Six Possible Causes of Smelly Penis

Smelly penis can be reduced by properly cleaning the penis and keeping the surrounding area clean. However, some conditions may cause the penis to smell, even when thorough hygiene is observed.

Causes of a smelly penis can include:


Balanitis is a rare skin condition that mostly affects uncircumcised males. It causes irritation on the tip of the penis. Some of the primary causes of balanitis may include infection, poor hygiene, psoriasis, and allergic reactions to medications, condoms, or soaps.


Smegma mostly has to do with poor hygiene. It occurs when the accumulation of dead skin cells and the natural oils keep the penis moist. If a person does not clean their penis regularly, smegma can accumulate, resulting in a thick white substance.

This accumulation is more common on uncircumcised penises as it forms around the head of the penis. Smegma can increase the risk of bacterial infection and prevent the foreskin from easily moving when the penis is erect.

Yeast infection

A yeast infection occurs when an overgrowth of Candida fungus is present on the penis. Though yeast infection mostly affects vagina, it can also affect penis.

Other accompanying symptoms apart from bad smell, include:

  • Irritation on the penis
  • Itching sensation
  • White discharge with cottage cheese consistency
  • Unusual moisture on the penis
  • Burning itching sensation

If left untreated for long, yeast infection may lead to further infections and complications.

Sexually transmitted infection (STI)

Sexually transmitted infection (STIs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia may cause a penis to smell.

Symptoms of chlamydia include:

  • Testicle pain
  • Painful urination
  • White, watery discharge from the penis

Symptoms of gonorrhea include:

  • green, white, or yellow discharge from the penis
  • redness in the foreskin
  • pain or burning sensation while urinating

You should stop any form of sexual activities if you suspect you have STI and consult your doctor.

Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU)

NGU is inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube linking the tip of the penis to the bladder. Inflammation of the urethra is due to an STI, such as chlamydia. However, in cases of NGU, the cause of the swelling is mostly unidentified.

Symptoms of NGU may include:

  • frequent urination
  • cloudy or white discharge from the penis
  • pain while urination
  • soreness near tip of penis

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

When bacteria or a virus gets into the urinary tract, it can lead to a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs can cause:

  • cloudy or pink urine
  • smelly penis
  • frequent urges to urinate
  • burning sensation when urinating

Risk factors for developing UTIs include:

  • sexual intercourse
  • diabetes
  • kidney stones
  • an enlarged prostate
  • urinary catheter

Early treatment of UTI can help prevent further complications.

How to Prevent Penis Odor

Proper hygiene like washing the genital at least once a day can help prevent infections and reduce any penis smell. Allow your penile area to be properly dry before wearing any clothing because moist environment can provide a breeding place for bacteria. In addition to daily washing, a person should consider taking some extra steps to keep the penis clean. These steps include:

  • clean the penis after sexual activity
  • put on loose-fitting clothes
  • cleaning under the foreskin if uncircumcised
  • using barrier protection during sexual activity
  • avoiding sexual activity when either partner has an STI or other infection

Treatment and Home remedies

The cause of penile odor will determine the type of treatment to administer. If a lack of proper hygiene is the cause, a person can wash their penis more regularly with warm water.

Avoid using heavily scented products like perfumes, scented cream, or cologne, on the genitals because they can irritate the skin and increase a person’s risk of infections.

Treatment for smelly penis may include antibiotics and antifungal medications.

Disclaimer: The content provided on is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional. 

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