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Overview of anal discharge

Anal discharge may be an unpleasant topic to discuss, but it’s an even more unpleasant symptom to experience. Also known as rectal discharge, this symptom consists of any discharge released from the rectum that is not blood or feces. A number of conditions, including STDs, can cause discharge of the anus.

Possible causes of anal discharge

The following conditions can cause anal discharge:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Anal fissure
  • Anal fistula or abscess
  • Certain inflammatory diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome

Anal discharge as an STD symptom

Anal discharge can be related to certain sexually transmitted diseases, specifically gonorrhea and chlamydia. These STDs are most commonly acquired through receptive anal sex, but it is possible that the infection migrated from the genital to the rectum.

Rectal STD infections can cause discharge, pain or soreness, bleeding, and/or painful bowel movements. Anal STD infections can also be asymptomatic.

Diagnosing anal discharge

STD testing can diagnose anal STD infections. Testing is performed through an anal swab. offers testing for anal gonorrhea and chlamydia infections through an at-home STD test. This test is only available by request via phone.

If anal discharge is caused by something other than an STD, a doctor can help diagnose the problem.

Treating anal discharge from STDs

When caused by a chlamydia or gonorrhea, these STDs are cured through antibiotics. It’s imperative to have STD testing performed before starting treatment; chlamydia and gonorrhea cause identical symptoms, but require different antibiotics. Be sure to avoid intercourse until treatment is completed and make sure any partners who were potential exposed are tested and treated.

Once treatment is completed, it is important to have a confirmation test performed to ensure treatment was successful, and you were not re-infected.

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