPH and prostate cancer have similar symptoms. If your doctor suspects prostate cancer, they may recommend a prostate biopsy, in which a tissue sample is taken from the prostate gland.
Following the procedure, you may see blood in your urine and small amounts of red in your semen. These symptoms may last for a few weeks, and they typically clear up on their own.
A bacterial infection of the prostate, known as prostatitis, can cause blood in the urine and similar symptoms to BPH. Here’s more about the differences between the two conditions. Urine tests can sometimes reveal whether you have an infection.
An ultrasound or a CT scan may be used to view the size, shape, and health of the prostate. Your doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
Prostate cancer symptoms include:
- blood in your urine or semen
- painful or burning sensation when urinating
- difficulty maintaining an erection
- painful ejaculation
- pain or pressure in the rectum
Prostate cancer is usually a slow-growing cancer and, depending on your age and overall health, may not need treatment. Your doctor may recommend a watch-and-wait approach to monitor the disease.
A UTI can occur anywhere in the urinary tract, including the urethra, ureters, bladder, and kidneys. Usually, a UTI is located in the urethra or the bladder.
In addition to blood in the urine, other symptoms include a strong smell from your urine and a burning sensation when going to the bathroom.
A UTI is an infection that often starts with bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract that enters the urinary tract. Antibiotics are usually enough to treat the infection.
Blood in your urine that’s either bright red or very dark is a sign of bladder cancer. The blood may appear one day and not the next.
Hematuria is often the only symptom at first. Later on, urination may be difficult or painful. Keep in mind, however, that hematuria and painful urination are symptoms of many less serious conditions, such as a UTI.
Nevertheless, such symptoms should always be reported to your doctor.
Treatment for bladder cancer depends on the cancer’s stage. If the cancer is in an advanced stage, surgery to remove the bladder and replace it with a synthetic one is sometimes necessary.
Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy may be other options, depending on a number of factors.
Your kidneys perform some very important roles. In addition to helping the body pass waste as urine, they also help filter waste products out of your blood.
Pyelonephritis is a severe kidney infection, which typically starts as a UTI. It can develop if an infection in the bladder isn’t treated successfully.
- bloody or cloudy urine
- foul-smelling urine
- frequent or painful urination
- fever or chills
A kidney infection can permanently damage your kidneys. You may need strong antibiotics for a week or more to clear the infection.
Kidney stones are small, hardened deposits of minerals and salts that can form in your kidneys. They irritate the organ and may cause blood to appear in your urine.
If the stone hasn’t moved into a ureter, it may cause no symptoms at all. There may be a small amount of blood in your urine, but you may not be able to see it.
Once a stone has moved into your urinary tract, you may experience considerable pain in your back, side, or abdomen. Urinating can become painful, and your urine may become reddish, pink, or brown in color.
Imaging and urine tests can help your doctor diagnose a kidney stone. In some cases, all you can do is drink plenty of fluids and wait for the stone to pass.
In more serious cases, sound waves may help break up a stone. A ureteroscope, a thin, flexible tube, may be passed up through your urethra to remove the stone or break it up into tiny pieces so it can pass naturally.
Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis, the tube in the back of the testicles that carries sperm from the testicles to the vas deferens. It can be as painful as being hit in the testicles.
This treatable condition can also lead to blood in your semen and swelling of the testicles. Epididymitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It may start as a UTI or an STD, and it can be treated with antibiotics.
Orchitis is similar to epididymitis. Symptoms include a swelling of one or both testicles, as well as pain and sometimes blood in the urine or semen. You may also have a fever and nausea.
Orchitis can develop from a viral or bacterial infection, and it can be quite serious. If not treated properly, it can affect your fertility. Antibiotics can treat bacterial orchitis, but rest and pain relievers are about all you can do for viral orchitis.
Brachytherapy is a type of cancer treatment that involves a device that emits radioactive seeds near a cancerous tumor. It can be used to treat prostate cancer, but the side effects can include blood in your urine and stool.
Other potential symptoms include erectile dysfunction and problems urinating. If your doctor recommends brachytherapy, be sure to discuss all the potential risks and benefits.
An injury to the penis can cause blood in the urine or semen. It can be caused by an accident, a sports injury, or rough sex.
Other symptoms can include pain, bruising, or other noticeable marks on the outside of the penis. Treat any penis injury as a medical emergency, and seek medical attention immediately.
Several different types of sexually transmitted diseases can cause blood to appear in your semen. These include gonorrhea, genital herpes, and chlamydia.
In most cases, STDs are spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Symptoms often include painful or burning urination. STDs such as chlamydia can also cause you to have a discharge from your penis.
If you suspect that your symptoms are caused by an STD, tell your doctor about any activities that may have put you at risk. Antibacterial or antiviral drugs may be necessary to treat your condition.
Don’t ignore your symptoms. STDs can lead to serious health consequences, including infertility and infections that spread to other parts of the body.
A vasectomy is a form of birth control. It’s a surgical procedure in which the tubes in your testicles that carry sperm to your semen are cut, blocking any sperm from reaching your semen prior to ejaculation.
While the procedure is generally safe and well-tolerated, some of the initial side effects can include blood in your semen, mild pain, and swelling. These symptoms tend to disappear within several days.
Marathon runners and other athletes who engage in extreme workouts can sometimes find blood in their urine. It’s usually a temporary condition that lasts less than 72 hours.
Exercise-induced hematuria may have to do with the breakdown of red blood cells in the body and dehydration.
While seeing blood in your urine or semen can be upsetting, remember that it’s a symptom of a condition that may be easily treated. A simple course of antibiotics may be enough to treat bleeding and other symptoms.
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and available treatment options. A urologist can answer your questions and recommend the right tests or imaging to diagnose your condition.
Don’t hesitate to make an appointment, especially if you have other symptoms, such as a fever or pain. The sooner you learn what’s causing the bleeding from your penis, the sooner you can begin treatment.