You are here:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Fishy Smelling Penis and Recurring Smegma, a lot of it


I am 17 years old, I am from Otago, New Zealand. About 7 or 8 weeks ago I had drunken, unprotected sex with someone, and her vagina really stunk of fish but for some reason, I still decided to go there. Ever since then my penis has had large amounts of smegma build up under the foreskin. I have done some research about smegma and it says to was it regularly and I have been doing so, but if I wash it in the morning it comes back by the afternoon, and it really stinks of fish! It is really disgusting. Also I have a slight redness on my penis and tiny bumbs on the head, I have not gone to get treatment for it and I would rather I didn't have to. Please let me know what I can do to help get rid of this.


Hello Sebastian,
Fishy odors from the vagina, penis, or elsewhere, are due to certain anerobic germs that liberate chemicals that have that unpleasant fishy smell. Get rid of or minimize these particular germs, and the odor should go away. Such germs can be washed away, but they must be replaced with the normal germs that normally colonize that area of skin, vagina, penis, anus, etc. These germs may prefer certain growth environments-- a more acidic (rather than alkaline), etc.

Smegma is just a collection of dead skin (epithelial) cells, skin oil (sebum), urine, and the correct types of anaerobic germs all mixed together. Washing with water (no soap though) helps to get rid of some of the existing dead skin cells mixed with sebum, urine, and anerobic germs. A medication may be needed, such as what your partner may have-- metrogel. Metrogel is pH adjusted as a vaginal cream or gel, and metronidazole cream is adjusted for the skin of the face, as another skin condition known as rosacea.  

The redness and tiny bumps on the glans (head) may be a consequence of this recurring irritation. Once the irritation is gone, the discharge will go away, and everything should normalize.

Good luck!

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mark P. Behar


Almost any question or concern about gay men's health issues, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal Pap smears, anal cytology (anal "Pap smears"), etc. There is no such thing as “d/d free” or “clean” (free of infection), so why do so many of us deceive ourselves into thinking that some people are indeed totally free from a potentially infectious disease, like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, warts, gonorrhea, etc., just because they say so? Clinical laboratory tests are not perfect, and having a “negative” or “nonreactive” test does not mean that a person is free from infection. Perhaps at the moment the test was taken, the person was uninfected; or, perhaps, the test wasn’t sensitive enough to detect presence of the infection. There is really no way that anyone can determine that they are truly “disease free,” and there are over a hundred of infectious conditions that can be spread without your knowing anything. Rather than trying to “pre-screen” or “serosort” a potential sex-mate with deceptive questions that are impossible to know by today’s technologies, a wiser option may be to consider everyone infected with something, and either use appropriate protective measures (“safer sex”), or accept the responsibility and consequences of possibly “catching” something from someone who’s hotter than expected (pun intended!). There is much research that supports the contention that an HIV positive person reliably taking HIV medications, and having an undetectable viral load, presents a lower risk for transmission of HIV than people who may think or say they are HIV negative, but are not. Food for thought!


Family Practice PA since 1981; Volunteer Clinician for Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic, Milwaukee, since 1977; answered STD questions submitted to their web site. Professionally lectured at national and regional Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner conferences, and at national gay & lesbian health conferences on topics including HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, STDs, human papilloma virus (the cause of venereal warts), abnormal Pap smears, gay and lesbian health issues, among others.

Co-Founder, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Gay Physician Assistant Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Inc.; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants; National Co-Chair (2012-16), National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay, Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT)

Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAPA) Q Visions, Quarterly Newsletter of the NABWMT

Bachelor's of Arts, 1972 (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Graduate Credits Experimental Psychology, 1972-75 (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) Physician Assistant, Bachelor's of Science, 1981 (George Washington University, Washington, DC); Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, 2000 (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE)

Awards and Honors
Colposcopy Recognition Award (CRA), the American Association of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; Distinguished Fellow, Clinical Preceptor, American Academy of Physician Assistants; Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants

Past/Present Clients
Brady East STD Clinic, Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (Martin Luther King Heritage Health Center), Dept. of Family Medicine and Early Intervention Program for HIV Infected Persons

©2017 All rights reserved.