24 December 2007

I have small reddish bumps at the base of my glans and minor discharge, is this normal ?

I have small reddish bumps at the base of my glans. They sometimes get swollen and are painful to the touch. I am also uncircumcised. Is this normal for someone who is active sexually? I have also had some minor clear discharges with little to no burning. Does that coincide with the previous symptom?

Kay Wo

Hi Joe,

First off, let me thank you for writing in to us at AlterHeros. So if I understand correctly, you’re writing in with two concerns:

1) You have small reddish bumps at the base of the penile head (also known as the glans) and you are asking whether or not this is normal for someone who defines his sex life as “active”

2) You have minor clear discharges with little burning and are wondering if this relates in any way to the reddish bumps.

Automatically, the first advice that comes to mind is for you to go see your family doctor or other health care provider to get properly assessed and investigated. Even though many people feel embarrassed or anxious about seeing a doctor about their health concerns, rest assured that these professionals have seen everything from herpes to haemorrhoids and are trained to treat you in a non-judgemental manner and with the strictest confidentiality.

It is difficult to give an opinion from the information you have given, especially without a physical examination. Sometimes, you can get red bumps on your penis and it could be simply some kind of skin irritation and/or folliculitis-inflammation of the hair follicles- that will go away on their own. On the other hand, it could also be something more serious, particularly if your symptoms do not go away or if they worsen. When you say you have an active sex life, does this include practicing safe sex (i.e. using condoms, adequate lubrication etc… each time)? If it does then having red bumps could be somewhat unusual, but then again, it could be something normal and benign. If you have had or are having unprotected sex, then the bumps could be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as herpes, genital warts or even syphilis. However, because many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can produce no symptoms for a certain period, which varies according to each infection and each individual, the only way to make sure you are not infected is to get tested for STIs. In terms of the clear discharge, it is unlikely that it is related to the reddish bumps. Clear discharge coming from your penis could be a symptom of an infection such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia or trichomoniasis; neither of which have red bumps as a symptom. All that being said, it is difficult to be certain of any of this without some kind of physical inspection. If you are really worried and you want to be sure of your state of health, the best thing to do is to go and see your family doctor; (s)he is the only person that can tell you exactly what is going on.

It’s great to know that you are concerned about your sexual health. Keep the chances of catching any STIs low by using a condom every time you engage in any sex play with your partner. Remember also that even this does not completely protect you against herpes or the human papilloma virus (HPV). Having an active sex life does NOT imply you have an STI but having frequent unprotected sex will definitely increase the risk of infection. Thanks again for your inquiry and please write to us again if you have additional questions or concerns.

K-Wo, for Alterheros